Watching A Seed Grow
There's nothing quite like watching a plant grow. It's a miracle of life that never gets old, no matter how many times you see it. And there's no better place to see it than in the classroom, with a bunch of curious kids who are just as excited as you are. Seeing the wonder in their eyes as they observe the tiny seedlings sprouting up and then getting to watch them monitor the plant's progress day after day is truly a magical experience.
Seasons And Seeds
Spring is a great time to get seeds started for planting outside and growing fruits and vegetables throughout the summer. Watching that little seed that started its life in the classroom grow to maturity and produce food to eat is incredulous. Imagine one little seed producing an entire tree full of apples or a garden full of beans or other produce.
Fall can also be a good time to plant some seeds in the classroom. For example, if you plant a pumpkin seed at the beginning of the new school year, depending on the variety, it might produce a pumpkin in time for Halloween. Imagine growing your own Jack-o-lantern!
Potatoes are another plant that would be great to watch in the fall. It can start producing tubers and then stay dormant through the winter and continue growing in the spring. This would be a terrific way to see how some plants are fast growing and others are slow growing. It would also help kids to see that some plants produce underground.
Activities For Learning About Plants
Here are some different activities that you might like to try during your study of the plant life cycle.
1. Take an empty dvd case and put a bit of soil in it. Place a bean seed in the soil and moisten the seed and soil. Close up the case and place it near a window. Watch as the seed begins to sprout and produce roots. When it is about to produce leaves, remove it from the dvd case and plant it in a pot of soil. Continue to add water and watch it as it grows into a plant. Transplant it into the garden and continue to watch as the beans appear.
2. Put a potato that has sprouts (eyes) growing out of it into a large pot with some soil. Water it and watch it as it begins to produce leaves. Take note of the tubers when you transplant it into a garden area or larger pot. The kids will be amazed to see small potatoes growing underground.
3. Gather seeds from different fruits and vegetables and dry them. Plant them in the spring and watch to see which ones grow into new plants. Do experiments to see what happens when you add too much water, not enough water, not enough sunlight, etc.
4. Do art activities to show how the life cycle works and the various stages a seed goes through before it becomes a mature plant. For example: Cut out shapes from construction paper to represent each of the stages of the life cycle and make a life cycle mobile. Write on each shape which stage of the plant life cycle it represents.
With these plant life cycle activities, your students are sure to have a blast while learning about plants!
Plant Life Cycle Resources
Here are some resources that I created to help with studying various plant life cycles. They include worksheets about plant needs, the life cycle of the plant, and types of plants. Each resource also includes an observation journal for that plant. You can check them out by clicking the images below.
Teaching plant life cycle activities are not only fun, but they're also educational. They help kids learn about the different stages of plant growth and development. They also learn about where our food comes from, how different animals rely on plants for survival, and the important role that plants play in our ecosystem.
By incorporating plant life cycle activities into your lesson plans, you can help your students learn about these important concepts in a fun and engaging way. Plus, they'll always remember the time when they got to watch their very own plants grow!
Have fun watching the wonder in your students' eyes as they observe their tiny seeds sprout and become plants.
Social Emotional Learning
As any teacher knows, dealing with kids can be a bit like herding cats. They're often full of energy, easily distracted, and prone to outbursts of emotion. But while dealing with chaotic classrooms may be exhausting, it's also important to remember that behind all the noise and mayhem are real kids with real feelings.
That's why it's so important to incorporate social and emotional learning (SEL) into our teaching. By teaching our kids tools and strategies for regulating their emotions, we can help them to develop good mental health habits that will last a lifetime.
Look for ways to support your students' mental health. When they're feeling good, they're able to learn and be successful in school. That's why social emotional learning (SEL) should be part of your classroom management plan. SEL is all about teaching kids the skills they need to regulate their emotions and avoid meltdowns and anxiety attacks.
There are many different tools that can be used for SEL. Here are a few that may be suitable for your SEL toolkit.
Drawing: When students start to feel overwhelmed, encourage them to take out a piece of paper and start drawing. It doesn't matter what they draw, as long as it's something that makes them feel calm and relaxed.
