Posts by Eleanor Goodrich

The Race to Make Good Soil at Mid-City

The students at Mid-City have a lot of energy, so they were especially excited to find out our soil lesson would involve a race! After questioning and observing how leaves and woodchips naturally break down into soil in our garden space, we gathered carbon and nitrogen materials (fruit peels, paper, and other organic materials) to…

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Scientific Observations at Weemes!

Children are naturally very curious, and the students at Weemes are especially inquisitive in the garden: “Where do plants come from?” “Why do plants need sun?” “Why did the cucumbers die?” Many of these questions we answer in our class lessons, but this week we let our students answer their own questions through the exhilarating…

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Making Sugar at Hollenbeck!

Learning standards have changed at LAUSD, so science classes are teaching different subjects from last year. We are always working to be a resource for teachers at the garden to help introduce some of these new concepts through hands on learning. For example, this semester, 7th graders need to learn the chemical process of photosynthesis…

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Listening Can be a “Fruitful” Experience at Mid-City Prescott

A few weeks ago, the teachers at Mid-City mentioned that their classes top areas for improvement are following directions and listening skills. With that in mind, this week’s activity made use of our abundant tomato harvest and included 3 large tasks that required both listening and following directions. At the beginning of class, I gave…

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Taking Learning Outside the Classroom at Mid-City Prescott

This year Mid-City Prescott is starting a new unit on systems learning for all their classes. Everything is made up of systems and so the garden class provided a perfect opportunity for students to expand their understanding. After reviewing the basics of what a system is, classes discussed ecosystems and how everything in the garden…

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Little Ladies Visit 6th Ave

Last week we had a wonderful opportunity while studying the insect life in the garden; the students found larvae of both ladybugs and Japanese beetles! That prompted a full discussion about the life cycle of the different insects in the garden as students shared facts about the butterflies they are studying in class. At the…

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The Soil Mystery at Weemes!

Students at Weemes Elementary had a mystery to solve when they came to garden class today- what happens to the wood chips as they lay on the garden paths? After taking detailed observations, the students reported that the wood chips were breaking into smaller and smaller pieces until they looked just like soil! After seeing decomposition…

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Helping Literature Come to Life at Hollenbeck

6th graders at Hollenbeck Middle School have been studying narrative forms of writing this semester so we started garden class with an excerpt from “The Secret Garden”. We discussed how the main character, Mary, finds a dead looking garden that she desperately wants to bring to life. In the book, Mary discovers that the garden…

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Sprouts can be yummy! at 6th Ave

Eating healthy can be hard for anyone, and when you’re a 3rd grader and everyday after school vendors stand on the sidewalks offering spicy, crunchy treats such as Taki’s and Hot Cheetos, its especially hard to want to eat a bunch of veggies for an afternoon snack.  Luckily, the school garden at 6th Ave offers…

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Searching for Different Plant Parts at Weemes Elementary

Today we studied 5 important plant parts and talked about their functions. 1)Roots soak up water and nutrients. 2)Stems hold plants upright. 3)Leaves soak up sunlight and air. 4) Flowers attract pollinators so they can turn into… 5)Fruits – any plant part that is full of seeds to grow a new plant. After we discussed…

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Eating the Rainbow at Mid-City Prescott

Since we have a nutrition intern from UCLA at Mid-City this month, we are taking the oppportunity to learn how our garden plants can help our nutrition.Today we learned that each color in our fuits and veggies is associated with a special power to help our bodies. We played a game to see what team…

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“Where do Seeds Come From?” at 6th Ave

Sometimes science can seem a lot like magic. Students at 6th Ave thought there was something very magical about pollination once we learned how flowers use pollen to make seeds. Since several flowers are blooming right now, students even had a chance to see real-life pollen and use their fingers like tiny “pollinators” going from…

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Science Detectives at Hollenbeck!

Students at Hollenbeck practiced their observation skills when we tried to answer the question: “What happens to the wood chips we put in the garden path each year?” Students each established their own hypothesis and then gathered evidence to support their theory. Ideas included: Kids walking on the wood chips break them up into tiny…

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Nothing Beats Beets at Weemes Elementary!

