Fall-themed Lessons Focus on the Farm for Early Primary Students
PreK4 and kindergarten teachers bring to life a classroom unit on rural communities and farming.
Oct. 25, 2013 (TAMPA, Fla.) – Parents waited with cameras poised, ready for the first sign of horses.
With happy shouts and the thunder of feet, kindergartners and PreK4 students rounded a corner and came into view. They galloped toward their guests on yardstick horses they had decorated and named to celebrate “Fall Fun on the Farm.”
Corbett Preparatory School of IDS teachers temporarily turned a sliver of land along Lake Lipsey into a farm for a day, bringing to life the farming unit Early Primary students had studied during October.
Discussions about imports and exports, a farmer’s different jobs, the variety of foods that come from farms and the life cycle of farm animals brought depth and breadth to the fall-themed lessons. Students expanded upon an International Baccalaureate unit of inquiry “How We Organize Ourselves: Community Work Together” to focus on rural farm communities, learning where food comes from and how it is grown and packaged to wind up on their tables at home.
The “From the Farm to the Table” unit incorporated language arts, geography, math and critical thinking.
Kindergarten teachers used United States and world maps for students to plot different foods grown in various regions. In math, students sequenced the growth of a pumpkin plant from a tiny seed to a plump pumpkin on the vine. They also sorted and graphed different crops and learned how to read and interpret those graphs.
Students generated a list of what they thought they knew about farms, the questions they had and topics they wanted to explore to steer the direction of learning in the unit. They will use that “Think, Puzzle, Explore” thinking routine to create thematic books and reflect in journals.
The PreK4 class explored global connections, studying farms around the world to see similarities and differences as they learned about animals, types of farms and farming jobs.
Spanish teacher Alejandra Izquierdo taught the children a song called “La Granja” or “The Farm” that had them chanting animal sounds in Spanish. The students were intrigued to find out how different languages decoded animal sounds such as “ki ki ri ki” in Spanish for a rooster’s “cock-a-doodle-doo.”
All of the class work culminated in “Fall Fun on the Farm,” a magical morning of activities that brought the farm off the pages of books and turned it into something students could experience for themselves. Dressed like farmers, the students ran from station to station for new discoveries. They bounced along on a hayride through the campus, danced along with PreK4 teacher Teresa Krig in a hoedown and gently pet goats, sheep and bunnies.
Family members arrived to accompany students on their journeys, watching as they painted faces on pumpkins and tasted homemade candy apples. Students lined up to race on their handmade horses, and when they needed some quiet time, they snuggled with moms, dads and grandparents on picnic blankets by the lake, where they could pick out fall-themed books to read together.
Two hours passed quickly, and the festivities had to come to a close as lunchtime and afternoon lessons approached. The children plucked their horses from the milk-crate stables where they had rested and trotted back behind their teachers toward their classrooms.