Posts by Hillary Williams

Sharing is Caring

This week at St. Patrick’s the kids learned a lot about the precarious state that bees are in!  With 1/3 of our crops dependant on bees for pollination, we can’t afford to lose any more bees to flowerless landscapes, pesticides, or crop “food deserts”.   Bees depend on pollen for protein and nectar for carbohydrates…

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Life Surrounds Us

Last week at Mayberry the kids and I discussed the most abundant and teaming source of life and is literally present everywhere, micro organisms or microbes as I like to call them.   The kids learned how one teaspoon of soil can have as many as one billion microbes and their bodies have tons more…

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All the Little Helpers

Today in the garden at Primary Academy we were surrounded by tons of helpful creatures.  The second graders learned a lot about worms by getting up close and personal!  These little invertabraes not only create delicious compost but they also dig tunnels throughout the soil letting air and water reach even the deepest roots.  …

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Sowing Oats and Observing Life

Today at Dayton Heights my two SLD classes brought out the seeds we had germinated in the classroom.   We learned what it takes for a seed to shed its coat and begin the next chapter of its life cycle.   After taking notes the kids went out into the garden and planted their seedlings.…

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St. Patrick’s Harvest And Housekeeping

St. Patrick’s School retuned this week after a Spring Break and had we had our work cut out for us.   There was much weeding to do and lots to harvest.  The upper grades worked hard weeding and harvesting peas from our three massive pea vines.  They beat the heat with cucumbers, tajin and hummus.…

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When Compost Is Ready!

The primary grades at Mayberry are very good at making compost.   They know the right ratio of browns to greens, they add water and spin the tumblers every chance they get…BUT, what happens when you have a full heavy load of compost?   You feed your garden, of course!  And the students at Mayberry…

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Hill, hill, STRAWberries!

You know why they call them strawberries?  Because these delicious fruits of the Earth have a tendency to draw even the quietest of creatures to feast upon their goodness.  At every single one of my four schools, rollie-pollies love to munch on our beloved strawberries…I’ve tried Dr. Bronners, I’ve tried weed liner…we are now trying…

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Spring Has Sprung!

Back from Spring Break, the students at Dayton Heights Elementary came out into the garden buzzing.   The kinder kids observed all of the spring seedlings that have begun to sprout from our generous rainfalls.  Older students spent their last garden class of this session writing haikus and sharing them before snacking on tomatoes, basil…

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Cool Beginnings at Dayton Heights

Last week at Dayton Elementary, the kids really enjoyed the start of our true and long awaited cool season.  It had drizzled earlier in the morning and the day signified a change.   The kids helped plant fall seedlings like cauliflower and onion, we saw butterflies darting around in the crisp air and tasted the…

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Microbes Everywhere at Primary Academy!

Where are microbes?  Everywhere!  It was easy for the students to realize just how important microbes are when you learn that they outnumber humnas by the billions.  Bacteria tiny as can be, unseen to the naked eye, but changing the world everyday…those are microbes.   We call them invisible transformers and they are amazing!  …

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A Change is Coming at St Patricks!

St. Patrick’s School garden has only lived through one season and now that the weather has cooled down, the kids are getting a hands-on lesson on what thrives under cooler and more temperate conditions. The older kids pulled corn, honeydew and tomato plants after harvesting all of the delicious edibles that we could. They chopped…

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Go Native! – Mayberry Street Elementary

Last week at Mayberry Elementary the students and I discussed the importance of growing native plants. We defined three important terms; native, exotic and invasive.  Examples of invasive plants such as the ice plant and its detrimental effects on local wildlife fascinated the kids. We pointed out the exotic palm trees literally all around us…

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Aromatherapy at Dayton Heights!

School can be stressful –  there are tests to study for, projects to work on, and friendships to navigate. Well, the kids at Dayton Heights have been exploring a new way to handle tough days through aromatherapy. Students used class time to breathe in a bit of lavender, sage, or basil as a way to…

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Exploring Life in the Garden

At St. Patrick’s we explored the beneficial and detrimental bugs in the garden.  The kids learned about different species of insects that are either defined as predators, pollinators or prey.  We discussed how they are all interconnected and would not survive without one another. After we played freeze tag as friends and foes, we munched…

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Yay to Cauliflower @ Primary Academy!