Mr. John has been working with us for his nutrition internship this semester, so last class he helped us with a special lesson about the nutritional benefits of colors. We went through all the different plant colors and how they help our body. At the end, Mr. John used some of our tasty garden beets to…

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Proportions and Ratios at Hollenbeck

This week our math classes had a chance to start their own seeds, but first we needed to make rich, healthy soil for our plants. New plants require the perfect ratio of nutrients, minerals and structure in their soil or the seed risks molding or starving. To make the perfect soil we had a recipe:…

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Entomologists at 6th Avenue!

At the beginning of our cycle, students shared things that they are especially interested in learning this year at 6th Avenue. A favorite subject for everyone is bugs of the garden. These little guys hidden in leaves and under the soil are able to unlock the joys of learning faster than any other school subject…

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The Magic of Pollen at Weemes

Today at Weemes our classes got to learn how flowers make seeds and fruit. After looking at a few flowers in our own garden, we discussed how bees and other pollinators go spreading powdery pollen from flower to flower as they try to eat. Then we played a game to see if we could spread…

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Flower Dissection at San Pedro

Students at San Pedro have been dissecting various items in their science classes, so for this week’s garden class we had a chance to dissect a flower and answer the puzzling question, “where do seeds come from?” After students made a few guesses about what they thought might be inside their flowers, we opened them…

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From Cooking to Hip Hop at Hollenbeck

Our English learners students at Hollenbeck started writing their own garden songs this week. They will be writing for the next few weeks until we are ready to film our own music videos. In the meantime, our special education class had a chance to practice our motor skills by planting seedlings and making a salad…

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Fruits or Vegetables at Variety Boys & Girls Club

When we learn plant parts, the definition of the fruit is always a source of confusion. Last week we dove into all the different plant parts that we eat and which of our “vegetables” are also fruit. We then explored the garden for different plant parts we could use for a snack. We found enough…

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Rainy Days Help Our Veggies Grow at 6th Ave

Although it was too rainy to have classes outside last week, all the water means we can turn off the irrigation and our plants are growing like crazy! The weather gave us a good intro to a lessson on water needs for all life and the Los Angeles drought. Our student were adorably happy to…

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Rainy Seasons at Weemes Elementary

As the rain continues pouring over our garden, we had another indoor class last week. Luckily, that gave us a perfect segway into our lesson on growing seasons in Los Angeles. We discussed what crops are growing in today’s cool rainy season, including kale which made a delicious snack! We even had time for a…

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Elements and Chemical Reactions at Hollenbeck Middle

We are diving into the chemical properties of our soil at Hollenbeck. Since our science classes have been studying elements and chemical reactions, this week we hosted a little science expirament to test the pH in our own soil. First, we studied the formula for combining baking soda and vinegar (an acid and a base)…

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Culturing Creativity at 6th Ave

Ms Reid’s class has been studying creativity and the different ways people use creativity in their lives. So last week in the garden, we found some ways to be creative in our cooking! I brought a few different spices and students wandered the garden to choose ingredients to try together. One group used kale and…

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Respecting Community at Weemes 

The sun is out and our garden is flourishing at Weemes Elementary, which means we get to have classes outside again! We spent the time searching for all the different insects that live in our garden and then we discussed each bugs role. The students tested their reading comprehension by reading descriptions aloud and sorting…

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Another Rainy Start at Weemes

Last week rain clouds welcomed the new classes at Weemes for the second time in a row. Luckily, the rain provided an opportune context to talk about plant needs and water availability for plants growing during draught. By the end of our lesson several students were very concerned about water use as we rinsed our…

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Building Community at Weemes Elementary 

For MLK Day last week, we had a garden open house, inviting parents and students both to come help plant, learn and harvest in our garden. We had a lot of helpers throughout the day and managed to harvest lots of veggies to send home! Additionally, the garden is looking cleaner than ever and I…

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pH Science Expiraments at Boys & Girls Club

Today we had a science expirament that was everything a kid could want, bubbling beakers, colorful chemicals, and surprising results! We started by talking about acids and bases and how certain plabts prefer acidic soil. Then we got to the fun stuff! We watched as acidic vinegar combined in a chemical reaction with baking soda…

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Tracking the Elements at Hollenbeck

This week at Hollembeck we are building new garden mounds to reorganize the plants and make it easier to get into the garden. All these new beds mean we need some new soil, which is a perfect introduction to our lesson on soil nutrients and compost. Since our new garden class is studying atoms and…

