Homeschool Share: an online homeschool curriculum cooperative hosting over 500 unit studies, lapbooks, printables, and other resources.

Time of Wonder

Time of Wonder

  Author: Robert McCloskey
ISBN: 0670715123
Summary: Follows the activities of two children spending their summer vacation on an island off the coast of Maine.

Literature Based Unit Study Written by Ami Brainerd  (Art Lesson ideas from Wende)

Lapbook Templates by Lee Ann Slosar and Ami Brainerd

Where is Maine?
Cloud Wheel Book
Psalm 46:10 Copywork Primary
Maine Tab Book (State Symbols)
Hurricane Names
Psalm 46:10 Copywork HWOT
Tides Layer Book
What is a Hurricane? Matchbook
Water Current Experiment Simple Fold
Wonders of Creation Petal Books
Vocabulary Dolphin Shape Book
Dolphin vs. Shark Venn Diagram
Hummingbird Report Pocket
Hummingbird Report Form with Cues
Hummingbird Report Form Without Cues
Hummingbird Copywork Page HWOT
Repetition -ing List
Adverb Flap Book
What Lives at Penobscot Bay? Sailing Ships T-book  

More Printables for Your Lapbook
Land Form Cards from Montessori Materials

Geography: Islands and other landforms
An island is a piece of land surrounded by water.  You may want to take this opportunity to teach your student about other various landforms that are similar to islands yet different.  Click here for pictures matching the landforms.  Your student can use the terms and pictures to make index cards or a mini book.

island- a piece of land surrounded by water
 a narrow strip of land connecting two larger landmasses. An isthmus has water on two sides
atoll- a ring (or partial ring) of coral that forms an island in an ocean or sea
archipelago-- a group or chain of islands clustered together in a sea or ocean.
peninsula- A peninsula is a body of land that is surrounded by water on three sides
cape-- a pointed piece of land that sticks out into a sea, ocean, lake, or river

Geography: Maine
McCloskey wrote three books about Maine while living there-- Time of Wonder (of course!), Blueberries for Sal, and One Morning in Maine.  You may want to check the other books out from the library and read them on the day you study Maine.

On March 15, 1820, Maine became the 23rd state to join the U.S.A. 
read tons of Maine facts here
Maine Flag

Maine state flower/bird coloring page
Where is Maine?

Science: Different Types of Clouds
What is a cloud? A cloud is a collection of tiny water droplets or ice crystals being carried by a current of air.  Clouds indicate approaching weather. 

There are three basic different types of clouds including cumulus, stratus, and cirrus.  (Your older student may want to research beyond these three basic types.)  You may want to find some books at the library or some pictures on the internet to illustrate each type of cloud listed below.

Cumulus clouds are the puffy clouds that look like marshmallows, cotton, or white cauliflower.  As long as they stay small, they are indicators of fair weather.  When they grow, they can turn into thunderstorms. 

Stratus clouds are low hanging, found in layers, and have the appearance of a gray blanket.  If they get low enough, they turn into fog.
l light grey clouds that look like even sheets and cover all or part of the sky.  The clouds are made of itty bitty water droplets that become larger as they collide with one another. 

Cirrus clouds are the whitest, highest clouds.  They are up high.  In fact, they are up so high they are made of tiny ice particles.  These types of clouds are seen before rain or snow.

Science:  Deep Water Currents
The general circulation of water in the Atlantic and Pacific is driven by deep, slow-moving currents of cold water that flow from the poles toward the equator. When sea water freezes, its salt separates from it.

Sea ice is fresh, but the water close to it is saltier than other water because it contains the salt that was removed during freezing. This makes the water denser. Water close to the ice is also cold, and this dense water sinks all the way to the ocean floor, flows away from the ice and is
replaced by warmer surface water which then cools and sinks.

These deep water currents move only 2-3 yards a day. This experiment shows you how to make a deep-water current in a dish.


1. ice
2. food coloring
3. eye dropper
4. water
5. glass dish
6. aluminum foil

1. Fill the glass dish with warm water, and leave it until the water has become quite still. This represents a warm ocean such as the mid-Pacific.
2. Wrap some ice cubes carefully in foil, making sure no melted water will be able to leak out. Put the foil package in one end of the glass dish and leave it until the water is still once again. The ice will start to cool the warm water.
3. Place a few drops of food coloring over the foil so the color trickles into the water. What happens to the color as it sinks to the bottom of the dish? This is how deep-water currents carry water toward the equator from the poles.

Science: Hurricanes
Hurricanes are the most powerful of all storms.  They form over warm, tropical seas when the water temperature is above 80 degrees F.   They are circular and vary in size.  A hurricane can be 400 miles in diameter with wind speeds of 125 miles per hour (or more!).  Once a hurricane forms, it follows a path *away* from the equator, usually growing in intensity while it remains over warm water.   They dissipate once they reach cool water or land.

In the Atlantic, these storms are called hurricanes; in India and Australia, they are named cyclones; in the western Pacific, they are called typhoons. 

Make your own hurricane!  you need to plan ahead and order the twister tube (you can get it from other places, too)

If your student shows much interest in hurricanes, you may want to consider Live & Learn Press' Hurricanes! Learn N' Folder (grades 3+)

Science: Ocean Life (porpoises, lobster, seal, crab, heron, etc.)
Your younger student may enjoy spending some time learning or reviewing the creatures God created to live in the ocean.
You may start this lesson just by asking him who or what lives in the ocean and he may remember some creatures from other books you have read together.   You could even make your own book.  Just cut and paste pictures and information from some of the following websites:

Ocean coloring pages from Enchanted Learning (scroll down the page) 
wonderful selection of ocean print-outs (you must register, but it is FREE)

Use these coloring pages to complete a minit book on Ocean Life
Page 1 (includes Aggregate Anemone, Red Crab, Ruddy Turnstone, Pacific Walrus)
Page 2 (includes Callico Scallop, Blue Crab, Hermit Crab, Sea Grape)
Page 3 (includes Ochre Seastar, Loggerhead Sea Turtle, Frilled Anemone, Roseate Spoonbill)

You may want to check-out the ocean life forms and copywork pages on Homeschool Share's Animal Forms page. 


Science (and a little Math): Hummingbirds
Hummingbirds are small birds (females are about 8 inches) that can fly forwards, backwards, and hover.  Using a ruler, show your student how large a hummingbird is.  You may want to compare it to his own height.

These birds are absolutely one of God's incredible creations flapping their wings 55-80 times each second allowing them to travel at speeds as fast as 25 miles per hour!  If you want calculate how many times a hummingbird can flap its wings in one minute (choose a number between 55-80 and multiply it by 60) 80 x 60 = 480 times! Have your students pretend to be hummingbirds-- using a stop watch, count how many times they can flap their "wings" in one minute.  Are they as fast as hummingbirds?   A hummingbird's heart beats about 250 times each minute, and it takes approximately 250 breaths per minute!  Using the stop watch again, compare that to your own student's heartbeat (pulse) and breath.  (Don't try to breathe like a hummingbird!  I don't want anyone to hyperventilate!)

You may want to check-out the hummingbird report forms and copywork pages on Homeschool Share's Animal Forms page. 

Draw a Hummingbird Print-Out from Waterford Press

They eat little bugs and drink nectar out of flowers.  They prefer red flowers, but will drink out of others as well.  You may want to plant some of the following in order to attract them to your garden:    Some flowers and plants that will attract hummingbirds to your garden are

Bee Balm (Monarda spp.)
Blazing Star (Liatris spp.)
Bleeding Heart (Dicentra spp.)
Cardinal Flower (Lobelia cardinalis)
Columbine (Aquilegia spp.)
Coral-Bells (Heuchera sanguinea)
Dame’s Rocket (Hesperis matronalis)
Delphinium (Delphineum spp.)
Fire Pink (Silene virginica)
Foxglove (Digitalis spp.)
Fuschia (Fuschia spp.)
Gilias (Gilia spp.)
Hollyhocks (Althea spp.)
Lily (Lilium spp.)
Nasturtium (Tropaeolum spp.)
Paintbrush (Castilleja spp.)
Penstemon (Penstemon spp.)
Phlox (Phlox spp.)
Red-Hot Poker (Kniphofia uvaria)
Salvia (Salvia spp.)
Sweet William (Dianthus barbatus)

print-out diagram of the Ruby-throated Hummingbird

Science: Tide
Tides are the rising and falling of the sea. During high tide, the water is deeper and comes further onto the beach. Another name for high tide is flood tide. During low tide, the water is more shallow and does not come as far onto the beach. Another name for low tide is ebb tide.

Tides are created because the Earth and the moon are attracted to each other just like two magnets.  The moon tries to pull on anything on the Earth to bring it closer.  The Earth is able to hold on tight to land, but it can't hold on to its ever-moving water. 

The Earth makes one complete turn every 24 hours.   When a side of the Earth faces the moon, the moon's pulling force causes a high tide.  Since the Earth is spinning, the area the moon pulls at changes.  If you are on the ocean beach and the moon is pulling on the water there, then you will experience a high tide. 

There are three types of tides caused by the moon's pull--
1. Diurnal Tides
                                One high and one low water per tidal day
                                This happens in the Northern Gulf of Mexico and Southeast Asia

2. Semi-diurnal Ties
                                Two high and two low waters per tidal day
                                Common on the Atlantic coasts of the U.S. and Europe

3. Mixed Tides
                                In certain shallow seas, the tides have a different pattern
                                One of the two daily tides is appreciably higher than the other or the time between successive tides is unequal
                                Found in the Pacific Coast of North America as well as other areas

Click here for a world tide map -- scroll to the bottom of the page
The sun also plays a role in tides.  Your older student may want to research about neap tides and spring tides to learn more.

