Breathing in the Garden

Michelle Krasner, Cris Laurens, Susan Warren, Jamila Smith

K-5 whole school One Book One School project

Who or what brings life to a garden? This is a five month (October, November, January, February, March) collaborative school-wide project, culminating in our One Book One School performance. This ongoing unit will be utilized as one tool to open our school’s outdoor gardens, partnering with Sixth Sun, N.C. State, the United Arts Council, PTA, and the Kohl’s Cares programs, to sustain these efforts. This is a thematic guideline and each grade level will apply the monthly unit to their own common core standards. Let it be noted that all students will participate in these activities throughout the year. We will present our unit to the staff on a workday before school starts and also to the PTA.

Unit Goals: To demonstrate an understanding of living organisms based on content standards via integration with the arts and apply knowledge of living organisms


Book: Butterfly Eyes and Other Secrets of the Meadow
Google Earth
Books to use for research
Examples of Aboriginal art
Flip camera
Additional art supplies as needed


We will be teaching concepts on a monthly basis-1 per month.

Month 1
Essential Question-How can we use technology to deepen our understanding of the world we live in?
Students will explore Google Earth either as a whole class, in partners, or individually, based on grade level. They will explore the different habitats where the plants and animal are found from Butterfly Eyes. Also, students will read and explore the different poems and short stories found in Butterfly Eyes.

Month 2
Essential Question-How can we deepen and strengthen our knowledge of living organisms?
Students will pick a plant or animal found from Butterfly Eyes to research and research their organism. They will research different ways, based on grade level. They can use zentangles, bubble maps, or different concept maps to help.

Month 3
Essential Question-How can we deepen our knowledge of communities and environments through poetry?
Students will create a creative poem about their living organism that they chose to research. It can range from shape poem to haiku to free form.

Month 4
Essential Question- How can we deepen our knowledge of communities and environments through art?
Students will study aboriginal art form and/or scratchboard art form (Beth Krommes) and look at different aboriginal/scratchboard art pieces. They can have a gallery walk of pieces and have an art critique discussion. They will then create their own aboriginal art piece based on the organism they studied.

Month 5
Essential Question- How can we deepen our knowledge of communities and environments through dance, music, and drama?
Students will pick a different art form to create based on the organism they studied; either a dance, song, or drama piece. Some ideas are create a dance piece that shows their organism from beginning, middle, end (life of a plant or action of an animal) or a pantomime action to music of their organism.

Differentiation Approaches

1. Modeling
2. Partner/group work
3. Have premade worksheets
4. Record book and put on CD
5. Videos


1. KWL chart and rubric for the research
2. Checklist for art piece
3. Checklist for poem
*checklists and rubrics can be student generated
4. Informances monthly
5. Culminating performance in March
6. Student reporters highlighted on WRTZ from each grade level
7. Student portfolio of all work (to be used toward future grants)(ask Shari/Stacey)

Follow Up and Extension Ideas

Field trips
Technology (ex. Type their research using Kidpix)
Informance in classroom (invite parents, vertical across grade level)
IBIS performance (all of school)

Additional Details

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