Saturday, January 16, 2016

School Gardening

We are fortunate that our school has a school garden. We think of it as an outdoor classroom. Our first grade students have an end of the day science rotation. I teach the first graders about living and non-living things and use the garden for hands-on activities. I enjoy listening to the excitement in children's voices as they discover new kinds of plants and garden creatures.

We also have a composting bin in the garden. The children are currently learning about worms and vermicomposting.

We use EarthBOX® gardens that are housed in front of our rooms and throughout the school.

Lettuce and cherry tomatoes are growing in this box.

This is one of several EarthBOX® gardens that are placed throughout our school. Notice the signs that contain information about the plants.

The signs include QR codes that direct students to videos and additional information about the plants.

I used to order caterpillars and set up a net in our classroom to observe the life cycle of a butterfly. Now we are able to observe the process naturally right outside our classroom door.

We are currently growing milkweed (Monarch butterflies love to lay eggs on the leaves of the plant.), cherry tomatoes (a few green ones can be seen in the background), and strawberries in our EarthBOX®.

If you'd like more information about the garden containers or would like to have your own EarthBOX® garden, click HERE. We use ours all year long!

The site has planting and gardening resources, too. The system is easy to use. Students can plant and maintain the garden. I love the real world application of having one. When the fruits and vegetables are ripe and ready to be picked, it's fun to prepare a vegetable or fruit salad with them. I've found that for some students, it's the first time they've seen or tasted many of the fruits and vegetables we grow.

These are a couple of my favorite classroom gardening books:

 It's Our Garden by George Ancona.
Children learn about creating a school garden.

How Groundhog's Garden Grew by Lynne Cherry
Children learn about planting seeds, harvesting, and eating home-grown food as Squirrel teaches Little Groundhog all about gardening.

I'd love to hear about your school garden and any garden books you find helpful.


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