Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Gardening 101

It makes perfect sense that we would schedule our gardening day on the chilliest one we've had lately.  The kids are never dressed for the weather and quickly began to complain about the tortures I was deliberately inflicting on them. In the end, they did go outside and complete the task at hand.

We enlisted the assistance of a local community member when we began planning.  She recruited a few local landscaping companies to donate loam to our efforts.  The companies were more than willing and two dumptruck loads of loam soon appeared outside our room.  We have enough dirt to fill a swimming pool!  We're hoping that the Going Green Committee will continue with their plans to create a garden and use what's left over. 

Our maintenance worker, Walter, offered up an idea to continue our lesson once the veggies are grown.  He's an avid gardener himself and cans his tomatoes if he can't use all the fresh ones.  He'll use the canned tomatoes for homemade sauce and other meals.  I'm hoping we can have cans donated as well, and do that at the end of the growing season.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

It's been one of those days

My students tend to complain no matter what the task at hand.  Most days I just shrug it off, because it comes with the territory.  To them, the grass is always greener, until they get there, and realize the OTHER grass was greener, and it's my fault they're not there.  It's fairly comical, until you see similar conversations take place between adults.  What has to happen in order for a school culture to become one of mistrust, doubt, and even nastiness?  I see more bashing and breaking down than I do building up, and this refers to adults as well as students.  Both groups complain about the "way things are" yet their own actions are what continue the cycle.
What do other schools do to assist their faculty to become self-reflective?  What are administrators doing to be sure their staff are able to step outside of the moment to see a bigger picture?  We are working so hard to pass on our 21st century skills to our students, but I wonder if perhaps we the educators should be briefed in them first.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Growing Gardens

I had been trying to think of an outdoor project I could do with my class that would be low cost, fairly simiple, yet keep my active group engaged.  I read an article about raised square plot gardening and decided to give it a go.  My students tend to complain about any and every idea, activity, and field trip we have so when the only comments I received were "Ugh, I wore white today," I knew I had a winner.
I posted an Edmodo poll to see what plants interested the students the most, then picked the seeds up at the local hardware store.  The girls directed me to the local lumber store, Butler Lumber, where we bought the plywood and 2x12s needed for our garden box. 
This past Monday afternoon, we took the time to plan our steps then build the box.  Mr. Matt Buma, my co-worker, has experience in carpentry and took the lead with the students.  One student was incredibly put off by the idea of using any sort of power tool, but the rest took turns drilling pilot holes, drain holes, and screwing the pieces together. 
A local bus driver and parent, Gwen, heard we needed gardening supplies and arranged for a couple local landscaping companies to donate loam.  We're waiting for that to be delivered this week so we can get to planting.  So far, this has been a fun project.  It gets the kids working outdoors and discussing things like what their plant needs to be healthy, and exposes them to a new process.  Maybe they'll even think twice about where their produce and flowers come from the next time they're in the grocery store.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

SCORE Program Adventures

Friday was a gorgeous day, so we decided to work on our essays outside.  Shaniqua made a new friend while we were out there.  She named him Charlie.