by Christine Gorman, Judie Haynes
Welcome Spring with this lesson on growing flowers for your young English language learners. Teach students to record observations in a journal as they watch their plants grow from seedling to flower.
How to grow a plant
Grades K-2 advanced beginner to intermediate ESL; Grades 2-6 beginning ESL
Changes in nature; how a plant grows; observing and keeping a science journal
Small flower pots, soil, seeds, fact book on growing plants, Tommy by Gwendolyn Brooks
Plant, flowering plant, seeds, soil, leaves, stem, roots, flowers, ground, sun, sepal, petals.
- Show students a live flower in a pot. Ask them what they know about flowers. Where did the flower come from? What does it need to grow? Record their responses.
- Read a short, simple nonfiction book on growing plants. How Does My Garden Grow? by JoAnne Nelson is a good choice for K-2 students. A good choice for older students is The Magic School Bus Plants Seeds, or The Tiny Seed by Eric Carle You may have to use the pictures and "retell" the text at your students' language level. Compare the pictures in the book to your plant. Help students become familiar with the vocabulary as they point to the various parts of the plant.
- Plant seeds with students. Use a seed that will grow quickly such as sunflowers, marigolds or daisies. Review the vocabulary and each step of the procedure. Have students draw pictures of the pot, the soil, the seeds, and water in their science journal. They should write the date and enter that they planted the seeds. Review with students what a plant needs in order to grow.
- Have students review the planting by printing the steps of the process on sentence strips. Students should be able to sequence the steps.
- Each day students should check their plants, add water as necessary, and record in their journals. When the plant begins to push through the soil, have them draw what it looks like each day.
- Draw a picture of a flower without labels. Make it 3-dimensional with leaves and petals that stick out. Put the names of each part of the plant on small pieces of tagboard. Have the students place the labels in the correct place.
- Review with students what is needed to make a plant grow (Water, soil, sun) and have them place cut-out pictures of these items on your chart.
- Download PDF files for How to Make a Plant Grow and make copies. Complete the steps of plant growth in the book with your students.
- Download PDF files Label the Plantfor students in Grades 3-6.
- Introduce the poem Tommy by Gwendolyn Brooks to students in Grades K-2. Student will need to know the expressions "cared for" and "consulting." This vocabulary should be introduced and reviewed in another context before the poem is read. Teach the word "consulting" by explaining that when you ask someone something you consult them. "Cared for" means to take care of.
- Print the poem clearly on chart paper or sentence strips and point to each word as you read.
- Have students read the poem with you and act it out. Use hand motions when possible. (Students throw their hands in the air for "popped.")
I put a seed into the ground
And said, "I'll watch it grow."
I watered it and cared for it
As well as I could know.
One day I walked in my back yard,
And oh, what did I see!
My seed had popped itself right out,
Without consulting me
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