The Salamander Room


We started rowing The Salamander Room (Dragonfly Books)The Salamander Room in the middle of our school week, because we were having such a great time rowing our previous book.  This year I decided to relax, slow down, and savor the learning journey.

The kids were immediately excited about this book.  Each day we ended our morning walk with a little exploration of nature.

It was SO much fun exploring God’s great creation!

Title Page:

I usually have the boys create a title page for each book we row.

Sometimes the boys draw the front cover of the book or take inspiration from the illustrator.

Jordan colored our story disk and added it to east coast.


Memory Verse:

I created a Bible Memory pack for this book.

You can purchase it here at our TPT Store.  There’s a bonus FREEBIE tracer in the preview!

Bub traced his verse the first day.   The next day, I cut the verse apart and Bub glued it together like a puzzle.

He continued to memorize the verse using a Bible verse puzzle.

Talking to God:

We read a few pages of What%20Happens When I Talk to God?: The Power of Prayer for Boys and Girls (The Power of a Praying® Kid)What Happens When I Talk to God? by Stormie Omartian.


Love for Nature:

I love the great outdoors, exploring nature, puttering in the garden, taking morning walks, and just enjoying God’s beautiful creation.

We read My Big Book of the Outdoors by Eloise Wilkin.  This book is geared for younger children, but the illustrations are just SO whimsical.

Mother & Child:

The Salamander Room is a wonderful story with a special dialogue between the mother and her son.  The bond between a mother and her child is a gift from God.  It’s such a blessing to be able to enjoy special moments while homeschooling

We read a couple of books about mothers.


Jordan is using the Grammar Ace program in his Sonlight Language Arts curriculum.

We create a lapbook entry for each lesson we learn.  We try to tie in the theme of the entry with the book that we’re rowing.

We made his adjective entry inspired by The Salamander Room.

Making a List:

We read Mr. Ball Makes a To-Do List on our Epic app.

Afterwards, Jordan created a list of all the animals and creatures he could remember from the story.  He has an amazing memory for details….a true gift he didn’t get from me!


Skip Counting:

Parker and I read 1 is One by Tasha Tudor.  We used this as an opportunity to skip count and work on our math facts.

We skip counted by the number on each page and went up to 12.  This is a great way to still use counting books for older math skills.



We read several great non-fictional books about salamanders and I handed the boys a few printables (Mommas Learning Corner) to work on.

They colored their books while reading more about salamanders.

We reviewed the lifecycle of the salamander as they worked on that booklet.

Lastly, they colored and labeled the parts of the salamander.

The Forest:

Since this story takes place in the forest or woodland habitat, we read a couple of books about this biome.

Animal Classification:

I created an Animal Kingdom Classification Booklet for the boys to complete.

Animal Kingdom Classification Booklet

You can purchase your copy here at our TPT Store.

First, I cut the booklets apart, put the pages in order, stapled them, and they wrote their names on the front.

Next, the boys completed the first page by writing the two main groupings (vertebrates and invertebrates) and adding the coordinating pictures.

Then they cut and colored the creature cut-outs to use on the Vertebrates and Invertebrate pages.

The Invertebrate page was a bit more difficult since it had another sub-category for the arthropods.  I had to revise the booklet to make room for all the pictures and labels.


I was excited to study mushrooms again.  The last time we studied about this fungus was when we rowed The ABC Bunny in Parker’s preschool days.

There were SO many beautiful mushroom specimens on our daily walks.

They seemed to be growing in every area we explored.


We even found some in a corner of our garden.  This looked like the PERFECT habitat for a salamander.

We read a couple of books about mushrooms and I brought out our parts of the mushroom cards, printables, and a felt mushroom activity I made.

The boys helped label the mushroom as we put each part together.


Afterwards they color-coded their parts of the mushroom worksheet (Homeschool Clipart) using our definition cards.

I bought some beautiful brown mushrooms to used in our Chicken Marsala dinner.  I washed the mushrooms and set them aside to dry.

It’s always fun to play and eat the food we study.  I called the boys into the kitchen and gave them a plastic knife and tray.

As the boys dissected their mushrooms, we reviewed the name of each part.  After playing with their food, they ate it!

I sliced the rest of the mushrooms and sautéed them with butter and shallots.  They smelled SO good!

We served our Chicken Masala over rice, with roasted vegetables, and a soft dinner roll.  This was a fun and yummy way to end our mushroom day!

The next time we explored mushrooms on our morning walk, the kids remembered most of the parts of the mushroom!  Now THAT made my day!


