A Wrap Up of our Term 1 Living Things Unit

I don't know about you - but we had THE BEST time in the Early Years in Term 1. So much learning happened. So many new things, new friends and new experiences.

For a few years now, our key theme for Term 1 is "Living Things" alongside our author study of Eric Carle. Of course we are always evolving, adding, changing and updating our programme, but the overarching theme has remained the same. It's just such a good starting place for the first term of school.

Eric Carle Animal Alphabet flash cards + alphabet pebbles + alphablocks

Way back when I first started blogging in 2014, I did a post about our Eric Carle Author Study (read it here - my how much my blog has changed and evolved since then!). In this post I go through 5 of the key texts which are all about insects/living things in the garden. Today's post is a bit more general and to show you some other things we've been doing (incase you missed them on Instagram).

There is so much scope for early learning with The Very Hungry Caterpillar. In the invitation/provocation pictured below, the children were asked to retell the story by using the pictures, story stones and days of the week blocks (pictures available from Kiz Club). 


At the beginning of the unit, we brainstormed a list of living and non-living things. I turned these into the two posters you can see either side of the mirror for the children to continually refer back to. 


This is our Discovery table, a beautiful feature of our classroom, which is also constantly changing. The moss rocks and circles were from Daiso, bugs, green leaf placemats and hexagon mirror all from Kmart, flat square mirror from IKEA (can't remember where the smaller mirrors were from but they aren't hard to find). Grimm's Moss pebbles and Rainbow Pebbles both from The Creative Toy Shop



Another lovely way to begin this unit is a nature walk to explore your school yard environment or local park to search for living things. Take photographs or document the children's observations. They could even take a clipboard and paper to sketch the things they see. 

One of my favourite Instagrammers Casey from Little Lifelong Learners is also a pro at creating Australian Curriculum unit plans and resources so I tried out the Living Things pack for this term and I was really impressed! There was so much content here so you can pick and choose what suits you and your students. The printables are clear, visually appealing and some are differentiated to suit different learning needs (e.g. some have labels some do not), plus there are other resources such as labels, signs, posters and books. A great blend of worksheets, hands on learning and experiments/investigations. 


I just love any science experiment that involved food colouring (and so do the kids!). The white flowers in coloured water experiment is always a winner... although I must admit that my first attempt didn't quite work successfully (must have been the wrong type of flowers...?). So we tried again and luckily these ones worked much better. It's all part of the learning and experimenting process isn't it?


Planting seeds and watching them grow is also a must with this unit. Cress seeds, grass seeds and beans usually work quite well and don't take too long to sprout. I usually plant them in cotton wool so that the students can see the growth. It's also a great opportunity to learn about procedures, record the steps and also document to growth of the seeds over time. 

For "Show and Tell" midway through the Term, the children needed to share two living and two non-living things with the class. This is what Miss M came up with. 


This is our class tree; one of my favourite things about the classroom, which so far has been the family tree (pictured here) where the children drew their family portraits on the leaves, then it became the Easter tree as a celebration of new life, and currently it's the Autumn tree as we explore the change of the seasons. 




One of the cute new resources I've been using is these memory match wooden disks from My Little Set. This particular garden set comes with two of each picture (20 in total) and the children need to find the matching pairs. We also used to it sort living and non-living things and create all sorts of circle patterns when combined with a variety of other loose parts. 


Last of all, the children were lucky enough to visit a farm on their very first excursion which was another great opportunity to get up close and examine some living things. They got to see pigs, sheep and chickens as well as wander through the orchard and vegetable gardens. Miss M's super talented teacher created a farm invitation to play on our tuff tray. She used oats, brown rice and hay with some cute farm animals and labels. The kids absolutely loved it!


There is so much more I could talk about, and even some ideas and plans that I just didn't have time to fit in! Looking forward to sharing more about where we are heading next term!

Lauren xx

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