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March 28, 2017

Plants: A Perfect Way to Welcome Spring!

By Shari Carter
Grades PreK–K, 1–2, 3–5

    The snow has melted, flowers are blooming, and the birds are chirping — everywhere you look, there are signs of spring. We kicked off the coming of spring by digging into our little plant unit. We did loads of plant activities and it surely was an enjoyable and refreshing way to welcome the changing of seasons.

    Plant Anchor Chart

    I love anchor charts. I say that all the time, but they really do aid in solidifying what children know. They also serve as an incredible resource. In our classroom, we use anchor charts for shared reading and building vocabulary. Additionally, my kinders reference these charts during writer’s workshop. I enjoy creating charts that begin with schema (background knowledge, prior knowledge…call what it what you will). Schema can help students make connections to learning — they use what they know to help make connections and build understanding about the things they don’t know. It’s important to take time to identify what your students already know and let that help drive your instruction on any given topic. You’d never want to teach what they already know, and believe me, kids know a lot these days!

    Although we start with schema at the beginning of our unit, we go back to our anchor chart many times throughout the week. We add the things we’ve learned, discuss our misconceptions, and even take time to wonder. The wonderings section helps educators teach what their students are interested in learning about. I love that one little chart can do so much!

    Gail Gibbons is one of my favorite authors. From Seed to Plant is a must have if you are teaching plants. Your students will not only learn a plethora about plant life, they will also discover the mystery of how one tiny can seed can transform into a magnificent plant. This book is a great addition to any science lesson, and much information can be learned from both the text the vivid illustrations.

    Sprouting Seeds in a Bag

      

    Speaking of seeds, another kindergarten teacher at our school did the neatest germination activity with her students. It was a super simple activity using sandwich bags to create little greenhouses for seeds. The kids even noticed the condensation collecting on the walls of the baggies. Every day, the kids were excited to see how their seeds were changing. After only five days, some of the seeds started to germinate. The kids were very excited to see the shoot poking out from the seed coat! The baggies were hung on the classroom door and windows so that they could get lots of sunlight. This was also a great place for the children to watch those little beans magically transform from seed to plant. Shortly after the seeds sprouted, the seedlings were transferred into soil and the kids were able to take them home where they would continue to grow. I am so thankful to be part of such an amazing team and can’t wait to try this activity with my class when we return from spring break!

    The Celery Experiment

    Have I told you how much we LOVE doing science experiments? We do them so often that I am thinking we need to get lab coats and goggles to wear when were are being scientist. My kids look forward to exploring scientific concepts, especially when they are hands-on!

    The Celery Experiment did not disappoint. There isn’t much prep (or expense) involved in this experiment and the results are speedy and pretty darn surprising for young learners! Celery, jars, water and food colors are all you need to conduct this experiment. I cut the celery, but the kids filled the jars with water and added the food coloring themselves. Just look at the picture and you can tell from their sweet little faces that they were having fun and really engaged in learning.

    I created a journal page so that my kids could make predictions about what they thought would happen to the celery. They also drew pictures of what the celery looked like on the first day of the experiment. After observing the celery for several days, the journal pages were passed out again, and the kids wrote their explanations of what happened to the celery. Finally, pictures were drawn to show the changes we saw in the celery.

    This little cutie was so excited! Her prediction matched the results and so she wrote, “Yay! I was right that they change colors!!!” You can see from the big (toothless) smile on her face, just how proud she is of her discoveries.

    We followed up with a fabulous discussion about how plants absorb water from their roots and talked about why we got the results that we did. I always enjoy hearing the conclusions my little kinders come up with! After they shared their thoughts and ideas, I trimmed the bottoms of the celery for the kids to see where the water was actually being drawn up and into the stem. This was pretty amazing to see (even for me…)!

    Let’s Find Out

    It’s so much fun to teach seasonal themes with Scholastic’s Let’s Find Out magazine. My kids look forward to reading the magazine every week and are always so excited when they realize a new issue has arrived. Let’s Find Out gives my students an opportunity to read nonfiction text that is written specifically for the young learners. Let’s Find Out comes in a paper and digital copy, has skill-building games, and nonfiction videos your students are sure to love. “Stems Grow Up, Roots Grow Down” was the perfect addition to our little plant unit.

    This activity from Let’s Find Out is going to be the perfect accompaniment to our plant labeling lesson!

    Click on the images to download your own activity worksheets from “Stems Grow Up, Roots Grow Down”!

