full moon through the trees
photo by Joe Healey
It was a clear summer night, and I was driving down a dark wooded road. My son, William, almost 2-years-old, was behind me in his car seat. “Moon,” called William into the silence of the car. I looked to the east and saw a glimmer of white through the trees. Then, silence. But now, the silence was different. William was on high alert, watching and waiting. He had seen the rising full moon and was now looking for it. A minute or so passed, then the trees cleared and the moon was big and bright in the sky. William shrieked in delight, “Hi, moon!” The moon again disappeared behind the tall trees, and again William fell silent. His anticipation was palpable. When the moon reappeared he called out, “I see you, Moon!” This went on until the moon rose above the trees and the game of hide and seek was over. Such a magical idea.
photo by Joe Healey
January was an exciting month for moon watching. There were two full moons, and both were super moons. The first was on January 1, and the second on January 31. A super moon occurs when the moon becomes full on the same day it reaches its perigee, (the point on the moon’s elliptical orbit when the moon is closest to Earth.) At these times, the moon appears to be 14% bigger and 30% brighter. A second full moon in a month is called a blue moon.
I had a lot of fun studying the moon with the Explorers in January. Their homework for January 1st was to watch the super moon rise. They all returned to school after winter break with stories about the super moon. Thus began a month of art projects, questions, investigations, pretend play, and books. The Explorers loved tracking the phases of the moon on our classroom calendar. The idea of a blue moon was hard for them to understand. “Will it really be blue?” they would ask. (I left out that this blue moon was also going to feature a lunar eclipse, which meant it was really a Super Blue Blood Moon.) On January 31, we held a Super Blue Moon party, we made a blue moon playlist, learned the song Aikendrum, and made pizza for a snack. Lots of fun!
There was a man lived in the moon, in the moon, in the moon
There was a man lived in the moon and his name was Aikendrum
And he played upon a ladle, a ladle, a ladle
He played upon a ladle and his name was Aikendrum
And his hair was made of spinach, spinach, spinach
His hair was made of spinach and his name was Aikendrum
While prepping for the Moon Unit, I found the wonderful book, City Moon. It is written by Rachael Cole and illustrated by Blanca Gomez. The first time I read the book, it brought me back to that magical night with William and the moon. The book follows a mother and her son through the city as they search for the moon. “After dinner, after tooth-brushing, we put on pajamas, then coats and shoes. We take keys, and bang the big front door behind us. It’s evening. It’s night. We are going on a walk to look for the moon.” The art in City Moon has an architectural quality with rich, saturated colors. On each page, Gomez treats us to a view of city life, both inside the buildings and on the streets. Through Cole’s story, we travel the city with Mama and her little boy. Every word takes us further along on the search for the moon. Enjoy! And then, make your own search for the moon.
Pictures of the Super Blue Blood Moon