Monday, September 25, 2017


Our most recent Five in a Row (FIAR) read was Roxaboxen by Alice McLerran, illustrated by Barbara Cooney.  Amazon's synopsis of it reads, "From two-time Caldecott Medal-winning illustrator Barbara Cooney and celebrated children's book author Alice McLarran comes Roxaboxen, a treasured story about the magic of a child's imagination.  Marian called it Roxaboxen.  There across the road, it looked like any rocky hill -- nothing but sand and rocks, and some old wooden boxes.  But it was a special place.  And all children needed to go there was a long stick and a soaring imagination."  Maggie smiled all through the story.
We talked about the setting of this story, Arizona, and found it on our US map.  We then read more about Arizona in The United States of America: A State-by-State Guide by Millie Miller & Cyndi Nelson (page 8).
I love the great illustrations in this book!
Next, we watched two videos on YouTube about Arizona at (below) ...
... and at (below).
Gathering what we learned, we completed the information page for Arizona from the FIAR Fold&Learn printables.
Finally, we placed our story disk for this book over Yuma, Arizona, on our states map.
On another day of this book study, when we were studying Barbara Cooney's artwork (including her use of traditional colors of the southwest), I challenged Maggie to design her own "Roxaboxen" (her own pretend town made of materials the children in the story used) on paper.  She loved this activity!
This is Maggie's idea for her own "Roxaboxen."
This book offers a great opportunity to explore the desert.  To start, we read Why Oh Why Are Deserts Dry? by Tish Rabe ...
... pages 8-9 of Usborne's See Inside Planet Earth by Katie Daynes & Peter Allen, entitled, "Hot and Cold Deserts" ...
... (Here is a photo of the spread of those two pages.  We just love Usborne's flap books!) ...
... and pages 42-43 of The Usborne First Encyclopedia of Our World, entitled, "In the Desert."
We also looked at the location of the deserts in the world on page 151 of Evan-Moor's Giant Science Resource Book.
In the story, one of the children, Frances, decorates her "home" in Roxaboxen with desert glass.
 Maggie and I talked about why this glass would have been safe enough to play with.  From our geology studies last year, she remembered that weathering can erode rock and glass, smoothing rough edges.  To read more about exactly what kind of weathering would do this in Arizona (since there is not a lot of moisture for it to come from water), we looked in our Eyewitness Books' Rocks & Minerals book (page 12).
Ah, wind!  Wind erosion would have made this glass safe to handle!
After our research, together, we put together a little desert diorama.
 We used cactus images we found online from a simple Google search, printed onto white cardstock, a piece of scrapbooking paper with a desert scene printed on it for our background, sand, small pebbles, and weathered glass (which I had purchased a bag of from Michael's years ago for another craft).
 It came together quickly and turned out so cute!
For our final project, we made the "Desert Glass Candy" recipe in the FIAR manual (page 1-12).
 We couldn't find cinnamon extract as the recipe suggests, so we used what we had on hand, orange extract, and red and yellow food coloring to make our "Desert Glass Candy."
 It shattered like real glass after it had cooled!
 Maggie gave it a thumbs up!
After we had wrapped up this study, we found chocolate rocks while out and about.  I had to share since it would make a fun addition to your planning of Roxaboxen!
 They look so real and taste great!
If you take your row deeper into geology, please check out my Geology tab at  We studied rocks and minerals for an entire year last year with our co-op and there may be some good resources at that link for you!

Thanks for checking in with us!  Next?  We'll be rowing The Raft by Jim LaMarche, starting tomorrow!

1 comment:

  1. Hi! I love your blog! I was just wondering how many days you spend on each Volume 4 book?