Friday, November 9, 2012

Farm Unit: Part 1

Fun Farm Unit

Through all of the exploration, field trips, activities, books, games, lessons, planning, and more this entire process was not only lengthy it was educational for both the teacher and  student.  That said, this unit worked out slowly due to the process of acquiring knowledge about farms, farm life, who worked on the farms and some of the machines that help on farms.  With all that- the main focus was the animals and agriculture.  Overall - everything was for the purpose of the realization regarding the process of growth and understanding. 

Common Core:  Kindergarten Science
Life Science:  Structures and Functions of Living Organisms.
K.1.1.1 and K.1.1.2 - Compare Characteristics of animals that make them alike and different from other animals and nonliving things. 

--  Animals, living situations, and food will be compared and contrasted in terms of structure, growth, changes, movement and basic necessities.  That was accomplished through discussions, completed projects, open-ended questions, field trips, and the list goes on.  Enjoy!!!  

Lesson 1:  What is a Farm
Taking a little one regardless of age to a zoo or petting area would make a great impact on them.  The zoo aspect would assist within future lessons and I believe would help with memory recall.  Meaning, if you read a book you can always ask afterwards, "remember when..."  Usually, at least for my son, he becomes very excited and recalls when, what, and where we saw the visuals ~ specifically! the animals.  Personally this was my absolute favorite part because it demonstrated what my little one understood throughout the various academic process, visuals, and overall thematic unit. 

 Read~ Calliou: A Day at the Farm
 By:  Chouette
This is a simple cute and age appropriate book for small little readers.  The storyline shows the one opening the book   
about going to a farm, visiting with the animals, and learning about some of the daily functions that help with the day-to-day life.  

After reading the book you will have a great opportunity in order to discuss the following:
  • Animals
    • What they looked like
    • The names
    • The sounds they made
    • What they ate
    • Where they slept
  • The Farm
    • The animals who live on the farm
    • The people who take care of the animals
    • What the animals eat
  • Be creative - allow the child to answer.  I often respond back to my son by asking, "What do you think?" I found that this allows him to use his prior knowledge and own personal thinking in order to come up with his own answer without having my input.
    Craft:  Making a Barn
    As with every lesson implementing and using various recycled material is useful and very helpful.  Why buy expensive items when one could use everyday household materials?! In addition -this project will require adult assistance.

    Items Needed:
    • Two Empty cardboard boxes (pref. recycled - one medium and small sized)
    • Red and White washable paint
    • Two medium sized paintbrushes
    • Child sized painting smock
    • Knife (Adult only)
    'The Barn' was an absolute fun and surprisingly not very messy project.  The overall time frame took two days from start to finish.  My son had this project in his room for over two months playing with it.  He truly enjoyed the barn!!!!  *One reason to just give little ones cardboard boxes ~ let them become creative through the use of their imagination...that's for another post. 

    1. Set up the painting area and put a smock on the little one.
    2. Prepare the box- outline the windows and barn doors.

    3.  Paint the white portion.  (If done after the red... the white might turn pink)

    4.  Now for the red.
    5.  *Adult Only* Cut out the barn door and windows.
    6.  Do the process all over for the top portion of the barn.
    7.  Finally, Enjoy!!

    Read~ Barn Dance
    By: Bill Martin, Jr. and John Archambault

    This is a creative little book that ponders the young minds through the entire sense of the imagination world.  I absolutely enjoyed the storyline and systematic flow in regards towards the characters.  My son wanted me to read this book over and over again.  Personally, I think it was because the main character was about a little boy.   

    Lesson 2:  Who works and lives on a Farm

    Lesson two was basically discussion time.  The process would be to ask open-ended questions for the purpose of gathering insight as to what the child already knows, figured out, and concluded.  Afterwards, you would fill in the blanks.  Finally, depending on the age of the little one the discussions would be as brief and/or as long as you see fit. 