Headphones: Have headphones available to help kids focus. These can block out distracting noise and help them concentrate.
Music: Sometimes all it takes is a little bit of music to help kids refocus and get back on track.
Sensory Activities: Squeezing and releasing fists or tapping on the body can help kids release tension and calm down. Pushing against a wall can also sometimes help.
Deep breathing: This is a simple, but effective strategy that can help kids relax and avoid an anxious state.
Reading: Getting into a good book can sometimes redirect attention.
Quiet spot: A spot without distractions allows kids to just settle and calm down.
Splashing water on face: This could also snap a person out of an anxious state.
Taking a walk: Going for a quick walk or maybe delivering a message to another classroom or the office can often redirect and calm a person down.
Counting: Focusing on counting may help to calm panic feelings.
Sitting on a wiggle cushion or a ball: This may help with sensory movement and allow focusing.
**** Check below to get a free copy of calming strategies posters for your classroom. ****
One way to support social emotional learning is to provide these tools and strategies for kid's mental health. We can teach them how to identify and label their feelings, how to understand and cope with big emotions, and how to develop positive relationships.
Additionally, we can provide opportunities for them to practice these skills through social-emotional learning activities and games. By supporting social emotional learning, we can help our kids to develop the skills they need to lead happy and fulfilling lives.
We need to be patient, kind, understanding, and present with our kids. They deserve our time and attention. When we give them that, we're helping to build a foundation of trust and love that will last a lifetime. Ultimately, every child is different and will respond to different tools and strategies.
The important thing is to have a variety of options available so that you can find what works best for each individual child. By incorporating SEL into our teaching, we can help our kids to develop the skills they need to thrive both inside and outside the classroom.
Calming Strategies Posters
Here are some posters that might be helpful for your students. They are available for free for my newsletter subscribers. Click here to get your copy.
With a toolkit of SEL strategies available, you will no longer wonder how to deal with a chaotic classroom.There may still be times when mayhem happens, but kids will have the necessary tools to manage their emotions and classroom control will be attainable.
Assessing for Differentiation
You're back to school, you've got your new class, and you are now trying to figure out how to do assessments. It's a juggling act teaching, engaging, and assessing while maintaining control of wiggling bodies that want to bounce off the walls, not remain in desks.
It would be so much easier to just teach whole class lessons, but that wouldn't be good practice since kids are all at different levels of ability and understanding. Once beginning assessments are completed, plans need to be created to help meet the needs of each student.
Differentiation In Reading And Writing
Differentiation is such an important skill for teachers! It ensures that all students in a class are being taught according to their individual needs and abilities. For various subjects, different types of adjustments can be made to include all students.
Differentiation in reading can be achieved by using different books at different reading levels, or by using the same book but slowing down or speeding up the rate at which it is read. For struggling readers, differentiation might also involve providing extra support, such as a word bank or mini-dictionary. Guided reading groups are another way to meet needs of everyone.
When it comes to writing, differentiation can take many forms. Some students might benefit from having extra time to complete a task, while others might need scaffolding in the form of sentence starters or word banks. Ultimately, differentiation is all about meeting the needs of each individual student.
Differentiation And Guided Math
When I retired, I worked with small groups of intermediate students who were struggling with basic facts and totally overwhelmed with the more difficult concepts. I also tutored a couple of them.
We went back to doing hands-on, concrete activities with basic facts such as making tens, understanding place value, and doing addition and subtraction with and without regrouping. It was amazing to see the change in confidence as they finally understood how numbers worked and were successful with the skills and concepts.
Once they had the basic concepts, they were able to move on to multiplication and division, along with other more abstract concepts. Without the small group support, they would still be floundering today.
Guided math activities can be targeted to the skills and concepts and complexities that build confidence and understanding of concrete examples that can be extended to more abstract ideas. If kids are met at the levels they are functioning at, they will be able to climb the ladder to reach the levels they should be at and beyond.
Building Confidence And Success
Differentiating your instruction and assessment to meet the needs of all of your students ensures that all your students have an opportunity to demonstrate their learning. It also builds self confidence in your students.