Language Arts: Adverbs
An adverb is a word that describes an adjective or a verb.  Adverbs usually
Make a list of all the -ly adverbs found in this book with your student.  He can save the list and use some in his own writings-- a good rule of thumb is to include one adverb per paragraph (and NOT to use adverbs like very, much, etc.-- stick with the -ly adverbs).   You can also ask  your student to organize his list in alphabetical order. 

Here are some adverb examples from the book:


What other -ly words can your student think of to add to his list? (wildly, quickly, sparingly, sadly-- the possibilities are endless!)

Go-along book about adverbs:  Up, Up, and Away by Ruth Heller

Language Arts: Point of View (second person- you)
This story is unique because it is written in second person.  Most stories are written in first or third person (as you may have studied in the past).  This one, however, refers to the reader as if the reader was part of the story.  "You almost got feet wet that can hear an insect."   Using the second person gives the book an entirely different feel.  What if McCloskey would've written from first person.  Can you and your student translate a few lines into first person?  "I smile...I almost got feet wet that time...I can hear an insect."  What does third person look like?  "They smiled.  They almost got feet wet that time.  They could hear an insect."   What are the differences between the three persons?  Why do you think McCloskey chose 2nd person?  He wanted the reader to experience his experience.  We almost feel like we are there, and, in a way, we are because most of us have had similar experiences as children.  Maybe we have never been to Maine, but we know what a Time of Wonder is and this book brings us back to that.

Language Arts: Repetition (-ing words)
This story uses lots of -ing words for repetition.  Let your student make a list.  For an extra challenge, have your student put the list in alphabetical order.

Language Arts: Vocabulary

Silhouette – the outline of an object formed by its shadow

Glacier – a large body of ice moving slowly across the land

Quartz – a kind of shiny rock

Skiff – a small light sailing ship

Pennant – flags on ships tapering to a point or swallowtail

Schooner – a sailing ship with two masts and fore and aft sails

Language Arts: Drama
*Create a skit for the hurricane scene in the book (use sound effect tapes from your library), let your older students transfer the text into characters and dialogue.

Bible Memory Verse: Psalm 46:10
"Be still and know that I am God."
(What is a wonder? Do you take time to ponder the beauty of the world around you that God has created?)

Art: Caldecott Award
Time of Wonder was awarded the distinguished Caldecott Award in 1958. The Caldecott Medal was named in honor of nineteenth-century English illustrator Randolph Caldecott. It is awarded annually by the Association for Library Service to Children, a division of the American Library Association, to the artist of the most distinguished American picture book for children

Here are some discussion questions you may want to use with your student. 
1. Why do you think this book won the award?
2. What emotions do you feel as you look at the pictures? (happy, afraid, secure, calm, wonder, etc.)
3. Do the illustrations go well with the story?
4. Do you like the illustrations?  Why or why not?

You may also want to compare this book (and illustrations) to McCloskey's, Make Way for Ducklings which also won the Caldecott Award.

Art:  Mock illustrations
Let your student try to create the same effect as McCloskey created on pages 42-43.  Paint a night time scene with a light illuminating through the window.

Pages 44-47 are good examples of showing motion in pictures.  Have your child illustrate pictures of movement by emulating McCloskey's style.

Stars (Splash Technique)--
On pages 28-29, the background appears to be watercolors possibly painted over a textured fabric.  The stars are painted using a splash technique.  Have your student paint a watercolor scene.  After it is completely dry, dab an old toothbrush into acrylic paint; flick the bristles at the picture to duplicate the speckled stars in Time of Wonder.  Your student may want to practice this on a scrap piece of paper first (so he learns how to do it before he accidentally ruins his beautiful watercolor scene).

Drawing Rain--

On pages 10-11, the parallel rain lines draw your eyes to the circular splashes in the water.  Encourage your student to practice drawing some rain like this.  Look through other books at different ways rain is illustrated.

Math: Time
If you have already taught your student how to tell time (practice worksheet), you can create story problems using seconds, minutes, hours, days, weeks, etc.—how many minutes are in a day? In a week? 

Clock Puzzles from bry-back manor
Clock Worksheet from bry-back manor
Clock Worksheet II from bry-back manor

Other Avenues of Learning:
Video (Time of Wonder)
Family Vacations
Have a “time of wonder” each day and take the time to find answers to questions
Native Americans
Find out where animals go in the winter

Printables from waterford press
Ocean Life Picture Scramble Printout 1
Ocean Life Picture Scramble Printout 2
Ocean Life Picture Scramble Printout 3
Ocean Life Picture Scramble Printout 4
Ocean Life Picture Scramble Printout 5