Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Katy and the Big Snow {Five in a Row}

We got hit by the frenzy of winter storms and arctic temperatures that passed through recently, so I made an impromptu decision to row a winter book that week.  We get snow every year, but it's only every few years that we get a "big snow" like Katy and the Big Snow by Virginia Lee Burton, so that's what we rowed!  It's been over two weeks snow, and as I post this, most of the snow finally melted today thanks to the heat wave (which is still below normal temps) and some rain.  There's still snow on the hillsides, but I can see my yard this morning!  However, there's supposedly more coming.  Another big snow.  I can say with certainty that I'm not excited about it, and I am DONE with winter.

Anyway, on with the row!

This post contains affiliate links.

Katy is a beautiful red crawler tractor who is so strong that she is still locked up in the winter, but when a big snow storm finally hits and the town of Geopollis is snowed in, only Katy can save the day!

Social Studies
Geography - Cardinal Directions and Maps
Katy travels North, South, East and West to help the community members, and the art throughout the book illustrates the transformation of the town as she does this.  Both boys labeled the compass rose from the Katy and the Big Snow lapbook from Homeschool Share.  Can you see the eraser dust?  Emory kept trying over and over on his letters.

Elliott also practiced his map skills by using the compass and legend to determine which direction the townspeople would travel.  I also let the boys play with a compass to practice their cardinal directions.  Okay, actually I gave them my cell phone with the compass app.  They still enjoyed it, but I should probably buy them a real compass, you think?

Cities and Street Signs
For our story disks, we talked about the meaning of Geopollis (also a vocabulary lesson!) and then we had a discussion about where to put the story disk.  We could have created a "land of make believe" for the fictional towns, but then I couldn't decide how to add them to our Passports!  So before I said anything, I asked where we might want to put our disk.  Elliott suggested New York, because it has cities that get snow.  Fair enough.  That meant the boys could put their personal ones on their United States page, and we'll deal with other fictional settings when we get there.

We looked at pictures of street signs and the boys named off all the ones they knew, and I told them what a few others meant.  We talked about cities, and the types of business and organizations that are needed to make a city run efficiently.  Then the boys built a city for Eleanor, centered around their old wooden train set.  The boys have played with it a little, especially when she asks them, and she has adored the whole thing!

Weather - Snow
Of course we had to learn about snow.   I had Elliott read Water to me.  It's a leveled reader, so the information is a very basic of the properties of water, more appropriate for Emory, but I also wanted Elliott to read out loud.

Then we did a little activity with some snow.  First we scooped approximately 2 cups of snow.  I asked the boys to predict how much water we would have when the snow melted.

Emory said it would be "a little less" and Elliott guessed 1 1/2 cups.  We ended up with about 1/3 of a cup of water from 2 cups of fluffy white snow!  It would be fun to do this again with a heavy, wet snow too so they could compare the results.

Language Arts
Character Study and Personification
We talked about Katy and her physical appearance and personality traits and filled out the page "What I Know about Katy" from the Katy lapbook.  We also reviewed Personification (we did more when we rowed Little Nino's Pizzeria) when we discussed Katy.

As usual, I gave them both copywork.  Emory's was a stop sign and Elliott did the quote from the Homeschool Share Katy lapbook.

Skip Couning
We examined Burton's illustrations and discussed Katy's 55 horse power engine, and then discussed skip countering as described in the manual.  It was a simple introduction for Emory, but just a review for Elliott.

We used a Skip Count by 5's Worksheet to discuss it more.  I thought it was a cute visual.  He wanted to color the number five, because he's 5, and it had to be green because that's his favorite color.

Elliott also did a simple Skip Count by 5's worksheet as well.

Measurements - Inches and Feet
In the book we are told how much snow falls throughout the day, and how high the snowdrifts get.  We measured this out on the wall and marked it . . . 4 inches, 10 inches, 1 foot, 2 feet, 3 feet, 5 feet.  We also marked the boys' heights, and when Daddy got home, they added him!

(They've since had haircuts--finally!)

Art & Music
We don't often tie music into our Five in a Row units, though I would love to do it more.  One day, in place of a reading, we watched and listened to Suite No. 3 Katy and the Big Snow which was the book read to the music of Robert J. Bradshaw.

We don't typically do crafts either, but this Snow Plow craft was cute.  Eleanor kept saying "I paste, I paste" she was so excited to glue everything down.  Emory enjoyed this but decided he didn't want his to be Katy, that this tractor was a boy!  Elliott . . . well, I think he humored me just so he could play with bubble wrap, but he's moved beyond the craft stage.  Bittersweet.

Snow Play

It was COLD so they were not thrilled with the time it took to layer up.  Oh the looks!

In the Kitchen
Hot Chocolate for cold hands!
After the snow play, we had to have hot chocolate and marshmallows.  A rare treat!

Snow cream
Yes, we had to.  Elliott said it was too sweet.  Emory didn't comment at all.  Eleanor said "Mmm, mommy, its good!" as she slurped hers.  I think she's my current favorite.  haha!

This was a great row.  I think Elliott's favorite part was comparing everyone's heights and the compass (he's a very "fact" oriented kid) while Emory and Eleanor liked the snow plow craft and the train play.  I always love seeing where rows take us!

My Full Heart: BFIAR and FIAR Link Up

©2011-2015 Mom’s Heart.  All rights reserved.  All text, photographs, artwork, and other content may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form without the written consent of the author.


  1. I love it! My youngest girls are 9 and 10, and they still love Katy. We just read this book the other day. (For them it was wishful thinking because we haven't had much snow. :-) )

  2. How much fun! We live in Louisiana, so we never get snow...