    Plant Art

    Plants are so beautiful and make the perfect subject for an art lesson. After reading Planting a Rainbow by Lois Ehlert, my students made these beautiful poppies in just three easy steps. I am always amazed at what creative artists my kindergarteners are. They take a lot of pride in their work. Although painting can be a little messy, it usually is very quick and makes for some pretty happy kiddos in my class — totally worth the time indeed!

    Parts of a Plant

    We learned all about the parts of a plant with this fabulous labeling lesson! First I shared National Geographic’s Seed to Plant with my kids. They loved all the bright pictures in the book and there were even a couple of pages that focused specifically on plant parts. In the book, kids are even encouraged to use their body to remember the parts of a plant: Arms are like the leaves, bodies are like the stem, and feet are like the roots. They really enjoyed the book and after reading it, I sense it made it much easier for the kids to add the parts of a plant labels to our giant flower.

     

    What Plants Need to Grow

    After learning all about the parts of a plant, our next step is to discover what a plant needs to grow and survive. This activity was a fun and easy way to teach my students what a plant needs to grow. Labeling plant needs helps students build vocabulary and reinforce their understanding of the basic needs of a plant.

    Kindergarten writing is the BEST! It melts my heart to read. I am totally amazed at how much their writing develops in just one, single year. Click HERE to use What a Plant Needs writing paper with your class.

      

     

    More Great Plant Books

    The Tiny Seed by Eric Carle

    The Little Flower Seed by Sarah Fisch

    Nature’s Miracles: Once There Was a Seed by Judith Anderson & Mike Gordon

    Seed to Plant by Kristin Baird Rattini

    Little Tree by Loren Long

    Scholastic Printables: Great Resources to Enrich Instruction and Learning

    Kindergarteners love to sing! One of our favorite songs is “The Wheels on the Bus.” Here is a fun singalong about the parts of a plant sung to the tune of “The Wheels on the Bus” — which makes me pretty excited knowing just how much my kids love that song!

    What Fun Activities Are You Doing This Month?

    I would love to hear all about the fun things you and your students do with plants and how you welcome spring. Please use the comment area below to share your thoughts and activities.

    Thanks for reading and I hope your day is filled with love, laughter, and lots of sunshine!

    Hugs,

    Shari

    Check out my other blog posts!

     

    The snow has melted, flowers are blooming, and the birds are chirping — everywhere you look, there are signs of spring. We kicked off the coming of spring by digging into our little plant unit. We did loads of plant activities and it surely was an enjoyable and refreshing way to welcome the changing of seasons.

    Plant Anchor Chart

    I love anchor charts. I say that all the time, but they really do aid in solidifying what children know. They also serve as an incredible resource. In our classroom, we use anchor charts for shared reading and building vocabulary. Additionally, my kinders reference these charts during writer’s workshop. I enjoy creating charts that begin with schema (background knowledge, prior knowledge…call what it what you will). Schema can help students make connections to learning — they use what they know to help make connections and build understanding about the things they don’t know. It’s important to take time to identify what your students already know and let that help drive your instruction on any given topic. You’d never want to teach what they already know, and believe me, kids know a lot these days!

    Although we start with schema at the beginning of our unit, we go back to our anchor chart many times throughout the week. We add the things we’ve learned, discuss our misconceptions, and even take time to wonder. The wonderings section helps educators teach what their students are interested in learning about. I love that one little chart can do so much!

    Gail Gibbons is one of my favorite authors. From Seed to Plant is a must have if you are teaching plants. Your students will not only learn a plethora about plant life, they will also discover the mystery of how one tiny can seed can transform into a magnificent plant. This book is a great addition to any science lesson, and much information can be learned from both the text the vivid illustrations.

    Sprouting Seeds in a Bag

      

    Speaking of seeds, another kindergarten teacher at our school did the neatest germination activity with her students. It was a super simple activity using sandwich bags to create little greenhouses for seeds. The kids even noticed the condensation collecting on the walls of the baggies. Every day, the kids were excited to see how their seeds were changing. After only five days, some of the seeds started to germinate. The kids were very excited to see the shoot poking out from the seed coat! The baggies were hung on the classroom door and windows so that they could get lots of sunlight. This was also a great place for the children to watch those little beans magically transform from seed to plant. Shortly after the seeds sprouted, the seedlings were transferred into soil and the kids were able to take them home where they would continue to grow. I am so thankful to be part of such an amazing team and can’t wait to try this activity with my class when we return from spring break!

