Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Heal the world with a tiny bit of Little Learner Love

Happy Earth Day to all!

My Little Learners have been working hard to build their knowledge of plants, animals, and the world around them.  As a part of our unit, we discussed the effects that our everyday lives can have on our planet.  I found it interesting that many of my students already had a large amount of background knowledge about the 3 R's (reduce, reuse, and recycle).  Many of them shared stories about shopping trips with reusable bags.    We read many nonfiction texts about plants, our Earth, and ways to help.  However, my students favorite reading was a piece of fiction titled Our Tree Named Steve by Alan Zweibel.  (Of topic, a big thanks to the donor's who funded our science mentor text project on Donor's Choose!  This book was included in the bunch!)

Perhaps motherhood has softened me quite a bit, but I found myself quite choked up at the end of this story. It really is a beautiful story!  As the young characters grow through life's awkward stages, their tree "Steve" is  there for them.  Until the day that Steve is knocked down in a storm.  The children's parents reuse "Steve" and build a tree house.  This story prompted a discussion about the little things we could all do to help keep our world healthy and happy.  Here's a little of what they came up with...

The promises and commitments they made to our Earth turned into a fun arts integrated project!

As a continuation of our studies, we have begun to flutter into the world of caterpillars and butterflies!  When they first laid eyes on our caterpillars, the excitement on their faces was absolutely priceless!  They quickly broke into teams and chose names.  I was incredibly impressed with how easily the worked together to meet their goal.  Thus, we ended up with Taffy Boy, Sparkle, Raisin, Mrs.Howard, and Copy Cat.  Our caterpillar/butterfly study branched out into all areas of learning.  We read fiction and nonfiction texts, studied  the parts and life cycle, and observed closely through each change.

The Chrysalis



Finally, we had butterflies!


It just so happened that our butterflies emerged on April 22nd, Earth Day.  The children and I were having a detailed discussion about what we could do that day to make the world a little more beautiful.  Quickly, the children (independently) began to discuss setting our butterflies free.  As a group, they felt that they should be able to "drink nectar outside and be with their friends.  They might even find a mate and lay more eggs!"  
I was sure proud to their teacher. 

Peace, Love & Hug a Tree

Jessica Purtell

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