the sunflower

I have become quite partial to sunflowers in the last few years.

Pictures like these sent to me by a friend who grew them in her southern Alberta garden

and painting Mr. Van Gogh sunflowers with grade one kidlets, have given me a renewed appreciation of sunflowers.  Now, if I could just get mine to grow tall and glorious!

Last week the most ginormous sunflower was brought to school.

One morning, E came to school with his dad who was carrying the tallest sunflower I have ever seen.  It was so tall that we had to put it in the highest part of the room.

It was so tall that we had to write a story about it.  E and the Sunflower (rather than Jack and the Beanstalk.

The story (without all the details that the kidlets insisted were necessary goes like this:  Once upon a time A boy named E was going to his friend's house with a pair of froggie slippers.  On the way he met an old lady who traded some magic seeds for the slippers.  E planted the seeds and they grew up to the sky.  Being an adventurous lad, E decided to climb the sunflower. He climbed all the way to the top where he found a castle.  E knocked on the door and a troll answered. E climbed up to the roof and went down the chimney. Inside the castle he saw a prince painting a treasure map.  E grabbed the map, and ran out the castle door, dodging the troll. E found the treasure, and brought it back to the king of the castle who made cookies and shared them with everyone.

The sunflower was so tall that we had to measure it.  It was almost 4 kidlets tall.

A sunflower that tall has a lot of leaves.  We made smart guesses - the biggest guess was 1000!  It was less than 1000 - less than 100, less than 50 - but not by much!  We counted 42 leaves on our sunflower.  That's a lot of photosynthesis happening!

After measuring the sunflower, I removed the head from the stem (I had to bend the stem in half and have part of it sticking out the back window of my car to bring it home to compost!) We are observing like scientists and checking out the head of the sunflower.  The petals and the florets are falling off, leaving the seeds showing.  Right now the seeds are all white and a bit soft.  We wonder if they will turn black and white and hard. 

We want to save the seeds for planting in the spring.  Then the school yard and the town can be full of ginormous sunflowers.



  1. What a fun experience! I love sunflowers but have no where in my garden to grow them. I do love having the kids paint them though.

  2. Omg, how fun! I love sunflowers too, but mine never grow that tall!! We are actually doing Sunflower art this week:)

    Surfin' Through Second

  3. Wow! The kids in your class must be having a blast!!

    Grade ONEderful
    Ruby Slippers Blog Designs

  4. Hi Sandi,
    Great post! My Designated Early Childhood Educator and myself actually brought in some sunflowers (cut at the stem) to decorate our class at the start of this school year and boy, did it spark some interesting conversations! We finished this month with an art connection to Van Gogh also and worked with finepoint pens...they turned out beautifully! I love your connections to measurement and discovery! We also have had them crumble and crisp up in our discovery centre and students have had many theories as to what's happening.
    Thanks for sharing and I enjoy reading your blog!


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