Down on the Farm
Here are suggested books and website links, along with songs, poems, and activities I've used in my classroom. Feel free to use anything you find on this page in your own class, and please be sure to put the author's name on any poems or songs that you reproduce. If you have any terrific songs, poems, or website links, send them to me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I'll add them.
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Down on the Farm
I usually do a Farm unit during the month of September, which is when the Kern County Fair comes to town for 3 weeks. My students always love taking a field trip to see and touch the animals. Although Bakersfield is still an agricultural community, many of my students live in apartments or suburban houses, and have never seen anything from the local farms up close. They're fascinated by the many fruits and vegetables on display, especially the huge ones, and get very excited to learn that so many foods are grown here, along with cotton.
A local source for great information is the Kern County Farm Bureau, a chapter of the American Farm Bureau Federation. They sponsor Farm Day in the City for students, and Teacher's Agriculture Seminars and workshops in the summer, with tons of free materials. Their website has a Directory of Agriculture Related Websites, many offering freebies for teachers. You probably have something similar in your area, so be sure to check around. These associations are always happy to send a free speaker to your classroom, often with farm animals and/or equipment to show to the kids.
Many teachers integrate their unit on plants and gardens into their farm theme, as they work well together. I prefer to teach the Farm in the Fall, and do a gardening unit in the Spring, after we return from our break. If you'd like some fun ideas for your plants and gardening unit, be sure to visit my page called Come Into Our Garden. It's still under construction, but will be ready soon.
Have fun on the farm!
Take Me Out to the Barnyard
(tune: Take Me Out to the Ballgame)
by Judy Hall
Take me out to the barnyard.
Take me out there right now.
Show me the cows, pigs and horses, too.
I hear an oink and a neigh and a moo.
There are chickens laying their eggs.
If they don't lay it's a shame.
Oh, it's one, two, three eggs today,
And I'm glad I came.
(tune: Wheels on the Bus)
By John Saltsman
The cows in the barn go moo, moo,
Moo, moo, moo -- moo, moo, moo.
The cows in the barn go moo, moo, moo,
All around the farm.
... pigs in the pen go oink, oink, oink
... hens in the coop go cluck, cluck, cluck
... rooster on the fence goes cock-a-doodle-do
... ducks in the pond go quack, quack, quack
... lambs on the hill go baa, baa, baa
... bunnies in the hutch go (silently wiggle nose with finger)
Pocket Chart Activities
As everyone knows, I LOVE pocket charts and have 6 to
10 going at any
given time in my classroom. Don't forget to visit my Pocket Charts Page when you've finished exploring the farm. Many of our pocket chart poems are made into class Big Books. I usually make copies of each pocket chart poem for my student's poetry journals, and also write them on a half sheet of poster board to put in my Song & Poetry Center, so the children have MANY opportunities to interact with the text. All of my students love to read our farm unit poems.
Because I do my farm unit at the beginning of the year,
when the students are learning to read each others' names, I do a lot of
name poem innovations, many of which are below. Here are just a few
of the things I do with pocket charts during our Down on the Farm
Who Lives On a Farm?
By Victoria Smith
I use Ellison die cuts for the animals and for
the word "farm" in this activity.
The farm is represented by a red barn. I also make individual student books
of this story, from sentence strips with the shapes glued on. This is an outstanding
activity for teaching children tracking and one-to-one correspondance.
Make the following sentence on a sentence strip, leaving a space to place an animal die cut,
and room for the red barn at the end. I make a matching set of strips and cut them apart,
so my students can match text in the pocket chart, or take words to their desks for writing.
A _____ lives on a (barn diecut goes here).
animals I use include pig, cow,
lamb, horse, dog, cat, mouse,
duck, hen, rooster, rabbit, frog, and fish
The Giving Farm
By Vicki Witcher
Hens give eggs.
Pigs give ham.
Cows give milk.
Strawberries give jam.
Bees give honey.
Goats give cheese.
Farms give food,
I'd like some, please.
Good Morning Farm Song
Good morning to the rooster,
Good morning to the cows,
Good morning to the piggies in the pen.
Good morning to the sheep,
Good morning to the horses,
Good morning to the farmer and the hens.
Here's the tune, for those of you who can make
It's not perfect, but it's close. Try it and then do it your way :)
Nursery Rhyme Innovations
Kids love putting their names -- and each others'
-- in the pocket chart.
Write each student's name on 1 or 2 cards for these activities,
and also have both "his" and "her" cards available.
(Child's name) has lost her/his
And doesn't know where to find them.
Just leave them alone
And they will come home,
Dragging their tails behind them.
(Child's name) had a little
(Child's name) had a little lamb,
Its fleece was white as snow.
name) quite contrary
How does your garden grow?
With silver bells and cockled shells
And little maids all in a row.
Round and round the haystack
Went (Child's name) the mouse.
In his/her little house.
