Monday, May 7, 2012

Even More... From seeds to plants

Before I begin my regular blog post, I wanted to share with you about a new children's book one of my former preschool parents has written about gardening in Detroit. I was lucky enough to get to take a sneak peak at it this morning before she even debuts it to the public!  It is a wonderful children's book about a little girl who moves to Detroit and misses her garden at her old home, but finds a way to make a garden right in the city of Detroit!  The authors' name is Keri Middaugh and the title of the book is My Detroit Garden.  Keri has graciously allowed me to use the photo of her book from her blog, My Kitchen My Vice, so that you may see it here:

If you live in the greater Detroit area (specifically Ann Arbor, or Ypsilanti) and you would like to be one of the first to see her new book - and have a chance to buy it - Keri (and her book) will be at Lunasa Open House Market at the Washtenaw Food Hub on Tuesday, May 8th and the Mix Marketplace in downtown Ypsilanti on Saturday, May 12. 

I am also excited that Keri will be visiting my preschool next week to read her new book to both my 3's and 4's class!  She will also be sharing about the process of writing a book and doing a seed planting activity with the kids!  I think the kids will be very excited to meet a real author!

 So, after two weeks of our seeds and plants theme, I am discovering (like I do every year) that I need to start earlier next year so that we can dig deeper (so to speak) into this theme.  After two weeks we still have not learned about the parts of a leaf or the parts of a flower - we have only learned about the parts of a seed, parts of a plant, and parts of a root.  However, I can say that we have had lots of fun and that the kids have really enjoyed learning about seeds and plants!  I guess that is the most important thing!

So, this week for our table project, we made a parts of a plant craft.  We glued on the seed and the roots the first day (the seed to show where all the parts are coming from), the stem and branches the next day, and the leaves and flower the last day.  Below are pictures of this project:

This is my example - we used a bean seed as our seed, yarn for the roots, tongue depressors for the stem, popsicle sticks for the branches, paper cut-outs for the leaves, and a black-line master shape for the flower.
Gluing on the roots
Gluing on the stem and branches
The kids did a really good job with these projects!  Each one looked different, but still had all of the parts of a plant in the correct places!

During the last couple weeks, several of the kids have gone to the art table and drawn or painted pictures of plants.  I am truly amazed at how much they have learned about the parts of a plant!  Here are some pictures of their art work:

Of course, we also had lots of work on the shelves that was related to a seed/plant theme!  Here are some pictures:

Scooping wooden flowers into plastic egg carton.  This work actually has a little story behind it. The wooden flowers were on top of wooden stems which also had leaves on them.  I bought them from The Scrap Box in Ann Arbor, which sells items from manufacturers, etc. that would normally be thrown away.  You can find lots of amazing things there to use for crafts, etc!  Anyways, these wooden flowers (with stem, and leaves) along with some purple wooden flowers were going to be used as a flower arranging work, but the flower tops and leaves would not stay connected to the stem.  So, I just took the tops and made a scooping work instead!
This work is from the KidsSoup member area.  The yellow pieces in the the center of the tray are the centers of flowers.  In each other section of the tray are the petals of the flowers.  You match the shape on the center piece to the shapes on the petal, put the shapes in order from largest to smallest around the center piece, and you have a flower!
This is also from the KidsSoup member area.  The first flower on the page has all it's parts.  But, every other flower is missing a part.  You use the crayons to add the missing part of each flower.
This is from Preschool Creations free garden pack.  There are addition problems using pictures of objects.  I laminated each sheet, added a dry erase marker, and a rag so that each child can do the work and then erase it for another child to use.
This is Sunflower Ketchup Cup Math from Making Learning Fun
These are Sunflower One-to-One Correspondence Math cards from Making Learning Fun.

These are word family flowers from the member area of  KidsSoup.  You put a flower on each stem and then find all of the leaves with pictures that rhyme with the picture on each flower.
These are all of the 3-part cards we have out right now - From left to right - recyclables, parts of a seed, parts of a plant, parts of a root.  The parts of a plant and parts of a root cards are free from Montessori Materials.  The parts of a seed cards are free from Montessori Workjobs.  And, the recyclables cards are free from Living Montessori Now.

Sunflower Seed addition from Making Learning Fun
This is not seed/plant related, obviously!  I was so excited to find some of those bath non-skid thingies with the suction cups on the bottom at a Mom 2 Mom sale a while back - for $0.25, I think!  I added some marbles and a small scoop to scoop the marbles onto the suction cups!
Here are some pictures of the kids working:

Sunflower Ketchup Cup Math game
Scooping marbles into suction cups
Somebody got out all of the knobless cylinders at the same time... uh oh!  Fortunately, a friend came a long to help sort them all back into their proper containers!
Hanging Bead Stair
Sunflower Seed additon
Garden addition with sandpaper numerals to help with writing numbers
Sunflower One-to-one Correspondence math mats
Mystery number
The kids discovered that in one of the books we read there was a hidden number on each page.  Here is a picture of one of the kids (with an assist parent) finding the hidden numbers in the book!
Because of all the seeds we planted last week, we had lots of dirt accidents this week.  In other words, there were containers of dirt all over the classroom with seeds planted in them and a few of them got knocked over.  Oh, and there was the container of mustard seeds that one of the kids opened in order to smell them - we ended up with mustard seeds all over the place that time!  So, I took advantage of the situation and gave a few practical life lessons on sweeping up dirt and seeds with a small broom and dustpan.  Below are a couple pictures of the kids cleaning up their messes:

Ooops!  Luckily baby food jars must be pretty strong, because we had several get knocked down and not one broke.  Of course, this does not help my cause when I am explaining to the kids that when you drop glass in breaks...
Mustard seeds are really difficult to sweep up!  And, even more difficult to pick up off the carpet!
 Living Montessori Now is having yet another amazing giveaway!  This one is for PearlMountian Image Converter Software! Check it out and enter every day to win one of 20 giveaways for this image conversion software!

So, that's it for today!  We are winding down at my preschool - our last day of school is May 18th!  I am still considering different ideas for what to blog about over the summer months.  I will be spending some time at my daughters Montessori school before she is done at the beginning of June, so that is one idea.  But, after that, I'm not sure yet.  I'd like to stay Montessori-focused.  I've thought of blogging about things I am going to add or change for next school year.  But, finding pictures to go along with these posts will take a little more doing since I won't be able to take many of my own without the help of my preschool kids.  We'll see what happens, I guess!  I am open to any ideas that any of my readers have, so leave me a comment if you have ideas about what I can blog about this summer that will be still Montessori-focused!

I am linking up with Living Montessori Now for Montessori Monday!

Montessori Monday


  1. As always, you have so many sweet and smart activities for your students. Thanks for the great promo! See you next week!!

    Keri (and Josi)

  2. Thanks, Keri! And, I'm looking forward to you coming to read your book to my classes next week - and to seeing Josi as well!

  3. Thanks so much for sharing the link to my 3-part recycling cards, Mieke! You have so many great plant activities! I featured your plant posts and your sunflower seeds addition photo in my Montessori-Inspired Gardening Unit at