    Read:  The Farmer in the Dell
    Pictures by:  Mari Maki Rai

    The old fashioned type pictures do the song justice.  Colorful and fun.
    Sing:  The Farmer in the Dell.  If and when possible use visuals!!
    Incorporating singing and movements within the various lessons have the ability in order to improve memory, gross motor skills, and process of thought. 

    Imaginative Play:  Have Fun and Dress Up!!

    "I'm a Farmer!", "I'm a Cowboy!", "I'm a __________."  Have the child fill in the blank... have fun... allow the little one to explore their creativity!!

    Imaginative time or what I like to call,  'Dramatic Play' allows little minds to explore, expand, and feel their personal way through various emotions, lessons, and more.  As a teacher, this process is very important.  As it allows one in order to really figure out things or make something up.  I absolutely love watching growth expand within young ones.  Children have such creativity, insight, and more.  Allow all of that to flourish. 

    I know that some think that this 'is not' considered to be an educational tactic- I beg to differ.  If one takes way the process regarding the 'explorative' nature of a child they would in essence taking away the very soul of what a child does best ~

    Read:  The Farm
    By:  Charles Reasoner

    This hard bound book has vibrant colors and animal tabs that would guide young readers.  This is an educational short book that gives young readers brief information about a few animals that live on the farm.

    Lesson 3:  Learning about Crops 

    This part of the unit one will learn about what kinds of food grows and is harvested on various crop farms.  Evaluating and exploring the process of planting, growth, and then, eventually eating the foods is a great learning experience for all. 
    (Note:  Previous Unit:  Harvest Apples discusses more on this particular topic) 
    Enjoying some fresh Veggies!
    This within itself can be future unit regarding
    Healthy Eating.
    Getting the Corn ready for Dinner.


    Lesson 4:  Animals that Live on the Farm
    Yay!! We loved this part!


    Horses in general are such majestic and beautiful animals.  The eyes of such creatures feel as though they are piercing through ones soul ~ at least that is how I felt when my son and I were standing next to Cassie (pictured below).  A truly humbling experience. 
    Read:  Foul to Horse
    By:  Discovery Kids

    This interesting and educational book has vibrant visuals that would appeal to most readers. 

    Field Trip:  Learning more about Horses.

    Again, this part of the entire unit was the most fun!  We absolutely LOVE Cassie!! She was incredibly gentle and spirited.  She was one beautiful animal that wanted a lot of attention and she certainly got it from us.  My son enjoyed himself throughout... petting her, feeding her, picking up her horse 'pucky', walking her, talking to her, and yes, loving her. 
    Meet Cassie the Horse.
    She is an absolute beautiful animal that was incredibly friendly!

    Giving Cassie a Snack with Betsy the Dog.
    Watching Cassie drink some water.
    Learning to feed Cassie some hay.  My son enjoyed this.  He was up ~ bright and early every morning in order to feed this very hungry animal.  She loved the attention that we gave her.  What joy!!  
    This was such a blessing.  Taking a wonderful animal for a walk.  Personally, I think she enjoyed it more than us! Just for the simple fact she was allowed out of her corral. 
     Craft:  Making a Horse
    • Free Hand Draw a Horse on some scrap cardboard
    • Paint the Horse and allow to dry
    • Cut an 'L' shape piece of cardboard and glue the smaller portion on the back.
    - Cardboard
    - Brown washable paint
    - Paint brush
    - water
    - Scissors
    - Tape

    Art:  Water Color Horse
    Free Paint, Let Dry, and glue wiggly eyes.
    -  White construction paper
    -  Black marker
    -  Watercolors
    -  Paint brushes
    -  Water
    -  Wiggly Eyes
    -  Glue


    Field Trip:  Museum

    Yes, a slight odd choice in order to learn about cows.  Well, in between road trips and observing cows throughout a few states graze pasture lands ... the museum had a bit more educational aspects towards what 'dairy cows' do and actually, offer people.  Knowing that, my son was able to look at a short video clip at the museum, listen to a brief documentary (mainly look at a few was geared towards older children), and walk around while asking a lot of questions about the large plastic dairy cow. 

