Learn and Grow with Seeds Move! by Robin Page
Written and Illustrated by Robin Page
Published in 2019 by Beach Lane Books
Seed dispersal is the topic of collage artist Robin Page’s latest nonfiction picture book. Page employs specific and interesting verbs to describe the many ways that seeds travel away from a parent plant toward an ideal spot for germination. The primary text consist of of simple sentences, for example: “ A seed shoots. / A seed catapults.” A detailed secondary text elaborates on the movements, offering clearly written explanations for how this mode of travel results in plant reproduction. Page’s collage illustrations are compelling, offering rich textures and featuring each plant species in the context of its habitat. This engaging book concludes with a prompt for readers to consider human roles in seed dispersal. Versatile for use throughout the seasons, this teaching tool plants the seeds for important classroom conversations about nature, interdependence, and the importance of conservation.
Teaching Ideas: Invitations for Your Classroom
Move Like a Seed. Seeds Move! is a wonderful invitation to incorporate movement into a read aloud experience. Ask your students to demonstrate the motions described in the text and then plan and carry out a dramatic reading with accompanying movement to perform for a neighboring class or caregiver group. As an extension, read Move! By Steve Jenkins and ask your students to compare animal and seed movements.
Pocket Chart Matching. Use the websites below to find and print out images of different types of seeds. Create symbols or use words to represent the different ways that seeds travel: wind, water, animals, people. Place the seed images and methods of travel cards in a pocket chart and invite your students to match each seed up to a method of travel. Ask students to talk about how the characteristics of the seed (shape, size, texture) provide clues as to how they are likely to travel. (This teaching invitation originally appeared in our entry for Planting the Wild Garden)
Duet Model Reading: The Role of Plants in an Ecosystem. Pair a reading of Seeds Move! with Molly Bang and Penny Chisholm’s Living Sunlight: How Plants Bring the Earth to Life. This beautiful and informative picture book describes the process of photosynthesis and provides context for this process with a framework that emphasizes the interdependence of all living things. After providing lots of time for students to make connections between these two books and to discuss their understandings of these relationships and processes, invite your students to respond to the books by creating art – how do the illustrations in these two informative picture books inspire them to express their learning visually?
A Multimodal Seeds Text Set. Offer students a multimodal experience with seed locomotion by reading Seeds Move! and showing video clips that demonstrate seed dispersal (see the Further Explorations below for some suggested clips). After watching several of these videos, ask your students to plan and create a short video clip that features the seed dispersal of several plant species that grow naturally in your area.
Seed Locomotion Text Set: Word Choice in Nonfiction. Read Seeds Move! along with two additional nonfiction picture books that explore how seeds travel and grow. Melissa Stewart’s A Seed is the Start is a photo essay that offers an overview of plant life cycles and multiple examples of how seeds travel before germinating. As in Seeds Move!, lively verbs are used to describe seed locomotion. Dianna Aston Hutts’s poetic A Seed is Sleepy takes a related but different approach. Hutts employs adjectives to describe both seeds’ characteristics and locomotion. Invite your students to compare and contrast these three texts, in particular, noting how the authors’ word choices help to convey information about seeds.
Author/Illustrator Study. Conduct an author/illustrator study of Robin Page, reading across her books to note patterns in content, text structure, and illustrator. Robin’s website is a wonderful resources, including a step by step description of how she composed and illustrated her book A Chicken Followed Me Home. Robin has collaborated with her husband, Steve Jenkins on many additional nonfiction books. Collaborate with your art teacher to offer students a chance to try out Page and Jenkins’s signature collage style. Your students may enjoy seeing the sample images students have mailed to Robin Page that are posted on her website.
Nature Collages. Arrange for students to talk a walk in a local park or nearby conservation area. Provide small bags (preferably paper) so that students can collect items such as leaves, grass, seeds, flowers, sand, pebbles, etc. When you return to the classroom, take some time in small groups to examine the natural materials that have been collected; students could sort by shape color, or size and engage in conversation about sensory information, characteristics and functions. Offer students additional materials, such as color paper, markers, crayons, and paints and invite them to create images that celebrate their recollections of the walk and their relationships with nature.
Gardens: A Text Set. At the conclusion of Seeds Move!, Robin Page invites readers to consider the roles humans play in how seeds travel and grow. Gather together a variety of picture book titles that feature gardens and gardening practices and invite students to consider different kinds of gardens and their purposes. Some titles to start with: And the Good Brown Earth; Up, Down and Around; Planting the Wild Garden, Diana’s White House Garden and It’s Our Garden: From Seeds to Harvest in a School Garden; And Then It’s Spring; and City Green. Construct comparison charts to record student learning across the texts. If you have time, expand your text set to include different types of texts related to gardening, such as magazines, informational brochures, plant and seed catalogues, and nonfiction gardening books. (This teaching invitation originally appeared in our entry for Diana’s White House Garden)
Seed Banks. Share this National Geographic article with your students – the article describes a researcher who creates art from photographs of seeds stored in food banks across the globe. Consider why it is important to save seeds and conduct further inquiry into the impact of climate change and GMOs. Explore the concept of sustainable agriculture and seek out a speaker from your local conservation commission to visit your class.
Ayres, K. (2007). Up, down, and around. Ill. by N.B. Wescott. Somerville, MA: Candlewick Press.
Bang, M., & Chisholm, P. (2009). Living sunlight: How plants bring the Earth to life. Ill. by M. Bang. New York: The Blue Sky Press.
DiSalvo-Ryan, D. (1994). City green. New York: Morrow Junior Books.
Fogliano, J. (2012). And then it’s spring. Ill. by E. Stead. New York: Roaring Brook Press.
Gourley, R. (2011). First garden: The White House garden and how it grew. Boston: Clarion Books.
Henderson, K. (2008). And the good brown earth. Cambridge, MA: Candlewick Press.
Page, R. (2015). A chicken followed me home: Questions and answers about a familiar fowl. New York: Beach Lane Books.
Jenkins, S. (2006). Move! Boston: Houghton Mifflin.
Stewart, M. (2018). A seed is the start. Washington, DC: National Geographic Kids.
About Erika Thulin Dawes
Erika is a professor of language and literacy at Lesley University. A former classroom teacher, reading specialist, and literacy supervisor, she now teaches courses in children’s literature, early literacy, and literacy methods. Erika is the co-author of Learning to Write with Purpose, Teaching with Text Sets, and Teaching to Complexity.
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