Gathering the Sun; an Alphabet in Spanish and English Alma Flor Ada

            This book beautifully illustrates and honors the people who work hard in the fields to bring food to our tables.  Each letter of the alphabet is a poem in both Spanish and English

Materials

  •  Many alphabet letters
  • White construction paper
  • Oil pastels/conte crayons
  • Several pieces of produce or recipes that are made with produce

Vocabulary

  •             Harvest (to pick produce)
  •             Produce (fruits and vegetables)
  •             Farm Worker (person who works on a farm picking produce).
  •             Customer (buys the produce and eats it)
  •             Store Keeper (the person who cleans and sells the produce).

Before Reading the Story

            Look through the book and decide which pages you would like to share with the children, this may not be the best suited book to read through complete with young children. When you pick the pages you want to read, or talk about, note the alphabet letter that is represented. Ask the children if they can think of other words that begin with the letter.

Literacy/Phonological Awareness; shows growing awareness of beginning and ending sounds in words.

Reading the Story

            Use the book to promote conversations with the children.  (Letter /D/.  Ask the children if the can tell what the farm workers are picking.  Have the children ever tasted peaches?  What are those things that the men are standing on?  What other kinds of fruits grow from trees?  Etc.

Approaches to Learning/Initiative & Curiosity; grows in eagerness to learn about and discuss a growing range of topics, ideas, and tasks. AND Language Development/Speaking & Communicating; develops increasing abilities to understand and use language to communicate information, experiences, ideas, feelings, opinions, needs, questions; and for other varied purposes.

After Reading the Story

            Make a note to the children on all the pages where people are working in the fields and they are wearing hats.  Ask the children why they think the workers are wearing hats.  Discuss with the children how important it is to protect your body from the sun when you are picking produce.  What other ways do people protect their skin?  When are other times when it is important to protect your skin from the sun’s rays?

Physical Health & development/Health Status & Practices; builds awarenss and ability to follow basic health and safety rules such as fire safety, traffic and pedestrian safety, and responding appropriately to potentially harmful objects, substances, and activities.

Discovery

            Bring in several produce or recipes that uses produce to prepare with the children.  Try something using prickly pear, mango,  or a salsa recipe to carry the theme of the story. Have a taste test and make a graph of those that liked the produce and those that did not like the produce.

Mathematics/Patterns & Measurement; begins to make comparisons between several objects based on a single attribute. AND Social & Emotional Development/Self-Concept; begins to develop and express awareness of self in terms of specific abilities, characteristics, or preferences.

Music and Movement

            Sing Where oh Where are all the Children, sung to Way down yonder in the paw paw patch. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7LHZSPZZCWU which begins at 3.10 minutes into the video.

Where oh where are all the children,

Where oh where are all the children?

Where oh where are all the children?

Way down yonder in the _____patch.

Picking ______, put them in the basket,

Picking ______, put them in the basket.

Picking _____, put them in the basket,

Way down yonder in the _____ patch.

(Have the children pick different produce and then pretend to pick it accordingly.

Picking strawberries, put them in the basket

Picking apples drop them in the bucket).

Science/Scientific Knowledge; expands knowledge of and abilities to observe, describe, and discuss the natural world, materials, living things, and natural processes.

Sing a song in English and Spanish such as Hello/Hola https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hqx2phxn_cM

Hello, hello, hello and how are you?

I’m fine, I’m fine, and I hope that you are too.

Hola, hola, hola y como estas?

Usted es bien, bien, y__________

Creative Arts/Music; participates with increasing interest and enjoyment in a variety of music activities, including listening, singing, finger plays, games, and performances.

            Sing Dig a Little Hole, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sOJLPw2WJtM

You dig a little hole

Plant a little seed

Pour a little water

Pull a little weed

Chase a little bug

Hey ho there he goes

Give a little sunshine

Watch it grow, grow, grow.

Science/Scientific Knowledge; expands knowledge of and abilities to observe, describe, and discuss the natural world, materials, living things, and natural processes.

Blocks

            At clean up have the children pretend that the blocks that they have built with are potatoes and have them pick the potatoes and put them in the boxes (the shelves).

Creative Arts/Dramatic Play; shows growing creativity and imagination in using materials and in assuming different roles in dramatic play situations.

Art

            Ask each child to name a favorite piece of produce.  Draw a simple shape of their produce on white construction paper.  Have the children color their produce in using oil pastels/conte crayons.  After they have colored their produce in, have them use water colors and wash over the entire page.  When it is dry cut out the piece of produce and mount it to a dark piece of construction paper.  This can make a very stunning piece of artwork.  Label the produce in both English and Spanish.

