Posts by Hillary Williams

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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Oh, Hello Little Ones

Last Thursday at Mayberry, the kids were able to get moving and breathe in some fresh air while we learned all about beneficial and harmful insects in the garden.  The kids reviewed most friends and foes from my list and we looked at images and talked about what they do. Then it was time for…

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Keeping Calm

The kindergarten class came out into the garden for the first time since the weather cleared up last week.  They had a lot to look and and many questions.  It was a very stimulating visit and a surprise visit from a stray puppy wandering on campus really got the little ones in a tizzy.  Calming…

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Exploration and Sensations

Last week at Dayton Heights, we were granted a chance to explore the garden for the first time since we left for Winter break.  The kids had an indoor lesson reviewing the garden rules and discussing the importance of the six plant parts and then we were off.  Kids kept an eye out for all…

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Valley View Munches the Blues Away

Even though the garden was too muddy and wet to visit, we brought plenty of delicious snacks into the classroom to keep the students at Valley View Elementary connected to their beautiful greenspace.  All the classes ate seconds and thirds of delicious kale, arugula and radish “tacos” and were happy to do so.  The first…

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Mayberry Stays Dry

On Thursday at Mayberry Street Elementary, it sure was raining cats and dogs.  It was so stormy, we had no chance of even dropping by the garden and so the kids turned to indoor learning fun.  The second graders reviewed the garden rules and promptly dove into learning about the parts of the plants, what…

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Primary Academy Plays Eye Spy

This past Wednesday at Primary Academy we stayed cozy inside for the majority of our class time.  However, it wasn’t raining during the majority of the day, so we ventured out after the lesson was taught to identify some of what we learned.  I had all kinders and first graders, so after reviewing the garden…

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Mayberry Harvest Time

Our last day at Mayberry was bittersweet.  It was the day that the kids were scheduled to perform in their winter concert.  So although I was only able to teach one make up class, I got an opportunity to meet lots of parents and harvest a TON of herbs and veggies from the garden with…

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Primary Passes Through The Rainbow

Last week at Primary Academy for Success, the students met me in the garden for our last class before departing on winter break.  We discussed the importance of eating a variety of colors in our diet.  Kids listed different colored fruits and veggies and learned what certain colors can do for their growing bodies!  We…

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We Love a Diverse Harvest

What fun it is to pick and eat on a cool and breezy day!   That is to be read with the Jingle Bells melody ringing in your head!  But seriously, dashing through the garden, on a crisp and clear blue day, right before your recess and when you need a break!!!   Ok, ok..there…

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Primary Academy Gets to Work

When I first arrived at Primary last week, my head bowed a bit.  This school is one of my faves and one of my biggest challenges.  It is a North Facing garden, which means all the plants struggle a tad more to thrive…the light they are given is not as abundant and to add to…

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Dayton Tastes Fall in LA

Last week at Dayton Heights Elementary, the kids learned about seasonal gardening.  It was really easy to identify the change in season here in Southren California because we all witnessed a major shift over the Thanksgiving Break.  All I had to do was ask what changes the students noticed in weather patterns and we were…

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Mayberry Meets Aphids

We have a bit of an aphid problem at Mayberry.  Oh and lots of cabbage worms and bees and butterflies and earthworms and a ladybug or two.  Wait, that’s every edible garden especially in these cooler months when all we want to grow are tempting heads of cabbage and deep green kale and delicious chard! …

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Searching for Friends and Foes at Dayton

Right before our break, the kids at Dayton Heights met an array of helpful and beneficial insects in their garden and also came across some creatures that are not so kind to our edible plants.  We looked at pictures of all kinds of garden insects, from the honeybee to the cabbage worm and everything in…

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Munching on Leaves and Fruits and Seeds

Mayberry enjoys the green life.  They light up whenever I bring a super green snack to support their lesson.  This week they wrapped snap peas in spinach leaves with a squeeze of lemon and didn’t look back. The lesson was a discussion in the six parts of a plant and why and how each part…

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Plant Parts Have Jobs and Feed Our Bodies

