Middle School students are also getting to enjoy the garden. 6th-grade students are taking social studies out to the garden where they will continue learning about Ancient civilization. They are going to make the connection between foods grown during the Roman Empire, and what they can grow in California today. They have so far planted peas, onions, and leeks. 7th-grade students will be dividing and conquering with Miss Kadziauskas class using the garden in their restaurant project whereas Miss Mandell’s students are using succulents to study earth and human activity. 8th-graders are staying open to allow the garden to morph with their studies, but they got busy planting marigolds with radishes, as well as carrots and sage.
The learning outdoors in the patch continues with the 4th and 5th-grade students. It truly is amazing how much the students accomplished in one week in CRA’s little patch, and it was no exception when it came to the upper-level elementary students. 4th-grade students planted lettuce which they will use to observe how plants and animals have internal and external structures that function to support survival. They will be able to watch first-hand growth behavior. Wow, how neat is that?
5th graders were very busy bees in the garden sowing and planting native poppy seeds, nasturtium seeds, lettuce seeds, sunflower seeds, three small tomato plants, three purple leaf basil, two narrow leaf milkweed, two cupea ignea (plant with slender red flowers), and a partridge in a pear tree – OK no partridge or pear tree! As can be expected with the large assortment of plants they have grown, they will also be working on an assortment of learning objectives. They will be learning about ecosystems and be expanding math concepts (area, volume, graphing). They are also hoping the milkweed will attract butterflies in the Spring so they can observe them for further study.
The growing never stops. Not in the classroom, or out in the real world. That is what the Second and Third grade CRA students discovered during their first-time exploring, and planting in the patch. What a better place to learn about life cycles than watching life itself, that is what lucky second graders are doing in the garden. Third graders are taking math to the garden by learning about math arrays. Between the two grades, they have planted peas, leeks, onions, and plenty of lettuce.
The youngest of CRA students had a blast digging, sowing carrot seeds, and planting marigolds. Kindergarten and 1st Grades are learning about community building as well as bringing science, math, and literacy from the classroom into the garden. What better way to get students excited about learning than to allow them to dig in dirt out in the fresh air.
The gardening has begun, and wow what an impact these young little hands have already made by planting so many edible plants. Students from kindergarten through middle school have all had an opportunity to get their hands dirty filling their assigned planting beds with an array of vegetables. This Fall is going to see a bountiful of produce from lettuce, to snap peas, beans, cauliflower, and leeks just to name a few of the wonderful assortment. Getting CRA students out of the classroom and into the fresh air has created a new learning environment for these young children. They got to move about, apply what they are learning in the classroom, and connect to nature. Each grade is applying the learning experience in a different context depending on how it best fit in with their curriculum.
Next, we will get a window into each grade on their first day of gardening, and a small taste of how they will be taking the classroom to the garden. So stay tuned over the next few days. But first a special message from Nicky Davies, who has worked tirelessly as Garden Coordinator:
“It has been a huge week for planting we would like to thank all the Parent Volunteers for helping make this possible.Please stop by and check out the garden in person, every garden bed has something in it. Every class has planted”.
The time has arrived for little hands to start digging in the soil, and for the gardening adventure to begin for CRA students. October 3rd is D-day, so if all students from K-8th can please bring a pair of gardening gloves to keep those hands clean, and safe. If you cannot provide gloves please contact Eve Fein at email@example.com
Before the Worker Bees swooped in!
What embodies the heart and soul of CRA is the community atmosphere. Everyone answers the call for help needed, and at the tail end of summer the call was answered at the Worker Bees Garden Party. Part of the early excitement surrounding the new campus involved the gardening patch at the center of the school. The chatter could be heard around campus and on social media as families explored CRA’s new home. Yet what was obvious in seeing the much talked about patch was how overgrown and unruly it was. And so it was decided to throw a party! Well not a traditional garden party with tea and scones but one that involved hard work and lots of dirt did not deter anyone, families RSVP’d enthusiastically.
On Saturday August 20th, 2016 the garden came abuzz with CRA worker bees. Young and old alike worked side by side to transform the patch from a weedy jungle into a clean slate ready for eager students to transform again. The day was filled with hours of hard work, laughter, and bonding. Learning started that day in the patch for the young gardeners involved as they discovered little critters from ladybugs, to inch worms, and even mice. They learned the reward of hard work by seeing before their eyes the transformation of the patch.
The day went smoothly with everyone assigned an area to clear. Once the overgrown beds had been cleared fresh organic soil and fertilizer was brought in to allow for a healthy growing environment. Wood chips were laid down around the student learning area, under the big shaded tree, where teachers can educate CRA students outdoors in the garden itself.
Everyone pulled their weight to make an outdoor learning environment at CRA!
Last women standing ~ Eve Fein, Nicky Davies, and Cynthia Price
A big thank-you to all families involved in the Worker Bees Garden Party! Without you the patch would still be a jungle of weeds but instead a place for new roots awaits the students.