Creative Arts/Art; gains ability in using different art media and materials in a variety of ways for creative expression and representation.

Sand and Water

            Add magnetic alphabet letters into the sand today. Give the children small spades or spoons to scoop out the letters and name. (I have taken a cookie sheet and traced around all my magnetic letters so that the children can match them by shape). Ask your children to name the letters that they have found. Can they think of a word that begins or ends with that letter sound?

Literacy/Alphabet Awareness; shows progress in associating the names of letters with their shapes and sounds. AND Literacy/Phonological Awareness; shows growing awareness of beginning and ending sounds in words.

Library and Writing

            Collage with alphabet letters.  Can you find the letters in your name?  Can you spell a word from the story?

Literacy/Alphabet Awareness; identifies at least 10 letters of the alphabet, especially those in their own name.

            Write a letter to a farm worker thanking him or her for all the good things that you eat.  Find a local farm or produce stand where you can send it.

Literacy/Early Writing; develops understanding that writing is a way of communicating for a variety of purposes.

Dramatic Play

            Set up a produce stand.  Bring in several baskets and have the children sort the plastic fruits and vegetables.  Add some prices, paper bags, aprons,  and a cash register. 

Social & Emotional Development/Knowledge of Families & Communities. develops growing awareness of jobs and what is required to perform them.

Math and Manipulatives

            Give the children alphabet letters.  Make a large Venn diagram on a piece of paper.  Ask the children to sort the letters by those with curved lines and those with straight lines. (If you do not have enough letters, you can make them by cutting out many 1/2 inch squares and writing the letters on them).

Mathematics/Geometry & Spatial Sense; shows growth in matching, sorting, putting in a series, and regrouping objects according to one or two attributes such as color, shape, or size.

Outdoor Play

            In Mexico parties often include a piñata.  Bring in a piñata or hang a pillowcase filled with scrunched newspaper , a tether ball, or a stuffed animal from a tree .  The children can practice hitting at it with a plastic wiffle bat or stick.

Physical Health & Development/Gross Motor Skills; demonstrates increasing abilities to coordinate movements in throwing, catching, kicking, bouncing balls, and using a slide and swing.

Transitions

            Name a letter sound and ask each child to make a word that begins with that letter sound.  Older children can be challenged to think of words that end with the letter sound.

Literacy/Phonological Awareness; shows growing awareness of beginning and ending sounds in words.

A Gardener’s Alphabet, by Mary Azarain

So many new words to learn about the garden all done with beautiful detailed pictures.

Materials

  • 1-10 plastic cups, labeled with the numbers 1-2-3-etc.
  • Many plastic or silk flowers (if you have just the heads, use pipe cleaners for stems.)
  • Old play dough
  • Small basket and several dish towels
  • Sheet of poster board or large piece of paper
  • 1-2 potted plants (since you will be pulling these out of the pot, you do not need a fancy plant. I have stuffed garden weeds into a cup as a potted plant to do this project)

Vocabulary

  • Arbor (a little nook or gazebo)
  • Bulbs (some plants grow from seeds, and some plants grow from bulbs)
  • Compost (food scraps that you let deteriorate to make dirt for your garden)
  • Greenhouse (a house made out of glass so you can grow things in the cold weather)
  • Manure (animal poop that you can put in your compost)
  • Nibble (to take little bites or tastes)
  • Topiary (to make fancy shapes out of bushes)
  • Weed (to take out all the plants you do not want in the garden)
  • Xeriscape (a garden that needs hardly any watering at all!)

Introducing the Story

Talk to the children about their gardening experiences. Do they have a garden at home? What do they grow, vegetables or flowers? Do you have a garden at school? How do the children help maintain it? Tell the children that today’s book is about words that tell about a garden. Ask the children if they can think of any words that tell about a garden and write them on a large piece of paper (dirt, zucchini, smells good, sprinkler, seeds). Introduce the book and as you go through the pages, help define what each word is.

Science/Scientific Knowledge; expands knowledge of and abilities to observe, describe, and discuss the natural world, materials, living things, and natural processes.

Reading the Story

As you read each page, introduce the letter it represents, its letter sound and point to it at the beginning of each word. Take your time reading the story allowing the children to talk about what they see on the page and experiences that come from looking at the pictures.

