Jack, the switchman, has a job to transfer trains from one track to another. I’m guessing that many children do not know about railway workers. I Saw an Ant on the Railroad Track by Joshua Prince will help build background for jobs then and now. A discussion could develop about technology replacing manpower.
This poetic narrative is seemingly ridiculous, but I love the rhyme and word play. Macky Pamintuan paints realistic, vivid pictures. But I can hear the kids saying, “Stop. Move the ant. You don’t have to sop a train.”
It’s a cute tale. Did I mention that love the rhyme? You can definitely stop throughout the text and have the students predict. The children could also discuss how Jack personifies the ant. Would this story really happen? Why not?
Savorings for reading and in writing for I Saw an Ant on the Railroad Track:
- Onomatopoeia – tickety-tack
- Aside – (That’s the sound of an ant on a railroad track.)
- Character Thinking – “Now what to do? Think quick! Think, Jack!
- Community Property in writing – ‘that wrong-way ant on the way-wrong track” (As noted in a prior entry, I don’t know what this craft is officially called, but it reminds me of the Community Property in math. So, I’m naming it for my reference.)
- Author’s Note: Joshua take a daily train ride to his job. ” A brief encounter with an ant at his regular station inspired this story.”
(Heather’s book :))