frogs.jpgUnit 6: Wonders of Nature

Plants, Bugs and Frogs

In this sixth six-week unit of kindergarten, students enjoy reading emergent-reader informational texts and listening as picture books by Eric Carle and Robert McCloskey are read aloud.

Students build on the phonological and phonemic work done all year in kindergarten by reading with the support of teachers and peers. Focusing on the relationships among ideas in texts, students recognize that growth and change occur in both fiction and informational texts. Learning about “cause and effect,” students recognize interactions in nature and note the role that people can play in preserving nature. Students read about Monet, a painter who was inspired by light and the wonder of nature, as an introduction to revision in the creative process.
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Theme Essential Question
How does nature inspire us as readers, writers and artists?

Theme Focus Standards
LAFS.K.RL.4.10 Actively engage in group reading activities with purpose and understanding.

LAFS.K.RI.3.8 With prompting and support, identify the reasons an author gives to support points in a text.
LAFS.K.RI.3.9 With prompting and support, identify basic similarities in and differences between two texts on the same topic (e.g., in illustrations, descriptions, or procedures).
LAFS.K.R.2.4 Read emergent-reader texts with purpose and understanding.
LAFS.K.W.2.6 With guidance and support, explore a variety of digital tools to produce and publish writing, including in collaboration with peers
LAFS.K.L.2.4 Determine or clarify the meaning of unknown and multiple-meaning words and phrases based on kindergarten reading and content.
LAFS.K.L.K.2(b) Use the most frequently occurring inflections and affixes (e.g., -ed, -s, re-, un-, pre-, -ful, -less) as a clue to the meaning of an unknown word.

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Suggested Objectives:

    • Articulate cause-and-effect relationships (e.g., as they occur in the natural world).
    • Recognize the basic similarities and differences between two texts on the same topic (e.g., when both are informational or when one is fiction and one nonfiction).
    • Read emergent-reader texts with purpose and understanding.
    • Write, draw, or dictate a narrative (e.g., describing something that happened in nature and a subsequent reaction).
    • Relate the idea of writing revision to a visual artist’s creative process (i.e., continuously improving the work).
    • Use common affixes as clues to the meaning of an unknown word.

Vocabulary Introduced during Theme

Creative Process
Explanatory Writing
Oral Presentation

Interdisciplinary Connections:
  • This unit teaches:
    • Art: Monet (e.g., painting, “Water Lilies” series)
    • Science: Plants (e.g., what plants need to grow; seeds, flowers, and the parts of a plant); Earth Day (e.g., pollution, recycling, conservation); seasons; bugs and frogs (e.g., habitats and life cycles)

    This unit could be extended to teach:
    • Art: More famous art pieces inspired by nature
    • Science: Weather (e.g., local weather patterns and daily weather changes)

Suggested Activities:
Reading Informational Text, Speaking and Listening
Create a cause-and-effect table (as shown next) to record your class work. Read a book such as Earth Day (Trudi Strain Trueit). As you read, encourage the students to think about whether we need Earth Day and how celebrating this special day helps the earth. Build in personal accountability by asking students to draw, write, dictate, or act out their ideas before adding them to the chart. Add a writing dimension to this work by giving students the following whole-class writing prompt: “Write a class book titled Earth Day: Making a Difference. Use the cause-and-effect chart to plan each page of the book. Work in teams to illustrate.” (RI.K.8, RI.K.10, SL.K.6, W.K.2, W.K.7, L.K.1f)
  • Cause (why we have a problem): People are careless and throw trash on the ground.
  • “Earth Day Activities” (event): Pick up trash around a stream.
  • Effect (how we help the earth): Fish have a healthier place to live. Water is cleaner.
Art, Narrative Writing
Claude Monet painted water lilies over and over again. Tell the students to look at his paintings to see how they changed. Explain that one of the reasons for this change was the shifting light in his garden, but also that painters sometimes paint the same subject many times as a way to innovate. Display the three paintings in chronological order, spending time on each individually. What changes did Monet make when he painted the same subject again and again? Relate this idea to the revision process when writing stories. Return the students’ nature stories (see the Narrative Writing activity in this Unit 6 Sample Activities section) and ask the students to try writing them again, but to make them a little different this time, perhaps by adding new details. Publish the writing in a digital format by scanning the student work and inserting it into a PowerPoint presentation. Students will present the work to parents as a culminating writing activity for the year. (SL.K.1, W.K.5, W.K.6)
Vocabulary, Performance
Create a word bank for “Ways Animals Move” (e.g., dart, fly, hop, and swim). Use these verbs to teach the -ed, -s, and -ing suffixes. Act out the words, adding adverbs to make the actions opposite in speed like “hopping slowly” or “hopping fast.” Have some fun with the word bank by creating a “wordle” with the verbs describing animal movements. (L.K.1b, L.K.4b, L.K.5b)
Reading Informational Text, Reading Poetry, Performance
Since students are reading, introduce them to the easy science texts in this unit. Spend time having the students read the books aloud with partners or alone. When reading (reciting) poetry, encourage the dramatic expression of poems such as “Wouldn’t You.” (RF.K.4)
Narrative Writing
Give students this prompt: “Write (or draw or dictate) a story about something amazing you have seen in nature. Be sure to include the name of what you saw (e.g., a firefly), the setting (e.g., a dark night in June, in my yard), and two events that happened (e.g., I chased it and caught it). Tell about how you reacted to the events (e.g., I screamed because I had a bug in my hand and didn’t know what to do with it!)” (W.K.3, SL.K.4, L.K.2a, L.K.2b, L.K.2c, L.K.2d)
Reading Informational Text, Informative Writing
After reading an informational text detailing a process, such as the life cycle of a butterfly or frog, give the students the following writing prompt: “Write a four-page booklet explaining the life cycle of a frog or butterfly using illustrations and sentences.” (W.K.2,L.K.2a, L.K.2b, L.K.2c, L.K.2d)
Reading Literature, Informative Writing
After reading a chapter from Days with Frog and Toad (Arnold Lobel) and From Tadpole to Frog (Let’s-Read-and-Find-Out-Science) (Wendy Pfeffer and Holly Keller), lead the following activity with the students: Work together to make a list of the ways the frog in the fictional book (Lobel) was similar to the frog in the nonfiction book (Pfeffer and Keller). Make a list of how the two frogs are different. Students may be ready to create this list themselves on their own personal graphic organizer. (RL.K.3, RL.K.10, RI.K.10,SL.K.6)
Reading Informational Text, Speaking and Listening
Read a book such as From Tadpole to Frog (Let’s-Read-and-Find-Out-Science) (Wendy Pfeffer and Holly Keller) and then read Red-Eyed Tree Frog (Joy Cowley and Nic Bishop). (These are both nonfiction books, and they both talk about toads.) Ask what the students noticed about how these books were the same and how they were different. (RI.K.9, RI.K.10, SL.K.6)

Online Resources:
//Animal Study from Fiction to Facts// (ReadWriteThink) (RI.K.10)

Read Works Passages/Lessons:

Standard assessments to be completed by end of unit:

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