Literacy/Alphabet Knowledge; identifies at least 10 letters of the alphabet, especially those in their own name. Knows that letters of the alphabet are a special category of visual graphics that can be individually named.

After Reading the Story

Open the book up randomly to a page, Say the letter name and the word that corresponds with it; M-manure. Ask the children if they can think of any other words that start with the letter sound /M/ for manure?   Do several pages. This could also be used as a transition activity. Let the child open the book, see if they can name the first letter of the word, say the word and think of another that begins with that letter sound.

Literacy/Alphabet Knowledge; identifies at least 10 letters of the alphabet, especially those in their own name. Knows that letters of the alphabet are a special category of visual graphics that can be individually named.

Music and Movement

Sing or chant while doing motions that go along;

Dig a little hole and put the seed in.
Cover it with dirt and let the sun shine in.
Add a little water, to keep it fed,
Soon a little plant will show its head.

Creative Arts/Music; participates with increasing interest and enjoyment in a variety of music activities, including listening, singing, finger plays, games, and performances.

Discovery

Bring in several real plants in pots. Ask the children if they can name the parts of the plant (leaves, petals, stem, flower). If not, help them to name. Count the leaves, smell the flower, etc.). Pull the plant out of the soil and show the children the roots of the plant. Give them pieces of paper and encourage them to draw the plant. You can label their plant parts with them when they are finished drawing.

Science/Scientific Skills; develops growing abilities to collect, describe, and record information through a variety of means, including discussion, drawings, maps, and charts.

Blocks

Ahead of time, trace around blocks onto a piece of poster board or large paper. Lay this out in the center and challenge the children to find the correct blocks to lie over the traced shapes. When we did our garden unit, we made flower type shapes using the blocks and traced them onto the poster board.

Mathematics/Geometry & Spatial Sense; begins to be able to determine whether or not two shapes are the same size and shape.

Art

Look on the Internet for flower collage projects to do with preschoolers. There are many different and lovely ideas. Pick one and let the children collage flowers today.

Creative Arts/Art; develops growing abilities to plan, work independently, and demonstrate care and persistence in a variety of art projects.

Sand and Water

Bring the play fruits and vegetables from the dramatic center today and let the children wash them in the water table.   As they wash them, they can dry them with a dishtowel and place in a small basket. Washing our harvest so we can eat it, yummy.   Can the children name the various vegetables? Remind them that by washing the vegetables, you are removing any dirt and manure that still might be on them. This is a healthy habit.

Physical Health & Development/Health Status & Practices; builds awareness and ability to follow basic health and safety rules such as fire safety, traffic and pedestrian safety, and responding appropriately to potentially harmful objects, substances, and activities.

Library and Writing

Put out seed catalogs for the children look at. For your oldest children, encourage them to write the names of the flowers or foods that they would like to grow. Show them where to find the name of the plant on the page of the catalog.

Literacy/Early Writing; progresses from scribbles, shapes or pictures to represent ideas, to using letter-like symbols, to copying or writing familiar words such as their own name.

Dramatic Play

If you have extra silk flower heads today, let the children arrange them into a plastic vase (an old mayonnaise jar works well) and put them onto the dramatic table.

Creative Arts/Dramatic Play; participates in a variety of dramatic play activities that become more extended and complex.

Math and Manipulaties

Ahead of time label plastic cups 1-10 depending upon the age of your children and the numbers that you are working on. In each cup put a ball of play dough that fills the bottom ½ of the cup. Put out the silk/plastic flowers on the table. Encourage the children to add the proper number of flowers to each cup (#3=three silk flowers)

Mathematics/Number & Operations; develops increased abilities to combine, separate, and name “how many” concrete objects.

Outdoor Play

Plant a garden or work in your classroom garden with the children. If you do not have a school garden, pretend to plant a garden in the sandbox. Use shovels to make rows and acorns, rocks, or pinecones to be the ‘seeds’.

Approaches to Learning/Initiative & Curiosity; approaches tasks and activities with increased flexibility, imagination, and inventiveness.

Bring out scissors and let the children cut the grass.

Physical Health & Development/Fine Motor Skills; develops growing strength, dexterity, and control needed to use tools such as scissors, paper punch, stapler, and hammer.

Transitions

Explain to the children that in the garden one can find many colors. Dismiss the children to the next activity by colors that they are wearing. If they are proficient in colors, use patterns in tier clothing (stripes, polka dots, words, numbers, plaid, etc.).

