This time of the school year always reminds me of the many field trips I chaperoned while teaching kindergarten. The Zoo in Forest Park, Springfield, MA, was always a favorite, with a train ride around the park as our closing activity. We were fortunate to also have a beautiful park close by to our school, Stanley Park in Westfield, MA; a popular mini-trip within walking distance.
The activity I am sharing today is one of 70 mini-lessons presented in the Braidy the StoryBraid® manual that we used when preparing for a farm trip to The Gran-Val Scoop in Granville, MA. As the name implies, the children were able to have a special treat of dairy-farm-made ice cream! Also included is a follow-up activity that we did on our return and a suggested extension activity.
- Read the book Big Red Barn by Margaret Wise Brown for enjoyment.
- After reading the selection, use the Braidy Doll to discuss the Setting: the barn at a farm. Using the book as a guide, talk about the upcoming field trip and ask what we might see on our trip. Have the children Turn and Talk and then make a list with the group.
BEFORE THE TRIP:
Tell the children that we will be making the Setting based upon our story. We will color a “barn” and it will be red, as in the story. Tell them we will also be adding Characters that may live in the barn.
Setting: Give each child an envelope. I was fortunate to have square flap envelopes but you may also cut the point off a pointed-flapped envelope, as shown, if you have trouble finding those.
Demonstrate that they will be drawing the barn…windows, doors, and coloring it. See sample.
Characters: Give each child a sheet with 5 or so farm animals on it. We used the one designed for this activity that was presented in the Braidy manual on page 119, but you may create your own. Cut out the drawings with scissors.
- When completed, have the children share their Characters and Settings with one another. Collect the projects.
AFTER THE TRIP:
Discuss with the children the activities that they did at the farm. Make a class list. Give each child a bead (Braidy Manual, page 141, Attempts, cut-out) and ask them to draw one thing that they did at the farm (fed the goats, talked to the chickens, watched the farmer milk a cow, etc.). Children may label their pictures, with your help, as needed. Using the Braidy Doll, talk about the activities drawn by the children. Return the Character and Setting project and ask the children to take their projects home.
We sent a note along asking adults to talk to their children about the trip: the Characters, the Setting, and what was done at the farm (Actions within the Setting).
FOLLOW-UP EXTENSION, OPTIONAL
- The next day use the “Kick-Off” icon from Braidy and discuss various things that might happen on the farm: for instance: a thunderstorm approaches, a cow gets out of the pasture, or, as one kindergarten student suggested, an animal actually talks to you! You may discuss Feelings related to the Kick-Off. Elaborate on this last suggestion in small group settings, as you wish, based on your students!
As the school year comes to a close, I hope you enjoy your upcoming class field trips as much as I enjoyed mine!
Sheila Zagula works with MindWing Concepts in product development, drawing on her expertise and talents as well as many years of implementing the Story Grammar Marker® and related materials. Her teaching career spans thirty-eight years, most recently as literacy coach in the Westfield Massachusetts Public School System. Sheila has experience as an early childhood educator, a teacher of children with special needs, and a collaborative instructor within an inclusion framework serving children in grades K-5.
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