For Teachers

How To Incorporate Gardening into Kindergarten and First Grade Curriculum

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Gardening with children is a perfect hands-on multi-sensory activity. Gardening and plant care can be a stand alone curriculum if you incorporate it into each content area. Here is a guideline to incorporate a gardening unit or project into every aspect of your kindergarten or first grade curriculum.

  • Language Arts
    • Vocabulary : Use word cards or sticky notes to label every aspect of your gardening and plants.
      • Label plants growing in your garden. (carrot, corn, beans,etc.)
      • Label different parts on a plant: stem, roots, leaves.
      • Label the parts of your garden (use a bulletin board display if necessary): soil, sun, rain, worms, plants, buds, bugs, butterflies, etc.
      • Label gardening equipment: hoe, rake water, can, hat, etc.
      • Label plants, fruits and vegetables. Include color and number words. (four red apples)
      • Label weather words.
    • Phonics
      • Make word walls from gardening words.
      • Use words with common short vowel and consonant blend phoneme patterns for kindergarten. (hat, sun, bug, stem)
      • Use words with common long vowel, and digraph and dipthong patterns for first grade. (rake, hoe, bean, seed, root, etc.)
      • Extend each word into a word family list. (rake, bake, make, take, stake, lake)
    • Spelling
      • Practice one word family per week. Include one rule breaker each week. (water, worm)
      • Make up a simple song to remember word family words.
      • Color code word families patterns. (initial consonant-blue, short vowel-orange, long vowel-red)
    • Writing and reading : Each student should:
      • Journal about gardening activities.
      • Dictate a sentence or paragraph to the teacher.
      • Use vocabulary words.
      • Copy what the teacher has written
      • Do an ELA (elicited language sample) on board together. The teacher writes what the students say. Students copy in a book.
      • Read what they have written to each other.
      • Illustrate journal entries.
      • Keep a word bank of new words from the week.
    • Literature : There are many books about gardening in children’s literature. Here are some of my favorites:
      • The Carrot Seed
      • The Popcorn Book
      • The Gardener
      • A Tree is Nice
      • The Giving Tree
      • A Year at Maple Tree Farm
      • The Little Red Hen
      • Ox-Cart Man
      • The Legend of Johnny Appleseed
      • The Beetle Bush
      • A Pocketful of Cricket
      • Blueberries for Sal
  • Math and Science
    • Count seeds.
    • Divide seeds according to how many will be needed for each plant.
    • Measure plant growth.
    • Estimate which seeds will sprout first, how big a pumpkin will get, how many tomatoes will grow, etc.
    • Graph plant growth.
    • Make a weather station. (see links for samples)
      • Gauge rain fall.
      • Measure temperature.
      • Measure wind speed with anemometer.
      • Record barometric pressure.
    • Chart and graph weather, windspeed, temperature and barometer readings.
    • Track plant progress and keep a calendar of gardening events (planting, harvesting, weeding, heavy rain storm,etc.). You can add these to your regular calendar regime.
    • Check the links attached for free math and science printables based on gardening.
  • Art, drama and music
    • Check the link for plant and gardening songs.
    • Choose a story from the literature list to act out.
    • Dramatize a plant growing.
    • Explore the work of famous artists who specialized in plant and garden themes. Claude Monet, Auguste Renoir, Diego Rivera, Paul Gauguin and Vincent VanGogh are good places to begin.
  • Social Studies
    • Map where different plants are found.
    • Explore which biomes produce which kinds of plants.
    • Use five senses to explore different kinds of plants.
  • Useful Links:

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