Thursday, March 27, 2014

Owl Moon

"When you go owling
you don't need words
or warm
or anything but hope."

It's been another week of cold, cold temperatures here. It seems even crueler now that it is officially spring. The children have resorted to shoveling snow into the driveway to try and create puddles they can jump in. They go out into the yard and talk to the croci, which are just poking their heads out of the ground, to try and get them to grow. We are ready to learn about frogs and butterflies and plant seedlings, but instead we are still huddled by the pellet stove. 

To usher winter on its way (this was two weeks ago when I was not quite so bitter), we studied Owl Moon by Jane Yolen. What a beautiful book. Such gorgeous watercolor paintings and the words are poetry. Just lovely. Earlier in the winter I found out that Jane Yolen was actually leading an owling trip from one of our local libraries. I so wanted to go.But it turned out to be one of those fantasies I have in my head that does not involve the reality of carrying overtired toddlers through the snow in sub-zero windchills. Reality won on this one, but maybe someday.

I always know how much the kids love a book by how quickly it is incorporated into their play. I had various lessons planned, but instantly after reading the book, they begged me to find them owl masks. What did homeschool moms do before the Internet? By the end of the day, they had choreographed an owl dance, which they performed everyday that week.
Through our Five in a Row lessons, we learned about painting shadows and using cool colors to make wintry watercolor paintings. We learned about nocturnal animals and made a collage. We went on a birdwatching walk. We learned about similes and metaphors, which led to some spontaneous poetry writing. But most of the week was owls, owls, owls. We watched an owl documentary and they fell in love with the fluffy little baby owls. So we collected some pine cones and covered them with wool roving and glued on maple seeds and leaves for wings. (Based on this tutorial.) I made them some needle-felted eyes.  I tried to explain to my three-year-old: "If you use the yellow wool, it will look like a duckling." To which she replied, "Okay, I'll make a duck." So we have a nest of owlets and one duckling.
The girls absolutely loved this chapter book we read aloud, Owls in the Family by Farley Mowat. It had a sort-of Henry Huggins feel to it, but set in the Canadian prairie and with more critters. A boy adopts two owls as pets and they get into all kinds of scrapes. Ever since reading Gone Away Lake with its great illustrations by Joe and Beth Krush, I've been loving mid-century pen and ink illustrations in books. This book's illustrations are similar and really full of life. Younger kids will really enjoy this.

1 comment:

  1. I love Owl Moon: besides being a wonderful book on its own merits, it's also great for calming a high-energy classroom. I'd forgotten about Owls in the family, which I read years ago.