Gather students on the rug using a preferred classroom management technique. I like to use my “Stop, look, listen.” The students stop what they are doing, look at me and listen for the direction. I usually preface the direction with, “When I say go…” This reminds the students to listen to the whole direction before moving to follow the directive.
In this case I would say, “When I say go I would like you to clear your space, push in your chair and go take a spot on your dot. Walking feet go.” By saying walking feet I am reminding the students to use walking feet in the classroom to ensure safe movement between areas.
When all of the students are seated on their dot in the rug area I tell the students we are going to watch a short video clip which will help us later on during our integrated work station time.
“Boys and girls you are going to watch a short video clip about a plant life cycle. I want you to use your good scientist skills to pay close attention to the parts of the plant and the function of that part of the plant. A function is another word for job – what is the job of that part of the plant.”
We watch the short video clip from the Brain Pop Jr. website. This is a subscription site so you will need to check if your school has a subscription in order to see if the video clip is available for you to use.
Once the video clip is over I ask the students, “Who can tell me one part of a plant and its function?”
I select a student with their hand raised to respond to the question.
“Excellent listening Kallee; the stem is for transporting water and nutrients. I am super impressed that you remembered those words. Anyone else recall a plant part and its function?”
I select enough students to respond to cover other basic plant parts.
When we have finished discussing the most notable plant parts and their function I say, “You were all great botanists. A botanist is someone who studies plant life.”
“Now I would like you all to stand up and stretch your arms up like tree branches reaching for the sky. Now crouch down low like a seed in the ground. Now sit back down on your spot like a toadstool sitting under a tree.”
I use the video to give the students the vocabulary words they will need when labeling their plants. the video clip also gives them the information they will need in order to understand the function of the plant features.
“Today’s book is called Maryland Symbols and Facts, by Muriel L. DuBois. Since we watched a video clip about plants what do you think today’s Maryland symbol is most likely to be?”
I allow the students to call out the response, “A plant!”
“You are absolutely right. It is a plant. When we come across it in the book I will stop and we will discuss what it is.”
During reading we stop and discuss some of the symbols we have already discussed such as the flag and the crab. Be advised that due to the level of text is this book I skim read some of the pages and drop some of the text altogether. This book is very detailed in wording, but it has great pictures and clear symbols.
When the book is over I set it to the side and say, “Today at one of your work stations you will be botanists. You will use your science journal to record a drawing of a Black-Eyed Susan and you will label the parts of the plant. You will need to recall the information we heard in the video clip and the words we discussed while reading the book.”
“You will need to draw an accurate drawing using scientific coloring because this is a piece of information that will be shared with others to teach them about the Maryland state flower. You will need to label the plant so the reader is able to clearly understand what you have drawn.”
“Try your best to accurately label the parts of the plant and if you need help there will be a resource of a word bank to help you.”
“When you are done with your drawing and labeling, please bring your journal over to me for checking. I will be looking to see how accurate your drawing is. I will look to see if the parts of the plant are labeled and checking to see if your work is neat and tidy.”
“Does anyone have any questions?”
Once I feel the group has a good grasp of the instructions I send the students over one table group at a time to maintain a safe and orderly classroom. It usually sounds like this;
“Table number one let’s go have some plant drawing fun.
Table number two, you know what to do.
Table number three, hope you were listening to me, and
Table number four, you shouldn’t be here anymore.”
Allow the students 15 minutes to work on this activity. Set a visual timer and remind the students to look at the timer so they will use their time wisely.
Labeling items involves many skills that the students will use later on in different subjects. When students are sorting items the categories they are putting the items into are often labeled so it is important for students to recognize what labels are and how they help the reader. Many non-fiction texts use labels to aid in reader comprehension and this can be pointed out to students as another feature to look for when deciding if the book they are reading is fiction or non-fiction. In today's activity it is pointed out that the labels help the reader learn the different parts of a plant. Once the reader knows what the plant part is they can learn about its function.
Becoming proficient at labeling the items themselves helps promote good work habits through skills such: using books to research information, writing letters while recording the labels, and increasing vocabulary skills as the students discuss label choices with their table partners.
Later in the day I read B is for Blue Crab by Shirley C. Menendez and illustrated by Laura Stutzman. This book has many Maryland symbols in it. Some we have been introduced to and some we will be doing in future lessons.
When we get to the Black-Eyed Susan I stop and we discuss how the state flower is the Black-Eyed Susan. We compare its features to the plant in the video and we discuss what a native species is as opposed to an invasive species.
When the time is up I blow two short blasts on my whistle and use the “Stop, look, listen” technique mentioned above.
“When I say go, I would like you to clean up your space remembering to take care of our things, push in your chair, and use walking feet to go and take a spot on your dot.”
Students know to put completed work in the finished work bin. Any work that is not completed goes into the under construction bin and can be completed throughout the day whenever the student finds he/she has spare time or it will be completed during free choice center time.
Once the students are seated I tell them that their exit slip for today is to tell me a part of a plant and the function of that particular part.
“Boys and girls today your exit ticket is to tell me one part of a plant and the function of that part of the plant.”
I use the fair sticks to determine the order of the students.
Once a student has told me his/her plant part and its function, they are able to use the hand sanitizer and go to get their snack.
If a student is unable to give me an answer, they know they can do one of two things.
For this assignment I check over the journal page with the student. I ask the student to read the labels to me and have him/her explain to me what the function of each plant part.
Once we have discussed his/her work I put a smiley face on the completed work and have the student place his/her journal back in his/her book pouch.
If the student does not have the correct label for the corresponding part of the plant, I have the student go back to his/her seat to correct the work. The student can ask a friend to help out which many of them like to do. I like it when my students work together as I feel the student who requires help feels less intimidated by a friend helping out and the student who is doing the helping gets a boost in self-esteem.
The students have been learning about still life art. We place some Black-eyed Susan flowers in a vase and have the students practice their still life skills using water colors.
The students make a 3D Black-eyed Susan flower using 2D shapes. For example they take a 2D rectangle and roll it into a long 3D cylinder for a stem. A spherical pompom represents the “black eye” of the flower.