     Craft:  Cow
    -  Recycled cardboard
    -  White  and beige paint
    -  Black marker
    -  Tape
    -  Glue

    - Draw a template of the cow.
    - Paint the cow and set to dry.
    - Color in the black spots of the cow.
    - Cut the cow. (adult)
    - Tape the 'L' shape cardboard on the back of the cow. This way it will stand up on its own.

    Read:  Moo, Moo Brown Cow, Have You Any Milk?

    By: Phyllis Gershator
    A fun little colorful book for little ones! (Not one that exactly explores the farm life.  However, one that is a cute read.) 
    Field Trip:  Enjoy a Petting Zoo
    This was a lot of fun.  My husband and I absolutely enjoyed watching our son run around with the animals.  His attitude towards the animals was such a delight in that he loved playing with them, running around, and trying to play with them.  Afterwards we talked about the colors on the pig, the noises he heard, and where pigs live. 
     Craft: Making a Pig
    - Recycled Cardboard
    - Pink or Beige Washable Paint
    - Tape
    - Black Ink
    - Scissors
    - Painting Smock

    • Just like the horse and cow - draw a pig on the cardboard.
    • Paint it- set to dry
    • Cut out (adult only)
    • Make an 'L' shape again - tape on the back.

    Read:  Old MacDonald had a Farm

    This is a cute edition of the popular story.  The felt tabs attract the little ones very easily.  Fun!

    Why spend a lot of many of expensive toys?!  Personally, I don't understand that concept!! Make your own fun items to play with. The imagination that comes from a child is something special that every adult should cherish.

    Read:  My Big Armarillo
    By: Satomi Ichikawa

    This story is unlike any within this unit ~ it discusses life and passing.  A simple story on paper however, one that truly touches the heart strings of young and old(er) readers.  Of-course, it would probably take a bit more discussion afterwards considering the storyline falls along the topic regarding loss.  That said- the ultimate focus was about the spirit towards maintaining love for an animal. 

    Surprisingly, my son enjoyed this story.  He wanted me to read it over and over again.  Oh, the discussion we had.

    Glue the barn
    Color the Pigs
    Color 'Armadillo' yellow
    Color the sky
    Cut out the white pads- shape them like clouds or
    just glue on the cotton balls.

    Art:  Pigs and Barn


    - White Construction Paper
    - Crayons
    - Barn cut-out
    - Pig templates or you can make your own
    - Glue
    - White cotton balls or cotton thin face pads
    - Scissors

    Craft:  Paper Mache Pig
    - Balloon
    - Pink washable paint
    - Pink construction paper ( cut into a triangular  shape )
    - Black marker
    - Tape
    - Glue
    - Water
    - Lots of Newspaper
    - Recycled Yogurt cups (5)
    - and a Place that is safe to get messy... or, in this case, wet! Very wet ;)
                       Blow Up the Balloon
                       Tape Four Recycled Yogurt Cups on Bottom
                       Tape one short yogurt cup on the side of the Balloon.

    Ready to get MESSY!!!! I hope so!!
    Yes, I helped my son with this. 

    Mix the water and glue together in the pan.
    Dip the newspaper lightly into the pan.
    Hold the newspaper up and swipe the excess water off into the pan.
    Lay the newspaper over the balloon in different directions on top of each each. 
    Put several layers of newspaper all over.
    Set the project aside and allow to completely dry.


    Day 2:  Time to Paint.
    Paint and set to dry.

    Day 3:  Make the ears.
                 Cut the pink construction paper
    into triangular shapes.
       (More rounded at the top)
        Glue to the top of the pig. Glue wiggly eyes.
    Color two ovals on the nose
    If you want a mouth ~ go for it.

    Have fun and Enjoy!!!



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