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Discovering Fall In The Florida Classroom

Updated on September 29, 2012

There Once Was A Florida Palm Tree ...

Post thematic fall writing such as poems on classroom walls to enhance the learning experience
Post thematic fall writing such as poems on classroom walls to enhance the learning experience

Great Children's Books On Fall

Teaching Fall in Florida Classrooms

Being from the Midwest, my favorite time of year is the fall. I love the change of leaves from green to red, orange, yellow, and even brown. There's nothing like a walk through the woods to enjoy the cooler weather and feel the crunch of leaves beneath your feet as you walk.

As a teacher, I often wonder why we rush the curriculum through this season. Too quickly, we transfer our classroom curriculum from Halloween to Thanksgiving. Important as the autumn holidays are, children lose the opportunity to learn about fall through science, art, literature, dramatic play and writing activities if we ignore seasonal changes. And, if you live in Florida your first hand knowledge of the season is quite limited, but fall changes do exist.

I have posted a photo of a poem a creative early childhood teacher in western Florida wrote and hung on her preschool classroom wall It reads as follows:

"There once was a palm tree who grew very tall.

It lived in the South in a Florida fall.

The leaves never changed the color always green.

But it wanted to move north to change colors of a dream.

Northern trees change colors, the tree had been told, of stories from birds escaping the cold.

Colors the palm tree desired were yellow, orange, and red but without any legs the palm tree stayed green instead"

The children loved reciting this poem in morning circle because they could relate to the desire of wanting to see the northern colors of fall.

Signs Of Fall In Florida

It may not seen evident to many, but Florida does have some changes that indicate the cooler temperatures are around the corner. Here are just a few that teachers can discuss in class.

  • The humidity is lower during this season.
  • The Sweetgum tree turns shades of orange, red and yellow.
  • The Hickory Ash tree will display yellow leaves.
  • The American kestral, a hawk-like bird, returns to Florida.
  • The migratory flight of the Sandhill crane is noticed as they call to one another overhead.
  • The grass does not grow as quickly and the lawnmower is used less.

source: news.ufl.edu, 1996

Bringing It All Together In The Classroom

Creating a thematic content for learning is fun and rewarding for the teacher, child, and parent. A fall classroom can enhance curriculum and engage children in creative fun learning activities . Here are some ideas:

  • Turn your dramatic play area into an outdoor farm market. Have small pumpkins, indian corn, squash of different variety in baskets for purchase. Set up a cash register and have cloth bags or baskets for shoppers. Provide a pitcher and glasses for pretend apple cider samples
  • In your science/math area display colorful leaf cutouts (or have your northern friends send a variety of real leaves of color and different types). Provide small magnifying glasses for observation. You can also have them make a chart on leaf colors and types.
  • To encourage a love of reading, have colorful leaf posters on the wall and set out straw bales for sitting (Yes, this is messy but fun for the children). There are so many wonderful children's books on the season. Ask parents to lend books from home or donate new ones. Include colorful picture books from the library on trees in your center.
  • The art crafts are endless and vary from simple leaf rubbings to collage activities which build fine motor skills and artistic expression. Glue apple or pumpkin seeds on the letter of the week (A or P would be great for this activity).
  • At snack time, set the tables with vinyl leaf patterned tablecloths. Serve apple cider, apple slices, pumpkin seeds, or zucchini sticks with a honey dip. Talk about how these foods are part of the fall harvest and the healthy benefits they give our bodies.

Extend the learning outside the classroom, take a walk and point out how the Florida foliage and flowers have changed. Discuss the difference in temperature and how the sun is setting earlier. (Believe it or not, sweaters and are worn in Florida in the fall!)

Involve parents as well in the learning process. Send home "Fall Book Bags" complete with a book, coloring page, a simple fall math (i.e., count small pumpkin erasers and chart the results) or art project. Suggest parent and child do some research on the computer for fall colors, trees that change color, fall clothing or weather patterns. This will build classroom community and strengthen family involvement.

I hope you agree that teaching fall in a Florida classroom can be exciting!


The Migratory Sandhill Crane Signals Fall In Florida

These birds are frequent visitors to our front yard.  They stroll the neighborhood throughout the day.
These birds are frequent visitors to our front yard. They stroll the neighborhood throughout the day.

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    • teaches12345 profile image
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      Dianna Mendez 5 years ago

      Peggy, I can't thank you enough for stopping by this hub. Yes, fall in the south is quite different but we can still have fun teaching about it. Enjoy your evening, dear lady.

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 5 years ago from Houston, Texas

      I well remember the beautiful Fall colors up north. We have some trees in Houston that turn colors and they are welcomed. We also enjoy lower humidity and the grass starts slowing down its growth as in Florida. The cooler temperatures are a welcomed change. It sounds like you make the most of this season with your students. Voted up!

    • teaches12345 profile image
      Author

      Dianna Mendez 5 years ago

      Lady wolfs, thank you for your support of this hub. Florida lacks the color change up north but we have great weather in return. I too enjoy the winter season here over other US areas. :)

    • profile image

      Lady Wolfs 5 years ago

      Very creative ideas for teaching children about fall in Florida. Many in the south really have no idea what the four seasons are like. My children when growing up were fortunate that I was able to bring them out-of-state to experience different seasons.

      I always loved fall and the colorful leaves, but still find Florida enjoyable during the fall and winter months. You are right, we still get cooler temperatures here. Great idea with the Palm tree. Nice hub.

      Voted up, interesting, and useful!

