Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Grow! How We Get Food from Our Garden

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote a blog post called Where Does Celery Come From?  In that post, I talked about the disconnect children have about their food and described a science activity you can do with them.  Since then, I learned about a new book hitting the market in October 2020.  It's called Grow!  How We Get Food from Our Garden (affiliate link to Amazon) by Karl Beckstrand.  Grow! would be a good book to read with your students to help them realize where their food comes from.  Yes, food does come from the grocery store.  But before it gets to the grocery store, it was grown in someone's garden.  Read on to learn more about Grow! and to get ideas on how to use it in your classroom.

GROW: How We Get Food from Our Garden by Karl Beckstrand

GROW: How We Get Food from Our Garden by Karl Beckstrand

Lesson Plan Ideas

Picture Walk

Grow! is a fun book to read out loud.  It is full of alliteration, rhythm, and rhyming words.  Before reading the book to your class, take the time to take a picture walk through the story.  Discuss what the students see in the illustrations.  What do they see happening?  What are some of the names of the fruits and vegetables they see?  What did your students learn from looking at the illustrations?  Were they able to make any predictions?  After picture walking through the story, go ahead, and read the book to your class.

Vocabulary Development

While reading books to my students, I like to record unusual or unknown words on an anchor chart.  Anytime a student asks me, "What does that word mean?" I write that word on the anchor chart, talk about it very quickly, and keep reading.  When we finish reading the book, we return to the anchor chart and discuss each of the words in more detail.  If time allows, we try to integrate dictionary skills and look up their definitions.

Throughout the book Grow!, Karl Beckstrand uses garden-related vocabulary.  Some of the students may be familiar with these words, others may not.  This anchor chart shows the list of words that were new to the group of neighborhood kids I recently worked with:

Grow! Vocabulary Words

Science Lesson

After reading and discussing Grow! How We Get Foor from Our Garden, you and your students are ready to answer the question:

Where does our food come from?

Answer: Most of our food comes from a farm.

If you are following my lesson plan format, then you have already read the story with your class once.  You enjoyed the pictures and the rhymes.  The alliteration made you giggle.  Your students learned some new vocabulary words they can use.  Now it is time to read Grow! a second time.  This time you are not going to read the book only for enjoyment; you and your class will be reading it this time to learn what types of food can be grown on a farm.  Reading for enjoyment vs. reading for information.

While reading Grow! with the neighborhood children a second time, we created this second anchor chart.  At first, we divided the chart paper into four sections: fruits, vegetables, grains, and spices.  Whenever we read something that grows in a garden, we wrote it down in one of the four squares.  However, we soon discovered four squares were not enough.  We divided one square to make room for nuts and combined spices and flowers into one list.  This led to some interesting conversations about edible flowers.  The * simply indicates the children were unsure if those words belonged in that square.  The * also serves as a reminder for us to research them at a later date.

Grow! Anchor Chart

Obviously, these aren't the only ways to integrate Grow! How We Get Food from Our Garden with the skills we teach at school.  What are some other ways you can integrate this book?  Share your ideas in the comments below!

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  1. Kelly, You may have just created the most comprehensive and enriching book review I've ever received! I hope students everywhere benefit from your suggestions.

    1. Thank you so much for the comment! I really enjoyed reading Grow! and the ideas of how to integrate it into different subjects kept popping into my head. I hope other teachers and parents will enjoy it as much as I did. I can't wait to read more of your books!