Jack's Garden Lesson Plan

Instructor: Maria Airth

Maria has a Doctorate of Education and over 20 years of experience teaching psychology and math related courses at the university level.

In this lesson plan, your class will have discussions and participate in activities related to things that can be found in a garden and learn how gardens grow. ''Jack's Garden,'' by Henry Cole, is the foundation for the discussion and activities.

Learning Objectives

After this lesson, students will be able to:

  • Identify items found in a garden
  • Describe the process by which a garden grows


45-60 minutes. After set-up, the long-term extension activity will take a few minutes a day.

Curriculum Standards


Ask and answer questions about key details in a text.


Retell stories, including key details, and demonstrate understanding of their central message or lesson.


Participate in collaborative conversations with diverse partners about grade 1 topics and texts with peers and adults in small and larger groups.

Vocabulary List

  • Spring
  • Bud
  • Nectar
  • Seedling


  • Jack's Garden by Henry Cole
  • Black card stock paper
  • PVA glue
  • String
  • Large (long) planter's box
  • Soil
  • Flower seeds (for fast-growing and sturdy flowers like Marigolds)
  • Watering can
  • Garden trowels (or spoons)
  • Gloves
  • Clean craft sand
  • Art supplies
  • Small plastic items from the text (or index cards naming the items), one set for each group:
    • Bird
    • Insects
    • Nectar
    • Flower
    • Buds
    • Plant
    • Seedling
    • Rain
    • Seed
    • Soil

Warm-Up and Instructions

  • Call students to the reading area. Discuss:
    • Does anyone have a garden at home?
    • When do gardens grow the best?
    • Who knows what you can find in a garden?
  • Tell the students that today you will be reading a story about Jack who grew his own garden. Ask them to pay attention to all the things that can be found in a garden.
  • Show them the cover and read the title Jack's Garden and the author, Henry Cole.
  • Read the story. As you read, pause to discuss the illustrations (pointing out the names of images shown) on each page. Ask:
    • What can you see in the soil?
    • Why are there straight lines in the soil?
    • Why is rain important?
    • What is a seedling?
    • What is the bird doing?
    • What types of insects can you see?
    • What is a bud? Why are they important?
    • What types of flowers can you see?
    • What is nectar and why do insects sip it?
    • Are birds good for a garden? Why or why not?
    • What do you think of Jack's garden?
  • Finally, have a summary discussion, allowing students to share their favorite illustrations. End the discussion by asking the following question:
    • What do you think the author of this book is trying to tell us?

Activity 1- Recount Activity


  • Items from the book (or index cards naming the items)


  • Divide your class into groups of five.
  • Give each group a small paper bag holding the ten items listed in the story.
  • At a signal, instruct groups to attempt to put the items in the correct order as they are mentioned in the story.
  • If students are having a hard time remembering, re-read the story to them, pausing between pages to give them time to remember the next item in the list.
  • The first group to get their items in the correct order wins.


  • Pile the items in the middle of an open space and arrange student groups equidistant from the pile.
  • At a signal, groups must send one person at a time (relay style) to the pile to collect an item for the list. Each student will end up going to the pile twice.
  • Groups must build the list as they collect the items. The first to complete the list in the correct order wins.

Activity 2 - Craft

Show students the page in the book that shows the soil (that makes up the garden). Have a discussion about all the things they can see in the soil.


  • Black card stock paper
  • PVA glue
  • Craft sand
  • String (cut into 1-2 inch pieces)
  • Art paper
  • Art supplies
  • Tray


  • Set up the tray with sand in a workspace area of the room.

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