Last week at Primary Academy, we planted cool weather veggies in the garden.   Seeds of broccoli, carrots and snap peas were sowed into the beds and seedlings of mustard, Chinese cabbage and kale were transplanted as well. This week, we had a special treat for a snack. My lovely volunteer and nutritional science major,…

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Beginning a Compost at St. Patrick’s

Today at St. Patrick’s School, the upper grades started the day off discussing the ins and outs of building a perfect compost. These kids are smart and after going over greens and browns, many of them already knew the important work of the FBI (fungus, bacteria and invertebrates!). The kids played a fun game of…

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Primary Academy Tidies Up!

Last week at Primary Academy we worked really hard pruning all of our tomato plants that had started to brown a bit.  The kids also trimmed the herbs and deadheaded some mums.   We discovered three plants that had created seeds for us to save…beans, corn, and sunflowers. It was a great lesson for students…

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First Day at St. Patrick’s!

Our first day at St. Patrick’s Catholic School was filled with new wonders and getting acquainted!   The kids learned the garden rules and we walked through the garden and learned all the moving parts.   The Kinders did a lot of garden movement and practice exploration time in the garden. The 6th and 7th graders…

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Fall Planning

At Dayton Heights the fourth grade has taken control of their garden’s destiny.   There is good reason for that, they know what to do!  The kids were excited to have a bit of crispness in the air and started listing all the cool weather plants that would do well in their garden space.  …

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Here Comes Summer at Primary Academy!

Summer has definitely hit the garden at Primary Academy for Success.   The kids could see vibrant colors bursting everywhere with strawberries thriving and tomatoes popping.   We discussed all the good things that beneficial bugs do for our garden and learned about some not so favorable pests as well.  Ms. Garcia’s kindergarteners released over…

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New Tumblers at Mayberry

Thanks to the amazing community at Mayberry Elementery, we received two new composting tumblers via the incredible Ms. Beas and her Donors Choose fund.   Ms. Peggy DiCaprio, my lovely parent volunteer, set up the tumblers with a friend while I taught classes and the kids reveled in their magic once all was in place.…

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Let’s Do…a Haiku

“Bees fly very high. Sunflowers reach the tall clouds. Mint smells good and fresh.” Last week at Dayton Heights the kids came out with their journals and we discussed the inspiration that can come through nature.  Senses are flaring when we are outside feeling, exploring and just being still.   We learned what a haiku is…

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Mayberry Talks Edible Plant Parts

Last week at Mayberry the first graders came out and discussed the six parts of the plant with me.   We learned what each part does for the plant and which parts of certain edible plays we indeed eat.   After walking through the garden and identifying the edible parts of each plant, the kids…

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Herbal Bouqets

Last week at Primary Academy, the second graders spent their bonus session talking about herbs and how lovely they can be in a garden, added to a dish, or in aiding our bodies to fight discomfort or illness.  We walked throughout the garden beds and examined all the herbs through sight, touch, taste and smell.…

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Dayton Talks Photosynthesis

This week at Dayton Heights a couple of classes came back out into the garden for their second session of the year.   We discussed the all important magic of photosynthesis, learning that photo means light and synthesis means to put together.   The second and third graders were pretty into it and were fascinated…

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Appreciation and Dedication

What a fun couple of weeks it was subbing for Ms. Flo at Hollywood Schoolhouse.  The second visit at the garden was a day of clearing beds and planting seeds.   We enjoyed an appreciative lesson in honor of bees, revisiting their importance in the garden and the whole ecosystem of our Earth.   After,…

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First Timers

Last week at Mayberry, the Kinders came out for their first “real” garden class.   We started off class with a nice stretching exercise that mimics the parts of the plant.  A few of the kids had garden class last year when they were in TK and they helped review and teach the garden rules…

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Munchin and Sorting at Mayberry

It was a bittersweet day last week at Mayberry. The first graders came out to the garden for their last class of the session.  We discussed the importance of seeds, read From Seed to Plant, and learned all about what is in a seed, how it is formed and after arriving in a safe and…

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Garden Loving and Learning

Last week at Primary Academy the second graders spent their last “bonus” garden class loving on the garden.   We reviewed our plant parts, composting, and seasons by choosing warm weather and mostly fruit bearing seeds to plant in compostable containers.   The kids went nuts deciding on pepper, tomato, melon and zucchini seeds and…

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Colors Abound at Primary Academy

Today at Primary Academy for success we learned the nutritional value of eating the rainbow.  The second graders played a game in groups…after learning what a specific color fruit or veggie does for your body, each group had to name a food of that color.   The first group to draw a blank, had to…

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My Oh My What a Wonderful Day!

