Bridges Grade 1 Advice for Unit 6
You should be close to starting My Little Farm now. Most planning guides show it starting at the beginning of May, but I once started it 1 1/2 weeks into the month and still got it done by the last day (literally).
If you’ve become used to going to the website to find the Unit Materials List, for this unit it is in the book starting on page 782.
On page 784 are complete directions on how to cut and fold the large sheets of paper for the farm. This is a good project for parent helpers. The lines do not have to be perfectly precise. One teacher told me she put masking tape down on a table in a 24" square, marking it off in 3" increments. Then she took a yardstick and marked the papers with a marker.
What do you do with all those 2 ft. X 2 ft. farms? The first year I put them in a big pile. Big mistake. The one a student needed was always on the bottom with the fences squashed in. I thought for a long time about ways to hang them but nothing clicked. Consider this idea. Take oaktag or some sort of heavy paper and cut it into the triangular shape pictured, using a coat hanger to guide you on the size. Only staple or duct tape this triangle to the large farm map on the diagonal edge. You’re going to have to gather up twenty some coat hangers too. I got an old chart stand and found a dozen would hang on it. The rest were hung on all the coat hooks and cupboard door handles throughout the room. I knew a teacher with a wire strung wall-to-wall - she lowered the wire so kids could reach to hang their maps.
Day 1, Preparing the Farm Folders: The first year I used a two-pocket folder to hold all the papers. The next year I stapled two folders together to get four pockets, labeling the contents of each pocket. I still wasn’t happy with the organization. For me, I found the solution to managing all that paper is to have the pages bound into a book. There is not a lot of space to glue money down on the Payment Worksheets without “stacking” the money. In a book you can have the Payment Worksheets on the right hand page with the left hand page blank (back of the printed page before). Then the payment money can be stretched across the page. The pages are in order so the kids can find their place more easily. Don’t bind the fact boxes for the sorting worksheets in the book, as they must be cut up. Here is a PDF showing how I organized my book.
What do You Already Know About Farms? Here’s what my kids came up with.
Days 2, 3, 4, & pigs, chickens, horses, and fences: When you run off these Land-Use Planning Codes, give them to children who finish early and have them color them. Mount on construction paper, laminate and you’ll have them ready for next year! Just don’t forget where you stored them!
Days 4, 7, 11 & 14: Mapping the big map onto a 8 1/2 X 11 paper will be easy for some and quite challenging to others. The one experience that vividly stands out in my mind is the child who had colored in his map exactly reversed from the full-size one. I had quite a time getting him to see how he had gone wrong. There will be mistakes, so have 13/16” squares of white paper cut to use as “Band-Aids”. This makes the mistakes seem less disturbing!
Day 8: Here is the farm quilt my children made the first year. Notice all the comments. I always tried to get something down from every child. Here are three observations. (PC - right click. Mac - Apple click to enlarge.) The next year all three first grades got together and made a giant quilt made with the animal of their choice instead of just sheep. We offered felt and cotton. Children can actually cut felt with their school scissors, with occasional help (not safety scissors though). Felt colors were available in white, brown, tan, gray and yellow. It came out beautifully. Unfortunately, I have no picture of it. If felt seems daunting or expensive, do it with construction paper.
Day 14, Farm Animal Pocket Riddles: This can be tricky. Try writing several as a class first to demonstrate the process. Here’s Haley’s (edited for spelling):
For their meat,
Hooves make glue
other grains, corn
Has something special about it:
Hooves are like 4 toes
Snout is like a shovel always
At the end: Here are two final activities you may choose to do. First is a reflection. I had to work on the wording of the questions, because in my first version almost all children marked the work as “easy”, when in fact it was the way the unit was designed that made it seem easy.
I hope your kids love it as much as my suburb-raised ones did! I have heard that some teachers in “farm country” report that there really aren’t any farms like this anymore!
I hope you feel your class has had a productive, enlightening, and fun year your first time through Bridges. I promise next year will be easier! You’ll get more sessions in, know more ways to make your preparation more efficient, plus you’ll probably find that you feel you are a more effective teacher of mathematics!