I created a Frog Life Cycle CRAFTivity for the boys to work on.  I revised a few things to increase the cute factor, but the science remained the same!

Frog Life Cycle CRAFTivity
Frog Life Cycle CRAFTivity

You can purchase your copy here at our TPT Store!

First we read Frogs""Frogs by Gail Gibbons.

With a little help from me, the boys put their frogs together.

Parker colored his life cycle cut-outs while Jordan preferred to leave them black and white.

Next, the boys numbered the parts of the life cycle wheel, pasted the pictures, and wrote the name of each life cycle stage.

Using our brad, we pre-poked holes in the frog, life cycle wheel, and wheel cover.

After constructing their frogs, they decorated the faces with noses, mouths, and a mustache?  Oui, knowing my son, his frog must be French!

They turned out really cute!  They were just a touch green, so I revised the model a bit….


This was Mommy’s updated version that’s included in the CRAFTivity.  The lime green, pink cheeks, and red tongue add a splash of color.

After our craft, we went to the kitchen for a little tasty treat, frog eggs!  LOL….I just pushed mini chocolate chips into mini marshmallows to make these cute frog eggs!

The kids LOVED them!  We made these years ago when they studied the frog life cycle in preschool.


I created an All About Butterflies (A Monarch Story) pack for the boys to work on.

All About Butterflies (A Monarch Story) - Little Science Pack
All About Butterflies Science Pack

You can purchase your copy here at our TPT Store.

We read several books about butterflies and their life cycle.

The boys colored, cut, and pasted their life cycle worksheets.  Later we cut them out and added them to our FIAR notebooks.

They cut and pasted the label the butterfly worksheet too!

I even made a quick butterfly snack for the kids.   They LOVED it, because they are sweet and know it was made with love!  LOL….it makes me laugh just looking at it, because it doesn’t even look like a butterfly.

Butterfly snack packs

This pin was the inspiration.  My friend Chantel sent this to me a while back, but I didn’t have it at hand.  I knew it had grapes on one side, a snack on the other, and a clothespin in the center.  It was definitely missing the cute factor for sure!

A Butterfly Room:

Okay, so I know this row suggested making a salamander room, but we chose to change it up a bit.  Since we captured a few caterpillars, we thought it would be more apropos to create a butterfly room.

I gave the kids a paper bag on our nature walk one morning and asked them to collect various items (different leaves, pinecones, a few small rocks, and some twigs).  Everyone did a great job.

They came home and sat around our table and constructed the most beautiful butterfly room.

We added some passion flower vines with tendrils and leaves for the caterpillars to munch on.

It was really beautiful!

Our chubby little friends seem to like their new home.

Within a few days, they molted for the last time and were nestled in their chrysalis.

Over the weekend, we watched a really cool Disney Nature video that showed the Monarch migration.  God’s creation is full of wonderful and beautiful surprises!


As much as we love frogs and butterflies, we needed to spend some time on other insects.

We read about cicadas.  I’ve heard them, but I’ve never actually saw one.

We also read about crickets on our Epic app.  I brought out what I thought was our Cricket Nomenclature cards (The Helpful Garden), but realized they were grasshopper cards.

Hmm….I guess we should have read the Can You Tell a Cricket from a Grasshopper? (Lightning Bolt Books ® ― Animal Look-Alikes)""Can You Tell a Cricket From a Grasshopper?  book instead!  LOL….he still did a great job labeling his….ahem, grasshopper.

We found so many cool creatures under dead leaves and tree matter.


Nature Sketch & Watercolor Art:

Since, Parker was already doing an art activity based on Sticks Across the Chimney (a Sonlight Level C read-aloud), I decided to combine it with our FIAR unit using nature as inspiration.

We read about salamanders and salt water marshes. since these were the two topics we were exploring.

I brought out many nature books for the kids to use as inspiration.

First, they sketched their art project with pencil.

Next, they used the pen palate at the bottom of their paper (based on our Sonlight book).

Though a cool experiment that everyone loved, the color was very pale and wasn’t producing the look they intended.

We brought out our watercolor paints and they finished painting their sketches.

Jordan chose a woodland theme with birch trees, an owl, and a salamander.

Haley chose a wooly mother since she recently read The Girl Who Drew Butterflies, a story about Maria Merlan’s art that changed science.

Parker chose a lonely water source with freshly laid frog eggs.  They were all different, but each so beautiful!


The Salamander Room Playlist:

As with our other rows, we created The Salamander Room playlist with read-alouds, music, science, and other clips.


Pinterest Board:

You can find most of the activities, ideas, and printables from this post on our The Salamander Room Pinterest Board.

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