I also use One,
Two, Buckle My Shoe
in the pocket chart during the farm unit.
It helps my students learn to read number words,
and it even has a big fat hen in it!
Creative Teaching Press and Scholastic both have wonderful,
ready-made interactive pocket chart sets with farm and animal themes.
You can find them at your local teacher supply store,
and you can also order Scholastic's pocket chart sets from Amazon.com ...
just click on the links below:
Interactive Farm Animals Pocket Chart Set from Scholastic
Interactive Pocket Chart Set from Scholastic
And don't forget to make a pocket chart and big book innovation
Red Barn, Red Barn, What Do You See?
using all the colors, animals, and foods from the farm!
Five Cows All Black and White
(Tune: 5 Little Speckled Frogs)
Five cows all black and white
Chewed their cud from day to night
So they could give milk sweet and pure.
One left the barn one day
So she could find more hay
Then there were 4 cows all black and white.
Ten Clean Squeaky Pigs
Ten pigs so squeaky clean
Cleanest pigs you've ever seen!
Wanted to go outside and play
One jumped into the mud
Landed with a great big THUD! (slap thighs)
Then there were nine clean squeaky pigs.
5 White and Fluffy Sheep
Five white and fluffy sheep
In the pasture fast asleep
Their wool kept them cozy all night long.
The farmed slipped away with one
And sheared the wool till he was done
Then there were 4 white fluffy sheep.
All three of these songs make terrific big
with student made art! Don't forget to
add the math sentences to each page,
i.e., 5 - 1 = 4
* scroll down for more songs, poems,
activities, and links *
My Favorite Farm Books
First, a few old favorites.
We ALWAYS start the farm with
Mrs. Wishy Washy, from The Wright Group. The kids love the language,
and it's a great book for teaching CAP (Concepts About Print). I have some
simple props so the kids can act out the story during Literacy Centers,
and I also have puppets and felt board figures for them to use.
Two other must-have books from The
Wright Group are Duck and Hen
and The Little Yellow Chicken. The Little Yellow Chicken is
The Little Red Hen's Grandson, and of course his friends don't want to
help him give a party, they just want to come in and eat all the food.
When he calls his grandmother for advice, she says "Don't let them in!"
The kids love it :) We contrast this story with The Little Red Hen,
using Venn Diagrams, charts, and role playing. I have about a dozen
different versions of The Little Red Hen.
The Little Red Hen
hardcover edition, under $7
The Little Red Hen
paperback, Puffin Easy to Read Series
The Little Red Hen
Scholastic Easy to Read
We also enjoy the various versions of Chicken
and it's a good Autumn book. Here are a couple of our favorites:
Illustrated by Steven Kellog
Also available as a book and tape set.
Illustrated by Laura Rader
hardcover, under $7
Be sure to check out Little
a fun twist on Chicken Little
Another all-time favorite is Old
MacDonald Had a Farm.
Most of the children know the song, and we make up our own innovations.
I have over two dozen Old MacDonald books, all different.
The kids love to compare the stories, the language, and the pictures,
leading to natural discussions about art and illustrations.
Here are links to several available through Amazon.com:
Illustrated by Carol Jones
with special peep holes in the pages
Illustrated by Rosemary Wells
a wonderful board book for small hands
Yolen's Old Mac Donald Songbook
Yolen delivers a lively collection of 43 songs featuring animals from the farm.
A combination of the fantastic and the real, the barnyard creatures dance across pages decorated with patterned borders. A must-have book for teachers!
Illustrated by Jessica Souhami
a gorgeous lift the flap book!
Illustrated by Pam Adams
one of my students' favorite books
with cut outs on each page
also check out her version of
There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly
Old MacDonald Had an Apartment House
Old MacDonald had a farm in an apartment house in the middle of the city.
As the tenants move out, Old MacDonald--the building's Super--moves vegetables and farm animals into the empty rooms. The farm grows by bushels and everything is fine-- until the day the owner comes by to collect the rent.
Alphabet Farm Song
(Tune: Old MacDonald Had a Farm)
Mrs. _______ had a farm
A B C D E
Letters, letters in the hay
F G H I J
With a K L M,
N O P
Pigs and ducks and bumblebees..
Q R S T
U and V
W X Y Z
We always enjoy singing Down
on Grandpa's Farm. I have it in the
pocket chart, with clip art pictures and matching text,
and also make a simple big book that is nothing more than colored
Ellison diecut animals, one per page. The kids turn the pages and sing
about the animal, while learning their colors ... for example,
Down on Grandpa's farm there is a yellow duck ...
This is a year-round favorite with my kinderkids and first graders.
More Favorite Farm Stories
On Grandpa's Farm, by Vivian Sathre
A beautiful story filled with wonderful language.
Farming, by Gail Gibbons
a great introduction to the farm
Rosie's Walk, by Pat Hutchins
teaches prepositions ... over, under, around, etc.
choose from paperback or hardcover
both under $5
Rooster's Off to See the World, by Eric Carle
a great introduction to simple addition, subtraction, and sets
hardcover, approx. $4
Wake Up, Sun!
