These last year of pre-K kids have been learning about the vegetable garden and the life cycle of the seed for some months in their first language and then we thought: “Why don’t we do something special and meaningful in English?” That is how this workshop was born.
*DURATION: 2 hours
- colored and laminated Flashcards (Download them here Veggie garden FC )
- felt tips, crayons and pencils
- long white paper roll
- the book “The Carrot Seed” (which you can buy here)
- sequence cards (download here for free)
- The Farmer Plants the Seed (song from Youtube)
- Background instrumental music (songs from Youtube: Happy Guitar Music and the Sound of the Rain )
Sing the Hello song you are used to and get the children settled for circle time.
Ask children some questions to lead them to the topic: “Do you any vegetable?” Carrots, tomatoes, broccoli..” Do vegetable come from the sky or from the soil?”, “Where do they come from? They come from a little.. (mime little with your index finger and thumb). Elicit “seed”. What do seeds need to grow? With these questions you are checking their previous knowledge of the topic and you will know how to go on from there.
*NEW LANGUAGE PRESENTATION: FLASHCARDS
Now that they know what you’re going to talk about, present the flashcards in order: plant a seed, the sun comes out, the rain begins to fall, the seeds begin to grow, the vegetables are here, dig them out, it’s time to eat. Combine each flashcard with a gesture, so that kids can mime it with you while repeating (since that the flashcards present short chuncks of phrases, one flashcards may has more than one gesture i.e.: “it’s time to eat” can be mimed first pointing your watch with your index finge (to mime it’s time) and then bringing the hand to your mouth (to mime eat). Be creative, don’t be afraid of gestures! It’s so important for the kids to add a gesture, so that they have another way of expression other than the language.
Play then some flahcards games: you can place all the cards in the middle and then start asking around: “Mark, can you touch.. the rain begins to fall?” (While asking, keep miming!) and have them repeat the card. Prize them with a high-five and words of appreciation.
Say that the are going to sing a song about a farmer and his seeds. Play the Farmer plants the seeds once and mime it (the gestures should be the same you taught them before. The flashacards are the same lines from the song. Have the flashcards with you, show them the right one along with the song, mime and sing together. The second time you play it, try to ask the children: “What’s next? Do you remember?”
*THE COLLABORATIVE ART PROJECT
Now guys.. hands-on! We’re going to put in art what we learned! A long white paper roll and colors is everything we need for this great activity. Unroll it and divide it in 7 sections. Divide then the children in 7 groups of 3,4 children and assign each group a phase of the seed life cycle. Support them with the flashcards so they can start to work from there and them draw that phase. Children enjoyed this activity so much , because they could focus on coloring, relax a little and interact with their friends.
*THE STORY: THE CARROT SEED
Show the children the cover of the book. Elicit “seed”, “little boy”. Say to the children that you’re going to read a story about a little boy who planted a carrot seed. Ask them if they could guess what the book will have been about. Have them barinstorming about it and then say “well, now le’s check if your predictions were correct.” Read teh story and pause every here and there to ask questions about the story: “What is the boy doing?” “Why everyone keep saying that the seed won’t come up? What do you think? What does the seed need to grow?” . Ask the children if they liked the story.
Now say that you’re going to divide them into groups and they have to sequence the story cards. Help around to see if they’re collaborating, listen to their proposals, thoughts but don’t give any answer. They will correct themselves. Say that now the’re going to listen to the story again and they have to check if their order is correct. This always works nicely. They love to check themselves and correct their mistakes. (While reading, ask: “How are you doing? Is it correct?)
*THE CARROT SEED DANCE
This activity is the Total Physical Response to the Life Cycle of the seed. Children are called to embody the little carrot seed and should respond physically to your voice guidance.
Set the atmosphere with some background instrumental music and start guiding them with your telling, that could go like this:
Let’s imagine we are little seeds and we’re laying down in the soil. We feel a little cold and wet down here, we feel tired and sleepy.
Now the rain begins to fall (play the rain music), we feel the drops of water in pur skin, we are wet and fresh. We grow a little bit. (stretch up a little). Now the sun comes to shine, it dries us and we feel warm. We grow a little more. Now we want to catch some sun, a ray of sun. Let’s grow and catch the sun! (Stretch up up up up high). – If you have time you can repeat rain and sun again-. A windstorm is coming, whooo hooo a swirling whirling windstorm and we dance our leaves through the wind (dance and move yourself around the room). The windstorm stops and.. there’s some green hair on my head. And look! I’m orange! I’m a carrot! Are you a carrot? Look! We all are beautiful carrots! We grew in healthy delicious carrots.
Gather in circle, bring children to a closing moment and ask: “Did you enjoy? Which activity did you like most? The art project, the story, singing, dancing?” and give each child time to answer and express their own opinion. Sing the Goodbye song you are used to.
It’s been really a nice opportunity and I enjoyed a lot alongside with the children. Our work and project will be exposed in an exhibition here in Padua from the 14th May to the 4th June. Obviously I’ll go and take pictures to show you the whole project.
With Love and Gratefulness for this Life and all the learning opportunities we have,