Kids. Grow. Gardens.

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Children’s books

Growing gardens provides wonderful links to literacy learning and the English Curriculum. We’re starting with an old favourite – the Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle.

Create your own Very Hungry Caterpillar from egg carton seedling trays lined up in a long row (they fit well on a window sill). Plant seeds in the egg cartons (remember to label them!). Children can decorate their caterpillar’s body using vivid contrasting colours inspired by Eric Carle’s iconic paintings. Instead of a lollipop, chocolate cake, icecream and cherry pie, we’re filling the caterpillar’s Saturday with lettuce, broccolini, tomatoes, leeks, and dragon’s tongue beans. This may cause him less of a belly ache. Great opportunities for nutrition messaging!.

Here Millie and I have created a Very Hungry Caterpillar planter box which is ideal for more advanced seedlings. We used a recycled polystyrene box painted with acrylic paints and potted with broad beans, shallots and coriander. Make a complete replica of the caterpillar by lining up a series of polystyrene boxes and having students work in teams to do the painting and planting.

Millie working on our caterpillar who is hungry for healthy vegetables.Our finished planter box

Here are some other suggestions from TeacherVision of books that link with gardening adventures:

  • The Tale of Peter Rabbit Use this activity with The Tale of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter to enrich children’s language and emergent literacy skills.
  • The Secret Garden Use this guide on The Secret Garden to stimulate discussions focused on themes, symbols, recurrent motifs, and Frances Hodgson Burnett’s style.
  • The Garden of Abdul Gasazi Teacher’s Guide Discover the magic of Chris Van Allsburg’s first children’s book,The Garden of Abdul Gasazi. This printable teacher’s guide includes a summary of the book, teaching ideas for language arts, discussion questions, and lesson planning resources for reading the book aloud with your class.

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Seed poetry

How can seeds be vehicles for learning to write poetry?

A fun way to seed ideas for poetry is using seeds as the focus for exploring forms of poetry:

The task: Write a poem with a seed as the seed for your poem!

Use either the cinquain/haiku/couplet/limerick form of poetry.

For example, a limerick:

I once saw a seed that could fly

It rode on the breeze way up high

The wind did abate

Dropped the seed by my gate

Some orach grew there by and by.

How can seeds be devices for learning poetic devices (such as metaphor, simile, alliteration, onomatopoeia)?

The task: In your poem, include poetic devices with seeds as your theme.

Metaphor: a seed is a sleeping bag for a plant

Simile: a seed is like a gift that keeps giving – from the surprise of its first unfurling, to the food it provides to nourish our bodies.

Here’s a handy summary of the forms of poetry