A Step Into Reading book
The Carrot Seed, by Ruth Kraus
kids love this simple story!
The Enormous Potato, by Aubrey Davis
a new twist on the giant turnip folktale
Chickens Aren't the Only Ones
a beautiful and simple book about oviparous animals
Here's a poem about oviparous animals
that we really enjoy. I use it when we study the farm,
and again in the Spring, when we study insects and other
Lots of animals come from eggs
Some with fins
And some with legs
Some that chatter
And some that cheep
Some that fly
And some that creep
Some that slither
And some that run
Some with feathers
And some with none
Animal eggs can be quite small
Or just as big as a tennis ball
The animals here
They're quite a few
Hatch from eggs
And lay them, too.
The Chicken Sisters, by Laura Numeroff
the Big Bad Wolf isn't prepared for the Chicken Sisters!
The Cow That Went OINK
a silly story that my class loves!
also available as a Big Book
The Milk Makers, by Gail Gibbons
many classes invite a dairy farmer to bring a cow to school
as a follow up to this book
A Reading Rainbow Selection, under $5
Milk ~ From Cow to Carton, by Aliki
A Let's-Read-and-Find-Out Book
Making your own butter is a fun activity.
Collect small babyfood jars, fill them halfway with heavy cream
(also called whipping cream), then shake and roll them till
the butter thickens. Here's a fun chant, that can also
be sung to the tune of Twinkle, Twinkle:
Making Butter Boogie
Shake it up
Shake it down
Shake it, shake it all around.
Shake it high
Shake it low
Shake it, shake it to and fro.
Shake it over
Shake it under
Pretty soon, you'll have butter!
I bring in my bread machine and bake bread
the same day we make butter. Measuring ingredients
is a good math lesson and a great hands-on activity for the kids.
Borrow extra bread machines if you can.
Hooray for Farming! Series
beautiful books with full color photos!
Hooray for Dairy Farming!
Hooray for Sheep Farming!
Hooray for Orchards!
Hooray for Beekeeping!
Big Red Barn, by Margaret Wise Brown
also available as a big book and a book and tape set
Barn Dance, by John Archambault
A Reading Rainbow Selection
Arthur on the Farm
A Chunky Flap Book, 20 pages
During the 3 or 4 weeks that we study the farm, I also slip in some fun books that have farm animals as their main characters, but aren't actually about living on a farm. Our class favorites are all the adaptations of the Three Little Pigs, along with some other fun pig books.
If You Give A Pig a Pancake, by Laura Numeroff
Pigs, by Robert Munsch
a typically wild Munsch read-aloud
wherein the pigs pee in the principal's shoe
lots of fun and under $5
The Three Little Javelinas
a Southwestern flavored tale
with a fourth pig sister
a Reading Rainbow selection
The Fourth Little Pig
a rhyming tale with the Three Little Pigs' sister
helping them overcome their fear of the Big Bad Wolf
The Three Little Wolves and the Big Bad Pig
a fun twist on the traditional tale
where everyone lives happily everafter
The True Story of the 3 Little Pigs!
the wolf insists he's innocent
one of our favorite stories year after year
Of course, you'll also use the poem This Little Piggy
in your pocket chart and make a class book from it, too.
Here's an adaptation the kids love:
Little piggy (child's name)
went to market.
Little piggy (child's name) stayed home.
Little piggy (child's name) had roast beef.
Little piggy (child's name) had none.
And little piggy (child's name) went
"Wee, wee, wee!" all the way home!
Easy Farm Games
My class likes to play The Farmer
in the Dell
and Duck Duck Goose.
We also do relay races carrying
eggs on spoons
(I use plastic eggs for less mess).
Bean bag relays and bean bag toss
games are also fun ...
try tossing beanbags in a milking pail. Let your students
wear cowboy bandanas for extra pizazz!
My Favorite Down on the Farm Links
an incredible interactive website ~ don't miss it!
Vig's Farm Page
super suggestions and great links
download free software to make a fun farm with your students
an integrated early childhood thematic unit
animal sounds, mazes, coloring page, virtual postcards
Unit for Grades K-1
great links and lesson plans
Fun at the Farm
Kindergarten Kafe Farm & Harvest Unit
The Barnyard Buddies Color Me Pages
a must-see site!
on the Farm Unit
activities to go with Mrs. Wishy Washy, The Farm Concert,
Yes, Ma'am, and Mud Soup
from North Canton City Schools
Looking for more ideas?
My bookstore pages have lots of information on how I use various materials in my classroom, and on activities you can do with your students. The thematic pages are complete unit resources, with lots of poems, songs, and links on each page. Make yourself comfortable and take a look around!
Choose from the categories below.
Underlined subjects are links, the other ones are coming soon!
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