Newsletter Lesson

Reading, Science, Technology

Topic or Unit of Study:
Plants-similarities and differences


To describe similarities and differences of eight plants using sight, touch, and smell. To choose one plant and dictate a sentence telling why that plant is the student's favorite out of all eight observed.

We will complete a chart of what we already know about plants. We will observe eight different plants using sight, touch, smell. We will discuss the similarities and differences of the plants. Each student will draw a picture and state a reason why the specific plant is his/her favorite. Each student will help to complete a class newletter on the subject.

Learning Context:
This activity fits perfectly into the beginning of our plant life unit. This lesson allows us to draw upon our prior knowledge about plants. This lesson also allows us to begin to discover the parts of a plant. Subsequent lessons will have us investigate specific plant parts.

The technology component for this lesson is small because of the ability of my kindergarteners. They will be able to type in their name and as a class we will choose some clip art to include on our newsletter. We will also vote on the newsletter title. I will do most of the typing myself.

Day 1: I will introduce our unit. As a class, we will discuss what we already know about plants. I will guide the discussion towards what plants look like, where they are found, their value, etc. As students share their ideas, I will fill out the "K" portion (what we know) of our KWL chart. I will then tell the students that we will be looking at eight different plants. Each group will have two plants on their desk. Each group will rotate to see all eight plants. They will be able to smell them, touch them, and look at them. After exploration time, we will come back together as a class to discuss the similarities and differences of the plants. This info. will be filled out on another chart.

Day 2: We will review our similarities and differences chart. The students will be asked to think about which plant he/she likes the most and why. The eight plants will be displayed on the back counter so the students can observe them again if necessary. I will model what I expect from the students (drawing my favorite plant, finishing the sentence "I like this plant because ___"). Each student will receive a blank piece of paper and will work independently. I will come around to each student and ask them to dictate their sentence to me. I will write it directly beneath their picture. The pictures will be collected when finished.

Day 3: I will tell the students that we will be creating a newsletter about our observation that will be sent home to their parents. As a class we will come up with a title for the newsletter. I will pre select a few pictures from clip art that will go along with our newsletter. Using the class computer and the device that hooks the computer up to the t.v.., I will show the class our choices. We will then decide which photos to include on our newsletter. While the students are at recess or doing their activity time (free play) I will call one student up at a time to type in his/her name. I will also repeat the student's reason why he/she decided that a plant was his/her favorite. I will type in his/her sentence after his/her name on our newsletter.

Day 4: Students who have not had a chance to type in his/her name will do so this day using our classroom computer. When finished, I will present the newsletter to the class using the computer-t.v. hook-up. I will read the newsletter to the class and make copies for everyone to take home.

Sample Student Products:
For a sample of student work, see the class newsletter.

Students will work collaboratively & individually. Students will work in groups of 5.

Time Allotment:
4 class periods. 35 Min. per class.

Author's Comments & Reflections:
I have actually done this lesson with my class and it ran fairly smoothly. I wouldn't change anything for next time.

Instructional Materials:
The only handout that I will give is going to be a white piece of paper with the words "I like this plant because ___________________" written on it. The students will verbally tell me the rest of the sentence and they will draw a picture of their favorite plant above the sentence.

  • The plant observation and drawing parts can be done in the classroom, whole group. I would have to pull one child at a time back to work with me on the classroom computer typing in his/her name and dictating a sentence to me. The rest of the class would have to be working on a different project independently (free play or I could pull kids in from recess one at a time).
  • The number of computers required is 1.
  • Technology resources:
    Internet Explorer, Word, We will need to copy clip art from the internet.
  • Materials and resources:
    eight different plants including four flowering plants, paper, pencil, butcher paper, pen, crayons
  • Students Familiarity with Software Tool:
    Students have had limited exposure to computers (one day/week). They are able to use a mouse to point and click. They would need some assistance finding letters on the keyboard to type in their name.

CA- California K-12 Academic Content Standards
• Subject English Language Arts
• Grade Kindergarten
• Area Written and Oral English Language Conventions
The standards for written and oral English language conventions have been placed between those for writing and for listening and speaking because these conventions are essential to both sets of skills.
• Standard 1.0Written and Oral English Language Conventions
Students write and speak with a command of standard English conventions.
• Concept Sentence Structure
 Benchmark or Example 1.1Recognize and use complete, coherent sentences when speaking.
• Subject Science
• Grade Kindergarten
• Area Life Sciences
• Standard 2Different types of plants and animals inhabit the earth. As a basis for understanding this concept:
 Benchmark or Example aStudents know how to observe and describe similarities and differences in the appearance and behavior of plants and animals (e.g., seed-bearing plants, birds, fish, insects).
 Benchmark or Example cStudents know how to identify major structures of common plants and animals (e.g., stems, leaves, roots, arms, wings, legs).

Assessment Plan:
Student performance will be assessed based on teacher observation, oral response, and sentence dictation. While the students are observing the plants, I will ask questions related to the objectives.