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New Plants at 6th Ave

With all the rain recently, we’ve had a few classes indoors. That wprked out wonderfully at 6th Ave because we need to start some new seedlings to add to our garden in a few weeks. So, last week we did a little indoor gardening as we learned about the life cycle of a plant starting…

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Rain Offers Good Start for Weemes Elementary

As students planted new seedlings in our garden this week, rain clouds threatened to chase us away. Luckily, we were able to plant all the seedlings between showers and all rain is now watering our new little seedlings! Additionally, the summer crops are still growing well into the winter season so we are still harvesting…

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Compost Program Off to Great Start at 6th Ave

6th Ave Elementary works hard to eliminate food waste in the cafeteria, and this year we are adding a composting program to achieve that goal. Thanks to the work of Ms Alma Delgado, all unfinished fruit and vegetable waste at Tuesday lunch will go straight to the garden’s compost system. Once the compost has appropriately…

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Rainy Days Mean New Life at Hollenbeck

As students prepare for a new semester of gardening at Hollenbeck, we start by brainstorming what we would like to learn. While we will continue our regular lessons and cooking demos, this semester we will set aside a little time each week to work together finding answers to questions the students come up with. We…

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Year End Harvest Celebration at 6th Ave

The garden has been growing beautifully this year! So beautifully that we have had plenty of produce to send home with teachers, students, and parents. Since this is our last week until next year, we celebrayed the garden’s bounty by sharing a fresh kale, parsley and nasil salad with all the amazing teachers at this…

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Insect Drama at Hollenbeck

The garden insects at Hollembeck dont always get along. In fact, some of the insects eat other garden bugs! Today students at Hollenbeck imagined what the bugs would say to each other if they could talk. They then shared their ideas with each other in letters. Their letters were so funny, and their English is…

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What’s in Your Beef? at Roosevelt

We have been eating a lot of fresh vegetables and discussing nutrition this year, but we haven’t talked a lot about meats. This is an especially sad oversight becuase i grew up on a ranch in Virginia where we raise primarily meat products. This week we corrected the oversight by discussing modern meat production. We…

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Colorful, Tasty Garden Snacks at 6th Ave

For this session’s last class at 6th Ave, students were able to make their own snacks. It was incredibly rewarding to see all the students clamoring to get their serving of kale, chard amd mistard greens with nothing but lime for seasoning – and then they came back for seconds!  While students are always learning…

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Six Weeks of Veggie Tasting Pays Off at Weemes Elementary

This week is the last garden class for our second rotation and we have had a lot of different recipes alongside our science lessons and garden exploration. After our class time (where we talked about nutrient and water cycles) we had a final harvest and students made their own hand-held salads using lettuce, chard, squash…

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Talented Gardners Get Twice the Snacks at Weemes

The students did a wonderful job caring for their jars of sprouting seeds this week and since we had a lot of squash growing, we had two snacks after our lesson this week instead of one. Students ate the first snack of sprouted seeds so quickly I didnt even have time to get a picture!…

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Documenting Life at Weemes Elementary

Students brought their notebooks to the garden for our class on seed germination last week. After we disected a seed together, they drew their own diagrams of the parts of the seed and baby plant. At the end of class, we started soaking seeds in a jar to sprout for this week. The classes have…

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Exchanging Brassicas for Butternut at Hollenbeck 

As the weather gets colder, our summer crops have been turning brown and dying back. right before Thanksgiving, the butternet squash finally ripened and we were able to clean out the old leaves. After a lesson on plant varieties and seasons, our garden classes pulled out the dead plants and planted new, cold weather brassica…

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Searching for Garden Friends at 6th Ave

Sixth Avenue is stoked about bugs! After we studied the different grubs and insects in the garden, we found several beetle larvae and were able to spontaneiously discuss the lifecycle if various insects. We concluded with a snack that our students liked as much as the garden aphids- kale. -ranger el

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Young Engineers at Roosevelt

Roosevelt students have been studying careers they can apply from garden class and this week we focused on engineering. Since we made compost last week, we continued the idea by discussing different types of compost bin designs. Students then broke into groups to design their own model compost bins using limited popsicle sticks and tape.…

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Garden Storytelling at Hollenbeck

Students at Hollenbeck are working on English comprehensive this month, so we took those skills into the garden. First, we read a short story about a boy how starts his own garden. We had a brief discussion about the story as we read. Then students made up their own garden stories. The students were incredibly…

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