Resources

Dear Parents, Today we read an alphabet book about gardening. Play a game with your child using the letters in their name. Write the letters, not in the correct order, and ask them if they can name the letters. If not tell them the letter name and also the letter sound. Then take your finger and point to the letters in the correct order of your child’s name and slowly say their name saying each letter and then each syllable.

Eating the Alphabet, by Lois Ehlert

Teaching the alphabet is fun with this book that names fruits and vegetables from A-Z

Materials

  • Large sheet of paper with a simple watermelon slice shape drawn on it. Do not add seeds.
  • Dice
  • Colored tissue paper torn into about 1 inch squares, circles, organic shapes
  • A goodly amount of white school glue
  • 3 stalks of celery with the leaves
  • 3 cups about the size of a coffee cup
  • food coloring
  • If you have a class allowance, purchase several unusual fruits or vegetables.

Vocabulary

There are many fruits and vegetables in this book that may be unfamiliar to you or the children. There is a glossary at the end of the book to help you with fruits and vegetables that may be unfamiliar.

Introducing the Story

Start a conversation that talks about how not everybody likes or eats the same foods. Ask the children if they have ever tasted one of several fruits or vegetables, choose ones that are not as common that you may have tried. (For example; currants, eggplant, kiwifruit, swiss chard, and star fruit). Explain to the children that the world is full of different kinds of fruits and vegetables and people eat different foods throughout the world. Tell the children that this is an alphabet book that names many kinds of fruits and vegetables.

Social & Emotional development/Knowledge of Families & Communities; progresses in understanding similarities and respecting differences among people such as genders, race, special needs, culture, language, and family structures.

Reading the Story

Begin each letter by putting your finger under the letter and saying capital (A)____, small (a)_____, what fruits and vegetables begin with (A)____? Then ask the children if they can name any of the fruits/vegetables that begin with the letter. Take time to allow the children to talk about the different fruits/vegetables that they see on the page. (My Mom makes guacamole with avocado, I ate apricots from a can, I don’t like those long things).

Literacy/Alphabet Knowledge; knows the letters of the alphabet are a special category of visual graphics that can be individually named.

After Reading the Story

Using a chalkboard, whiteboard, or large sheet of paper attached to the wall; write a letter of a child in the room. Say I am thinking of child whose name starts with this letter. See if the children can recognize the letter and whose name starts with it. Then ask if anyone can think of another word that starts with that letter. Continue until you have done all the children in the rooms’ first name letter.

Literacy/Alphabet Knowledge; increases in ability to notice the beginning letters of familiar words. AND Literacy/Phonological Awareness; associates sounds with written words, such as awareness that different words begin with the same sound.

Music and Movement

Sing the Alphabet Song with the children. Sing it starting off in a very soft whisper voice and as you sing through the letters begin to raise your volume level until you are singing LOUDLY, not shouting. Then begin loudly and sing softer and softer until you are a whisper by the end of the song.

Language Development/Listening & Understanding; shows progress in understanding and following simple and multi-step directions.

Sing, There Is A Child At Our School to the tune of BINGO

There is a child at our school,
Can you guess his name-o
____ ____ _____ _____ _____,
____ ____ _____ _____ _____,
____ ____ ____ ______ _____,
Child’s name-o

I do this on a dry erase board so the children can see the letters as we sing them. Note: many children’s names have more/less than 5 letters so just make up the tune to fit the child’s letters of their name.

Literacy/Print Awareness & Concepts; recognizes a word as a unit of print, or awareness that letters are grouped to form words, and that words are separated by spaces.

Sing, Where Oh Where Are All The Children? to Way Down Yonder in the Paw Paw Patch. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xrSij2yg9Uc

Where oh where are all the children? Clap hands

Where oh where are all the children? Clap hands

Where oh where are all the children? Clap hands

Way down yonder in the apple orchard. Use thumb to point behind

Picking apples, put them in the basket Act out

Picking apples, put them in the basket. Act out

Picking apples, put them in the basket, Act out

Way down yonder in the apple orchard.

Name and act out picking different fruits and vegetables. (Cutting lettuce, lifting pumpkins, picking berries).

Science/Scientific Knowledge; expands knowledge of and abilities to observe, describe, and discuss the natural world, materials, living things, and natural processes.

Discovery

Take 3 celery stalks and place each in a cup of water colored with food coloring. Make sure the water is dark, 10 drops or more per cup. Put these into the discovery center. As the day goes on, check back to see what is happening to the celery. The water soaks up inside the celery and will turn the leaves different colors. Encourage the children to talk about what they are seeing take place and challenge them to draw on paper what is occurring to the celery.

