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Wiggling into Spring with Kindergarten

When your middle school opens up a worm farm you have to take advantage of it! Right? So.... of course I did. For the first day of this project Kindergarten students spent the day drawing from observation. I mean drawing real live worms from observation. Have I gone completely crazy!!! Did I mention I am not the biggest fan of creatures that don't have legs? Luckily I did not have to touch any and the middle school students were kind enough to put them in the petri dish. I had two petri dishes at each table and each dish had two wiggly live worms in it for the kids to observe. On the first day I instructed the students to draw two long worms that are not yet wiggly and just observe the colors they see on the worms. Students used pencils to sketch and crayons to add color. Then I had students stop and take some time to really observe the worms and draw two more worms as close as they could to what they saw. As you can imagine some of the completed drawings were pretty entertaining. But the kids loved getting to have worms in the classroom and how many times can an art teacher say they have warms in their refrigerator?

At the beginning of the first day I also shared some fun facts about worms with them and during work time I read them a book all about worms. For the last step students had to cut out their worms and place them in their table folders for next time.

On the second day of this project I did a read out loud of Up in the Garden and Down in the Earth.

I love this book not just for the amazing illustrations but because it goes through all the seasons sharing what is going on in the dirt. After the story we talk about gardens. I had students share what they plant in their gardens or what they would like to plant if they had a garden. Kindergarteners always have such great responses such as "we grow sandwiches in our garden". After the story students get to paint a picture of a garden it can be a flower garden, or vegetable garden, or both if they want. We start by taking Jack Richeson's Semi-Moist tempera cakes and make a brown line in the middle of our 12X18 paper. Then students can add plants on the top and what is going on in the dirt undertnieth. Students like to add lots of little details like bugs and other creepy crawlies.

On the last day of this project I pre-cut some vertical slits into the dirt part of each of their paintings. Students added a few more details to their gardens with oil pastels. Then students used their long warms to weave them into the dirt going over and under the slits I pre-cut. They then glued on their other warms. This was such a fun project and the final product was too cute. Students had a lot of fun coming up with what they wanted to plant in their garden and could not get over how fun the worms were to watch. What a perfect way to kick off spring. And I got away with not having to touch one single worm WIN!!!!

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