Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Weeds or Wishes?

This time of year, I always have my dandelion activities ready to go for the perfect moment. It really isn't something you can plan down to the day because you do need a few things: a sunny day, an unmowed lawn, a little free time. I plan for it in "early May." That's the best I can do.  Today was the day!

I love spur the moment fun with the kids. They remember that, too. I cannot imagine the teachers who have to teach by the MINUTE for Common Core Modules.  That just makes me sad for teaching, and even more sad for the children who miss out on the magic of the moment.

We had a great time. I was hoping all morning that the custodians wouldn't mow before we got outside.  They started weed-wacking, and I wanted to run out there waving my arms- but luckily, they must have just sensed that I needed those dandelions today, and stopped after the weed wacking.

We started off our day reading The Big Wish by Carolyn Conahan. I found this book last year and was so happy that I did.  It is a great writing prompt, and perfect for this lesson.
From Amazon:
A yard full of dandelions, one small girl who believes in the power of a wish, and a world record, just waiting to be made!

When Molly's neighbor, Pie, tries to mow down her dandelions, Molly insists that dandelions aren't weeds—they're wishes in the making! Molly is convinced that if she grows enough dandelions she can make the world's biggest wish ever, a world record! Pie has a few ideas about what she should wish for, and soon, everyone in town is coming up with wishes. They've asked Molly to choose the very biggest wish for the world record, but it won't be easy for her to decide. With a light touch and whimsical style, this inviting picture book tugs at the heartstrings and reminds us all of what is most important in life.

After we read the story and turned and talked about some of our own wishes, we wrote and drew what we would wish for if we had a wish puff.

 I wish for a backhoe.

 I wish for the world to be a tootsie roll and I wish for the water to be a milkshake.
 (I love how she spelled "unicorn.")
 I wish for a monster truck because monster trucks are awesome.

I just used a blank writing paper with a picture box. I had the children write "I wish for" to begin their sentence.   All Kids Network has some great, free primary paper you can use.

After the children wrote, illustrated, and shared their wishes, we went outside for some dandelion math. 

 The children had to pick 10 dandelions and line them up on the blacktop in the groups of ten. Then, when time was up, we had to count them by tens to see how many we could pick! 

In about ten minutes, we picked... drumroll... 600 dandelions! (We had 560, and the kids wanted 600, so they made it happen!)

Later in the day, we read Dandelion by Don Freeman.
This is always a great book to help children remember that it is best to be exactly who you are.
We illustrated this poem below, and had  great conversations about the way the dandelion is described as a real lion. It's a great poem for description. I guess it is called  "animalification" since it is sort of like personification but with an animal, right?  Urban Dictionary says that is a real thing.  Is Urban Dictionary really even a real thing?  Oh well- the poem compares dandelions to lions, and the children thought it was fun. That's all that really matters, I guess.

Here is a copy of the poem if you would like it.  Just click on the picture below.

Last year, I made this  bulletin board. The saying was, "You can either see a hundred weeds or a hundred wishes."  I always want to see the wishes.


  1. I love dandelion puffs and the magic they bring to our hopes and wishes. Have you seen the pin of the glass jar full of dandelion puffs? It's so wonderful and I'm waiting for our dandelions to turn to puffs so I can collect some for our own jar! Loved this post! Wonderful AGAIN!

  2. This is an absolutely wonderful post, and who says it's not loaded with content that could easily be integrated into Common Core reading, writing, and math?! Very impressive, and thanks so much for sharing. I have no doubt your kiddos will remember this day, as well as how much you care about them…and the passion for your field.


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