    • teaches12345 profile image
      Author

      Dianna Mendez 5 years ago

      I miss crunching leaves and wearing sweaters in the fall. Millionaire, we don't have the seasons, but we still enjoy the cooler temperatures until about the middle of May. Guess the sunshine here is compromise! Thanks for the visit here and for reflecting on the topic. Have a great week.

    • Millionaire Tips profile image

      Shasta Matova 5 years ago from USA

      These are wonderful ideas - I am sure the children would appreciate them even more with food involved. I really hadn't thought about the fact that people in Florida wouldn't get to enjoy the fall season like we do here. I really enjoy crunching through the leaves, and will appreciate it even more now.

    • teaches12345 profile image
      Author

      Dianna Mendez 5 years ago

      Oh, that is a great idea Rtalloni! Kids say the cutest things and from a perspective we never would consider. Thanks for the visit and comment. Take care.

    • RTalloni profile image

      RTalloni 5 years ago from the short journey

      Very nice classroom ideas for the fall season--Florida is home to me, but it's been quite lovely to learn about and enjoy the seasons here in the frigid Carolinas. :)

      Maybe we'll see a hub with quotes from Florida kids on the fall season--hint, hint. :)

    • teaches12345 profile image
      Author

      Dianna Mendez 5 years ago

      Hey, alocsin, it's always good to see you stop in. I appreciate your vote of support and glad you got something from it.

    • alocsin profile image

      alocsin 5 years ago from Orange County, CA

      Some great ideas. I like the market one the best. Voting this Up and Useful.

    • teaches12345 profile image
      Author

      Dianna Mendez 5 years ago

      I think Florida is almost an island to itself with the diverse culture and sunny climate. It misses out on the wonderful seasons so we have to improvise our teaching methods so children can learn and at least have an idea of what it is to live where the leaves turn color. Thanks for your comments and support. Blessings.

    • frogyfish profile image

      frogyfish 5 years ago from Central United States of America

      You sound like a warmly caring, efficient teacher, so thank you already for that!!

      I lived in panhandle Florida as a teen, moving there from New Mexico, and it was a different world to perceive! Really enjoyed your info and tips about your teaching styles, thank you!

    • teaches12345 profile image
      Author

      Dianna Mendez 5 years ago

      Habee, thanks for the support. Yes, creativity is the key to a successful learning environment -- even for adults. Movie Master, Thank you also for your kind comment. Best wishes on your teaching adventures with your grandchildren!

    • Movie Master profile image

      Movie Master 5 years ago from United Kingdom

      I wish you had been my teacher, your classroom sounds like learning made fun!

      Some wonderful ideas here I shall enjoy with my grandchildren, thank you for sharing and voted up.

    • habee profile image

      Holle Abee 5 years ago from Georgia

      Awesome ideas! As a fellow teacher (retired), I wish more teachers used creative teaching methods. Voted up!

    • teaches12345 profile image
      Author

      Dianna Mendez 5 years ago

      Vellur, the more variety in teaching styles - the more children will learn. Thanks for reading the hub!

    • Vellur profile image

      Nithya Venkat 5 years ago from Dubai

      Wonderful ideas to teach. This way students will be more involved in the learning process and understand the concept very well. Very interesting and useful. Voted up.

    • teaches12345 profile image
      Author

      Dianna Mendez 5 years ago

      I have to chuckle at your comment, bruzzbuzz. I love children but you are so right, preschoolers are a handful. I applaud you for teaching those challenging middle and high schoolers!

    • bruzzbuzz profile image

      bruzzbuzz 5 years ago from Texas , USA

      I have taught for 31 years, mostly in middle and high school. I have to admit, I would be terrified to teach pre-schoolers. They are just too energetic for me. I applaud you. Great hub. Voted up!

    • teaches12345 profile image
      Author

      Dianna Mendez 6 years ago

      Formosangirl, thanks for your thoughts. I never knew there were maple trees in CA. That would be a great avenue in teaching fall to CA children. Yes, in between we have opportunity to lead up to Thanksgiving.

    • formosangirl profile image

      formosangirl 6 years ago from Los Angeles

      It is true that the kids do not talk about Fall, especially in CA. Some streets have maple trees, but you may never go to those neighborhoods to see the trees defoliate. Quickly it goes from Halloween to Thanksgiving. Turkey and thankfulness are big topics.

    • Storytellersrus profile image

      Barbara 6 years ago from Stepping past clutter

      I am also from the midwest originally, but moved to Colorado. I have never had a Fall without changing colors and found this revelation fascinating. The poem reflects a longing I have never known. What a great concept. And congratulations for being such an advocate for education, targeting your curriculum to the needs of your students! Voted up and useful.

    • lcbenefield profile image

      lcbenefield 6 years ago from Georgia

      Welcome to hubpages. I voted this hub up. It sounds like your students are very fortunate to have you as their teacher.

    • teaches12345 profile image
      Author

      Dianna Mendez 6 years ago

      Rebeccamealey, snow and fall colors are strange to southern children. It is too bad they cannot experience the fun of snowballs and playing in piles of leaves. However, the ice and winter chill are probably ok to not experience!

    • rebeccamealey profile image

      Rebecca Mealey 6 years ago from Northeastern Georgia, USA

      Great Hub! I use to teach primary kids. It is a challenge when we teach in different areas. I taught Kindergarten in Savannah GA. I remember once seeing a question on a standardized test that involved a reading passage about snow and sledding. The poor kids had no idea what a sled was!