Science/Scientific Skills & Methods; begins to participate in simple investigations to test observations, discuss and draw conclusions, and form generalizations. Develops a growing ability to collect, describe, and record information through a variety of means, including discussion, drawings, maps, and charts.

 Blocks

Give the children empty toy bins or shoe boxes and tell them to pretend that they are taking foods to the store. How many blocks can they get in their “truck”? Can they get more blocks in if they dump them in to the truck or stack them in to the truck?

Mathematics/Number & Operations; begins to use language to compare numbers of objects in terms such as more, less, greater than, fewer, equal to.

Art

On pieces of white paper (white construction paper works well) draw a simple fruit or vegetable with a black crayon or permanent marker. If you are an artist, ask the children what fruit/vegetable they would like to collage. If you are not a good artist, draw apples, potatoes, and bananas. Put the torn tissue paper pieces out on the table along with bowls of school glue. Give each child a paint brush and show them how to paint on the fruit/vegetable shape and then lay a piece of tissue paper on top. Continue filling in the shape. As the tissue paper overlaps it will make new colors and shades of color. Lay flat to dry. Or; draw the fruits and vegetables and then let the children color with oil pastels. After they have finished coloring, use watercolor paint to make a wash over the fruit/vegetable. The paint will not stick to the oil pastel. This can have a very lovely effect.

Creative Arts/Art; gains ability in using different art media and materials in a variety of ways for creative expression and representation.

Sand and Water

Put magnetic letters in the table today with enough sand to bury them. The children can use a spoon or magnet to search for the letters. As the children pull the letters from the sand, ask them if they can name the letter and/or make the letter sound.

Literacy/Alphabet Knowledge; shows progress in associating the names of letters with their shapes and sounds.

Library and Writing

Take a piece of paper and divide it in half. On one side write FRUIT and on the other write VEGETABLE. Explain to the children that it is important to eat fruits and vegetables every day to help keep our bodies healthy. At each meal for the next several days, ask the children if they can name any fruit or vegetable that is on their plate. Write them in the correct column. After a week, count how many fruits and vegetables your class has had served in the last week.

Mathematics/Number & Operations; demonstrates increasing interest and awareness of numbers and counting as a means for solving problems and determining quantity.

Dramatic Play

Encourage the children to pretend to make fruit or vegetable soup and sort out all the fruits and vegetables in your dramatic play area. Can they name each item? Ask them if they have ever eaten the item and then encourage them to talk about in what form. (I eat applesauce at my house, My Mommy mashes bananas for my baby brother to eat, I like orange juice).

Science/Scientific Knowledge; shows increased awareness and beginning understanding of changes in materials and cause-effect relationships. AND Approaches to Learning/Reasoning & Problem Solving; develops increasing abilities to classify, compare, and contrast objects, events, and experiences.

Math and Manipulatives

Hang the watermelon slice picture on the wall. Let the children take turns rolling a dice and then drawing that number of seeds onto the watermelon slice picture. This works best as a small group activity/game. Play until everyone has had several turns to roll the dice and add seeds to the watermelon shape.

Mathematics/number & Operations; begins to associate number concepts, vocabulary, quantities, and written numerals in meaningful ways.

Outdoor Play

Bring your plastic fruits and vegetables from the dramatic center outdoors today. Bury them in the sandbox for the children to dig up and name.

Social & Emotional Development/Cooperation; develops increasing abilities to give and take in interactions; to take turns in games or using materials; and to interact without being overly submissive or directive.

Transitions

On a large sheet of paper make 4-6 columns. At the bottom of each column, draw a fruit (apple, banana, orange, strawberry, watermelon). Ask the children to name which one they like best and write their name in the correct column. Later during another transition or waiting time you can talk about which fruit was liked the most, least, count how many children liked the banana best, etc.).

Social & Emotional Development/Self-Concept; begins to develop and express awareness of self in specific abilities, characteristics, and preferences. AND Mathematics/number & Operations; begins to associate number concepts, vocabulary, quantities, and written numerals in meaningful ways.

Dear Parent- Today we read Eating the Alphabet, a book about fruits and vegetables. Ask your child to name some fruits and then some vegetables for you. If your child is interested in writing, write his/her name at the top of a piece of paper and encourage him/her to copy it below. Congratulate them and name the letters in their name and those they have copied.