“Let’s review, show me with your hands who knows what the life cycle of a plant looks like?” asked Lincoln Elementary School kindergarten teacher Melissa Forster.
All of her students swung their arms in big circles.
“That’s right. The life cycle of a plant goes round and round. How does the life cycle start out?”
“As a seed in the ground,” said a student.
“Correct, when it begins to germinate. Do you remember that word? Germinate means to start to grow. When it starts to grow it becomes a sprout. Today we learned another word. What do we call a baby plant? Why don’t you quietly discuss with your neighbor what you think the answer is?” asked Mrs. Forster as she pointed to pictures on a board. After a short discussion, the students decide that the answer is a seedling.
“Good job. Once it’s a seedling we know what happens next – it becomes a flower or a plant. Remember, the seeds from that plant or flower start the life cycle all over again.”
In the Listening & Learning component of the Common Core Learning Standards ELA modules, kindergartners experience the complexities of written language and learn about the world they live in through reading alouds followed by rich conversations about the text. Bringing more nonfiction texts into the classroom is one of the important components of the Common Core Learning Standards. As part of the plant module, students learn a wide variety of information through listening and learning about a life cycle.
“I didn’t know what photosynthesis was before, but now I know it’s how a plant makes food, which they need to live,” said Lincoln Elementary School kindergartener Natalie Wilson. “I also know four things plants need: sun, water, air and food.”
In kindergarten, the purpose of the Listening and Learning component of ELA instruction is to develop students’ comprehension, vocabulary, and knowledge of the world around them beyond by having a variety of texts read to them. Although kindergarteners are unable to read complex texts, they are able to understand and enjoy texts at higher reading levels. The skills portion of the ELA modules allows students to gain the necessary skills of beginning readers and writers.
“My students are very interested in learning about the world they live in,” said Mrs. Forster. “Right now they are enjoying hearing more about plants. They find it very interesting that plants are able to make their own food. They like learning the new vocabulary and will often try to use it at different points throughout the school day.”