Today at Mayberry was just one of those wonderful days where the air is clear and the sun is bright and the plants growing in the garden catch the most beautiful light.   Yeah, those of us garden geeks know that kind of day.   But when you have children eager to soak that same…

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Watching the Garden Battle

This week at Dayton Heights, we learned all about the little guys in the garden.  The pests, predators and pollinators that is.  The kids knew a lot about insects in the garden but learned a lot as well.   We went through quite a few more common creatures and then played freeze tag, acting out…

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Creating Compost

At Mayberry last week, the fist graders came out on a crisp and sunny day to push up their sleeves and make compost.   We discussed the importance of balancing greens, browns, decomposers, air and water and listed which materials are good food for our plants.   I showed the kids a large bin of…

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Finding Friends and Foes

Last week at Mayberry the first graders came out on a warm and sunny day to learn about the little creatures that inhabit their garden.  We learned about quite a few beneficial and detrimental beings, from cabbage worms to butterflies…aphids to ladybugs and everywhere in between.   We chatted about why these pollinators, predators and…

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Work, work, work….

Last week at Dayton we really got to work.   The kids and I discussed seasons for a bit and the rise in temperature was a perfect segueway into figuring out which plants thrive in which climates.   We could see many of our lettuces and broccolis bolting and talked about why they do so.…

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Why we Compost

There is one main reason that most people compost, to give their plants and gardens more nourishment and get those nutrients flowing.   Another reason that is just as important is because food has become waste in our society.   40% of all the food in the US is thrown away and that’s crazy!  Now,…

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Harvest, Harvest Everywhere!

At Dayton Heights everywhere you look lately, there is something ready to be harvested out of the edible garden.   It’s that time of year (and thanks to the rain) where things are begging to be tasted.   And with a new group of third and fourth graders, that’s just what we did!  After reviewing…

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World of Wonder

As the tiny TK and Kinders filed out into the garden, the whole day slowed.  It’s easy to get wrapped up in what needs to get done, how much time it needs to get done in and whatnot.  When 4 and 5 year olds are your focus, being a garden teacher is the best!  You…

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Eat (Or Drink) The Rainbow

Last week at Primary Acadamy the Kinders and First graders had their last class with me.   We discussed the importance of eating the rainbow and went through, color by color, all the delicious and healthy foods that we eat and what they do for our bodies.   The kids were very enthusiastic and when…

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Saving Seeds

Last week at Dayton Heights, we discovered the importance of saving seeds and thought back to a time when your survival depended on saving seeds.  Before we had the luxury of grocery stores, farmers markets, or even the nursery to buy plants or seeds; seed saving was essential for food and life.   The kids…

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Let’s Get Things Pollinated

   Yesterday at Dayton Heights we enjoyed a beautiful day out in the garden.   The kids learned just how specific pollination is and which insects and other animals keep our gardens, farms, grasslands and deserts and mountains pollinated and thriving!   After a briefing on how exactly the flowers use that pollen to create…

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Pollination Patrol

Last week at Mayberry we worked hard to identify all of our lovely pollinating friends throughout nature.   The kids were quite knowledgeable on the subject, a few even noting that flies and beetles pollinate too.  We talked about bats and their role in pollinating and delved into the ever hard working life of a…

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Seasons Matter

This week at Primary Academy we delved into the importance of seasons and more specifically, the two main planting seasons that we here in SoCal are lucky to experience.  As with sun, water and soil…temperature plays a key factor in may plants’ ability to thrive or enter dormancy.  The kids discovered by merely glancing at…

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Dayton Discovers

Last week at Dayton Heights, we got out into the sunshine and discussed all the little creatures in the garden and what they are on a mission to do.  We learned that “bad bugs” will often be found in a winter garden in Los Angeles…munching on cabbage, kale, broccoli, cauliflower and many of the other…

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