Saturday, May 16, 2015

Mother's Day Plants and Writing

I'm not a mother yet, but I see how hard mothers work. My sister is a mother and I have friends who are mothers. Over the years, I have come to appreciate all that parents do for their children. I think back to when I first started teaching and I'm pretty sure I saw the kids in my class as just students. That's it. Yeah, I went to cheerleading competitions, soccer games, baseball games, you name it, but it didn't quite click with me who my students were. I remember parents saying to me, "You don't have kids. You don't understand. You're so young." I hated that! But now, when I think back, they were kind of right. I didn't know. I think I did ok, but I was trying to get through my first year as a teacher.

Oh how much I have learned since then! Now I see the students in my class as so much more. They are kids. They have good days and bad days. Some have baggage. They are someone's child. This realization has made me a more patient, caring, and sensitive teacher. Sometimes when I start to feel a little overwhelmed I remind myself of these things. I can only hope that one day I am able to be as great at parenting as some of the wonderful people I know.

So, when Mother's Day comes around, I always try to do something special in my class that the kiddos can take home with them. This year we started learning about plants at the beginning of April. We even planted flower seeds so that we could watch the parts of the plant grow as we learned about the plant life cycle. I decided to take this opportunity and turn it into a Mother's Day gift as well. When we began planting the seeds, the kiddos were hooked because they knew this was something they would take home. They put value in the activity because it meant something to them. Fabulous!

Since this was a science project first, and I wanted my little scientists to see the roots as they grew, we planted the seeds in clear plastic cups. They were not so pretty. The week before Mother's Day we replanted the plants into nicer pots that I got from the dollar store. We made a huge mess on the table, but it was well worth it!
 We let the plants sit on the window ledge for a few more days before we turned them into official gifts.
I really enjoyed coming to school each morning and seeing the plants in the window. There was something bright and cheery about it.

So now the problem was that as exciting as it was to watch our plants grow, we still didn't have flowers and time was running out. I saw A Sunny Day In First Grade posted about what she does for Mother's Day {HERE} and it gave me a great idea. Instead of making butterflies to stick out of the plants, I used the Ellison machine in the teachers' lounge and cut out flowers of different colors. I let the kiddos choose their color and glue it onto a colored popsicle stick. They stuck that in the plants.
Then we wrapped the pots in tissue paper and tied with ribbon.
Afterward, we trimmed off a little of the paper and we were done.
To finish off our Mother's Day activities, we read The Important Book by Margaret Wise Brown and then wrote about our mothers. You can get the template from my TPT store {HERE}.
 They came out even better than I expected. The best part was that everyone worked so hard and were proud of what they created. My little first graders have come such a long way this year. Yay!

Did you do anything special in your class to celebrate Mother's Day this year?

All the best!

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