When you differentiate your instruction and assessment, you're sending the message to your students that you believe in their ability to learn. You're telling them that you have faith in their ability to be successful. When your students feel confident in their ability to learn, they are more likely to take risks and persevere when they encounter difficulty.
When students are able to learn at their own pace and in a way that is tailored to their individual needs, they are more likely to feel successful and confident in their abilities. In addition, differentiation can also help to foster a love of learning by making school more engaging and relevant for all students.
Project Choices For Differentiation
When it comes to teaching social studies, try incorporating project-based learning activities. They're a great way to let students show what they know in a variety of ways - and it's always fun to see the different ways that each student approaches the project.
Some students excel at making models, while others are natural born storytellers. And some students love nothing more than putting together a detailed timeline or poster. No matter what their strengths are, project-based learning activities give all students a chance to shine. Plus, it's a great way to get kids excited about social studies!
By providing a criteria checklist, students know what is expected of them and can focus their energies on meeting the requirements. It also provides a checklist for assessment at the end of the project.
Additionally, by including a home/school component, interactive projects provide an opportunity for families to be involved in their child's learning. This not only reinforces the concepts being learned, but also strengthens the bond between family and school.
This set of criteria checklists can help with different forms of presentations. They give criteria for what is required for the various project formats. They also work well for assessments. Get your free copy now.
With a little creativity, project based activities can be adapted to any curriculum. So next time you're looking for a new and exciting way to teach and differentiate, consider using interactive projects!
Teaching Outdoors In The Fall
It's back to school time again, but that doesn't mean you need to stay inside the classroom. Get outside and enjoy nature, exercise, and fresh air before it is too wet or cold and inside recess becomes the norm.
Science topics and ideas for outdoor study
Fall is the perfect time for science lessons for outdoors. There are many science topics that can be covered including plant life cycles, the water cycle, and the effects of weather.
Think of all the amazing questions you can investigate and discuss. Here are a few examples:
Why is it called Fall?
What causes the leaves to change color and fall off the trees?
What are seasons? Why are there four?
Why do we set the clocks back an hour in the fall?
Fun Science Activities To Do
1. Take a nature walk and collect leaves of different colors. Talk about the different shapes, sizes, and textures of the leaves.
2. Visit a pumpkin patch or apple orchard. Talk about how pumpkins and apples grow.
Compare the different types of apples: some are good for eating, some for baking, and some for cider.
3. Rake leaves into a big pile and jump in! Then, use leaf blowers to blow the leaves into the air.
Kids will love playing in the pile of leaves and learning about wind power.
4. Go on a scavenger hunt. Look for acorns, pine cones, rocks, and other objects.
Talk about the different colors, sizes, and shapes of the objects you find.
These are just a few ideas – there are endless possibilities for learning about science outdoors in the fall! So put on your jacket and get outside – it's time to learn!
Take Math Lessons Outdoors
Math is another area that can be adapted to outdoor study. Think of all the data collection activities you can do. Comparing, contrasting, and classifying activities can be endless depending on what you choose to collect.
You can even create glyphs for data collected. These could be follow up activities for outside lessons.
You could create a tree with leaves falling. The colors of the leaves, number of leaves left on the tree, shape of the leaves and number of branches could all represent different attributes of data collection.
If creating a glyph is something you would like to try, grab my free glyph templates.
Sign up for Diamond Mom's Treasury email list and get your free copy.
More ideas and activities
Geometry and measurement activities can also be done outdoors. There are many different shapes in our environment. A scavenger hunt or neighborhood walk would be a great way to find examples of the various 2D and 3D shapes. Area and perimeter are effective measurement activities to try outdoors. It could be fun to measure the school field, playground area, or the school building and then graph them.
Many other subject areas could work well outside. Geography and mapping skills are some of my favorite. Check out this post for a few ideas for social studies outdoors.
Many lessons can be tailored to any grade level and can be adapted to fit the needs of any class size. With a little creativity, lessons outdoors can be an enjoyable and educational experience for all.
So hurry up, beat the inside recess rush, and get outside to learn.
About Me Charlene Sequeira
I am a wife, mother of 4, grandmother of 9, and a retired primary and music teacher. I love working with kids and continue to volunteer at school and teach ukulele.