Garden-Based Learning: Engaging Students in Their Environment

I ran across this combing my e-mail. Great resources! Makes me want to go to Vegas just visit this school’s garden!

From fairy gardens to garden towers, Walter Bracken STEAM Academy transformed its school grounds into a student-centered, garden-learning wonderland.

Source: Garden-Based Learning: Engaging Students in Their Environment


Find out about FoodCorps

It’s sort of like AmeriCorps or VISTA, but for growing and eating food. Their program will be on Rachel Ray’s show next week. I’ll be setting my recorder. Maybe you will want to as well.foodcorps-logo

After Christmas, checking out these lesson planning resources

Try the Green Thumb Challenge for ideas that might work for you.Where can you find resources on a variety of greening topics for school use in one place? The Green Education Foundation has several green challenges with lessons and activities to support the objectives. I didn’t do much with Earth Week last year, and hope to remedy it this year. We’ll look into the Green Thumb Challenge. Other topic choices include sustainable water, bike riding instead of cars, green energy and waste reduction.

Great film resource for gardening class

I usually use youtube to help teach concepts in my gardening elective, but the videos sometimes are not so polished. They also are very skill oriented, which of course is what I’m teaching. But this website had films that really tell more the story of growing food from the viewpoint of the contest’s videographers. The results are some outstanding films. Check it out.

Poppy killers!

   I am so bummed. We have been hand-watering little sites in front of my school to support California poppy growth in this year of little water. We only have an hour a week on gardening, so we want results with that little time. The California Poppy, Eschscholzia californica, is our state flower, and it’s part of 4th grade California history. During spring break, a grounds maintenance person wiped them out like they were weeds. They were still blooming! We never made it to see the seed heads spring open, scattering seed everywhere. Argh!!!


California poppies, from the wikipedia commons files.

    I guess we need to add a sign: “Rake Around Poppies,” “Let Us Live!”, “No Poppy Killers” — I could go on but I won’t! Or I move on to focusing on another area of school less likely to be messed with. This didn’t happen last year, and I will find out why. It’s so frustrating to hear from my principal about how he loves our attempts to beautify our campus, and then in one week of vacation it’s wiped out! Or I combat it with the biggest poppy seed planting ever in fall of 2015!  gives you the details on the California history link.


Starr students get creative for Fresno Home & Garden Show

Ducks, decks and dogs, paths, beaches and bridges were among the mini-landscapes entered by Starr students in the recent Fresno Home & Garden Show held at the Fresno Fairgrounds. Winning first place among 34 entries in 4th-6th grades was Madison Bryant, and taking third was the team of Hannah Christensen and Natalie Valencia. Students used plants and landscape materials from Home Depot for their designs, plus donated crafting items. They really let their imaginations run wild. I wish I could have a whale in my backyard!

Great worm composting blog with photos!

Worm-compostingI’ve been trolling a lot online to find information on whether you really can see worms through the side of a clear-ish plastic container. I could keep one in the dark of a classroom cabinet, and that would keep the worms happy. But I’d like kids to be able to see the critters along the sides. Trouble is, most containers that you can drill holes through appear more frosty than “clear,” meaning students wouldn’t be able to see the worms anyway. If that’s the case, we might as well get a dark container that I can keep either on a counter, or inside a cabinet. I liked this site because it includes updates at month one, 3 months, and one year.

Looking back at 2013 and ahead to 2014!

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

To all my followers, thanks for watching! I’m aiming to post more often this year with great ideas, and stuff our gardening/cooking elective is actually doing.  I’m using a California Ag in the Classroom Specialty Crops grant to introduce foods — raw and/or cooked in some way. We will be converting some boxes used for air conditioning parts into planters for veggies. That’s just a glimpse. This blog was viewed about 1,600 times in 2013.  The Internet’s reach potential is amazing! Happy 2014!

Click here to see the complete report.

If you’re on Facebook….


Looking for ideas on bringing art into your garden? Check out the link above for some beautiful photos and ideas on art in the garden.

Soda bottle as natural decomposter

Soda bottle as natural decomposter

Really liking this for 4th grade ecosystems, if not for my gardening elective.

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