One of my favorite children's book authors and illustrators is Eric Carle. He is one of our classroom favorites as well. A while back, I even had the pleasure of hearing him read The Very Hungry Caterpillar LIVE at the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books. Read on to get some fabulous resources for The Tiny Seed, watch a book trailer featuring Eric Carle, and listen to our Tiny Seed podcast!
You can purchase The Tiny Seed here.
Before reading The Tiny Seed, I wanted the students to get to know Eric Carle as an author. We divided into small groups and read some of his other books. They were allowed to read to each other, read silently, or take turns reading. Then we met as a class and discussed how the books were similar and different. We found that many of the books featured animals and some of them had repeating words and phrases. All of the illustrations were done using a collage technique and the books varied in reading level from very easy to hard. Many of the books made science connections by using factual information about the animals in the context of the stories.
After reading several of his stories, we made some predictions about The Tiny Seed. From looking at the cover and the pictures, what did we think the story would be about? What words did we predict would be in the story? What were some of the things that could happen to a seed?
We also watched this Scholastic video featuring Eric Carle:
We made some connections to the story by exploring different kinds of seeds like sunflower seeds, beans, dandelion seeds, orange seeds, and apple seeds. We planted sunflower seeds in a small patch of ground outside our classroom and beans inside empty milk containers that would sit in the classroom window. We talked about adaptations that help seeds survive and what seeds need in order to grow. We also followed the life cycle of a plant with a great video called "How Plants Grow" from Discovery Education streaming.
Plew Elementary School has posted some great resources for The Tiny Seed including several PowerPoint presentations, a Jeopardy game, flashcards, and an interactive whiteboard activity that I used in class.
On Quizlet I found some great ready-made flashcards for studying vocabulary words from The Tiny Seed. You could also study The Tiny Seed vocabulary by playing Scatter or Learn. One of best features of Quizlet is that you can get the embed codes for the flashcards, Learn, and Scatter and put them on your own Web site or blog. I also like the audio feature on the various activities that allows even my lowest kids and my English language learners to study easily. IF the embedded items are not working, here is the link to the website and wordlist for The Tiny Seed on Quizlet.
In the during-reading phase of our Tiny Seed unit, I used this wonderful The Tiny Seed trifold from 2nd-grade teacher Ms. Winston. She has created a ton of reading trifolds for a variety of books that are appropriate for the elementary grades. There is also a blank one on the Web site that you can adapt for any story you are working on. Children picked partners or small groups to read the story and work on the trifolds. They also created two questions each to ask another group and for our Jeopardy game.
I also called students to my computer to create a podcast. The kids love listening to their own voices, and it gave them the opportunity to build fluency. The other students practiced silently or aloud in a whisper voice. I had students recording with me during our silent reading period.
You can listen to our
If you have trouble playing it, download the file and put it in your iTunes folder to play it there.
Students also performed either the "Parts of a Plant" song or one of the plays, or completed a flower report using this flower report template from Scholastic Printables.
During the week we also completed an art project in the style of Eric Carle. First we sketched the flower, stem, and leaves. Then we painted construction paper. After the construction paper was dry, we cut petal shapes from the painted paper. We also cut out the stem, leaves, and grass from green construction paper, glued them on, and then splatter-painted the background paper. Finally we glued on the petals and a yellow circle for the center of the flower. Kids had the option of outlining their flowers and leaves with a black permanent marker after everything was dry. Here are some of the final art projects: