— by Carol L. Malnor
Busy teachers love ready-made lessons that are meaningful for students and easy to do. That’s why I was delighted to share a lesson for Molly’s Organic Farm with kindergarten/first grade teacher Jenn Sheffo. Like many teachers, Jenn has her hands full with school, family, and extra activities for her two young children. The day I went into Jenn’s class she was teaching a unit entitled “Our Backyard: Organic Farming & Local Sustainability.” Students were learning how plants grow, how to observe nature, and which bugs and other critters hide nearby. Molly’s Organic Farm was a perfect fit for Jenn’s unit because Molly, a homeless little cat, discovers those same things during her explorations of an organic farm.
Easily printing off the Sense-sational lesson from Dawn Publication’s website, Jenn grabbed her copy of the book and was ready to go. I loved being a fly on the wall as I watched the children’s reactions while Jenn read the story. With the lines, “Little girl giggles; Molly wiggles,” the class erupted in giggles too. And when they saw the colorful market day illustration, students shared their own experiences of shopping at a local farmer’s market.
Molly’s Organic Farm is rich in sensory words, so the focus of the lesson was to review the five senses, an important science standard for grades K-2. Referring to the list of sensory words provided in the lesson plan, Jenn read a word from the story and students did a corresponding motion for one of the senses. For example, when students heard the word “whoosh” they cupped their hands behind their ears to indicate hearing, and for “silky” they wiggled their fingers to indicate the sense of touch. For the sense of seeing, they pretended to look through binoculars; and they pointed to their noses for the sense of smell. Sticking out their tongues for the sense of taste was especially fun when Jenn said “sipping!” Listening to Jenn read the book and watching children do the activity gave me a feeling of coming full circle—it was just the classroom experience I imagined while I was writing Molly’s Organic Farm.
As an author and former classroom teacher I have always appreciated Dawn Publications books because they include an educational element along with the story. The downloadable activities available online take that educational experience one step further. Check out more downloadable activities for Molly’s Organic Farm and many other books under the Teachers/Librarians link. You’re sure to find an activity that is perfect for your students.