    The Celery Experiment

    Have I told you how much we LOVE doing science experiments? We do them so often that I am thinking we need to get lab coats and goggles to wear when were are being scientist. My kids look forward to exploring scientific concepts, especially when they are hands-on!

    The Celery Experiment did not disappoint. There isn’t much prep (or expense) involved in this experiment and the results are speedy and pretty darn surprising for young learners! Celery, jars, water and food colors are all you need to conduct this experiment. I cut the celery, but the kids filled the jars with water and added the food coloring themselves. Just look at the picture and you can tell from their sweet little faces that they were having fun and really engaged in learning.

    I created a journal page so that my kids could make predictions about what they thought would happen to the celery. They also drew pictures of what the celery looked like on the first day of the experiment. After observing the celery for several days, the journal pages were passed out again, and the kids wrote their explanations of what happened to the celery. Finally, pictures were drawn to show the changes we saw in the celery.

    This little cutie was so excited! Her prediction matched the results and so she wrote, “Yay! I was right that they change colors!!!” You can see from the big (toothless) smile on her face, just how proud she is of her discoveries.

    We followed up with a fabulous discussion about how plants absorb water from their roots and talked about why we got the results that we did. I always enjoy hearing the conclusions my little kinders come up with! After they shared their thoughts and ideas, I trimmed the bottoms of the celery for the kids to see where the water was actually being drawn up and into the stem. This was pretty amazing to see (even for me…)!

    Let’s Find Out

    It’s so much fun to teach seasonal themes with Scholastic’s Let’s Find Out magazine. My kids look forward to reading the magazine every week and are always so excited when they realize a new issue has arrived. Let’s Find Out gives my students an opportunity to read nonfiction text that is written specifically for the young learners. Let’s Find Out comes in a paper and digital copy, has skill-building games, and nonfiction videos your students are sure to love. “Stems Grow Up, Roots Grow Down” was the perfect addition to our little plant unit.

    This activity from Let’s Find Out is going to be the perfect accompaniment to our plant labeling lesson!

    Click on the images to download your own activity worksheets from “Stems Grow Up, Roots Grow Down”!

    Plant Art

    Plants are so beautiful and make the perfect subject for an art lesson. After reading Planting a Rainbow by Lois Ehlert, my students made these beautiful poppies in just three easy steps. I am always amazed at what creative artists my kindergarteners are. They take a lot of pride in their work. Although painting can be a little messy, it usually is very quick and makes for some pretty happy kiddos in my class — totally worth the time indeed!

    Parts of a Plant

    We learned all about the parts of a plant with this fabulous labeling lesson! First I shared National Geographic’s Seed to Plant with my kids. They loved all the bright pictures in the book and there were even a couple of pages that focused specifically on plant parts. In the book, kids are even encouraged to use their body to remember the parts of a plant: Arms are like the leaves, bodies are like the stem, and feet are like the roots. They really enjoyed the book and after reading it, I sense it made it much easier for the kids to add the parts of a plant labels to our giant flower.

     

    What Plants Need to Grow

    After learning all about the parts of a plant, our next step is to discover what a plant needs to grow and survive. This activity was a fun and easy way to teach my students what a plant needs to grow. Labeling plant needs helps students build vocabulary and reinforce their understanding of the basic needs of a plant.

    Kindergarten writing is the BEST! It melts my heart to read. I am totally amazed at how much their writing develops in just one, single year. Click HERE to use What a Plant Needs writing paper with your class.

      

     

    More Great Plant Books

    The Tiny Seed by Eric Carle

    The Little Flower Seed by Sarah Fisch

    Nature’s Miracles: Once There Was a Seed by Judith Anderson & Mike Gordon

    Seed to Plant by Kristin Baird Rattini

    Little Tree by Loren Long

    Scholastic Printables: Great Resources to Enrich Instruction and Learning

    Kindergarteners love to sing! One of our favorite songs is “The Wheels on the Bus.” Here is a fun singalong about the parts of a plant sung to the tune of “The Wheels on the Bus” — which makes me pretty excited knowing just how much my kids love that song!

    What Fun Activities Are You Doing This Month?

    I would love to hear all about the fun things you and your students do with plants and how you welcome spring. Please use the comment area below to share your thoughts and activities.

    Thanks for reading and I hope your day is filled with love, laughter, and lots of sunshine!

    Hugs,

    Shari

    Check out my other blog posts!

     

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