At Dayton Heights last week, the kids came out to the garden in the sunshine to hone in on their artistic skills while discussing the six parts of a plant.  Now, all the parts serve a mighty important purpose…one is just as vital as the next.  The kids were helpful in explaining why roots ground…

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Mayberry Conquers Compost and a Mystery

On Thursday the kids in Mr. Ruiz’s class not only figured out how to properly build onto our delicious compost pile, but they also solved the mystery of the devoured cabbage plants.  Now I don’t want to say that these seedlings were beyond hope, but I will say that they have had a rough go…

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Primary Academy Builds Greens and Browns

This past week at Primary Academy was a great introduction to the importance of compost.  The kids had an idea of what compost was but learned quickly that it was NOT SOIL and NOT DIRT!!!   Breaking down the main components of compost and building their own batch with yummy leftover pumpkins and shredded brown cardboard…

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Dayton Heights Finds Gold!

Today at Dayton Heights the new session of kids began their composting lesson.  These kids have spent time in the garden and have added to the compost bin, but hadn’t had the chance to really “break down” the importance of building proper compost.  (And yes, that pun was intended!) We started the lesson by listing…

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Mayberry Shows Love

Mayberry Elementary is a school bursting with enthusiasm.  Any lesson I bring them is usually met with a smile and lots of questions and comments.  Naturally when they came in for their last session this past week, there were a lot of “Noooooo’s” and “Alreadyyyyyy?” But these kids are smart and they quickly got to…

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Primary Academy Ties Things Up

The second graders at Primary Academy may be moving on up to a new school next year but they will head there with some awesome garden knowledge.  The kids wrapped up their six week session by impressing each other with a review on what we had learned in the weeks before while we munched on…

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Dayton Heights in Review

Our last day with the kids at Dayton Heights was bittersweet.  We transferred compost, cleared a few beds of browns and planted lots of cool weather loving veggies.  The kids reviewed all they learned and did a ton of exploring.  After snacking on bell peppers, rainbow carrots and celery, the kids bid farewell to the…

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Mayberry Discovers Friends and Foes

Last Thursday at Mayberry Elementary we sat down to discuss how life in the garden affects our plants and their success at thriving.   Mayberry was teaming with beneficial insects (bees, worms, dragonflies and ladybugs) and we also met some not so favorable guys (slugs, cabbage worms and a tomato hornworm or two).   But…

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Mayberry Conserves

This week at Mayberry we discussed the huge importance water plays in regards to humans and more importantly, for plants.  Plants need water to gain nutrients, for photosynthesis and for structure and growth.  The kids were full of ideas on how to conserve water.  Growing up and living in California is an amazing asset for…

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Seed Saving At Valley View

Last week at Valley View Elementary I had a lot of fun subbing.  The garden was thriving, especially the flower and herb bed.  The kids had a lesson on seeds.  We read “A Seed Is Sleepy” and discussed the wild and exciting life of a seed.  Lots of kids expressed their desire to actually be…

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Primary Academy For Success Harvests Seeds

Today at Primary Academy was really, really productive.  The second graders settled into their nice air conditioned classrooms for a seed lesson.  We started off by reading the oh so amazing book, “A Seed Is Sleepy” and after so many comments and questions, I pulled out a tray of saved and dried flowering plants.  Kids…

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Dayton Heights Discovers Super Friends

This week at Dayton the Kinders and 1st graders learned all about who we rely on in the garden to really keep our balance positive!  We talked about which insects can attack our gardens and which come in to save the day!  Our focus turned to the pollinators, as they were on full display that…

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Mayberry Elementary Conserves

This week at Mayberry we discussed the huge importance water plays in regards to humans and more importantly, for plants.  Plants need water to gain nutrients, for photosynthesis and for structure and growth.  The kids were full of ideas on how to conserve water.  Growing up and living in California is an amazing asset for…

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Mayberry Gets Going!!!

I LOVE the kids at Mayberry, so energetic, inquisitive and ready to learn!  When Mr. Fuentes’ fourth graders had a sub they literally pulled her out into the garden by the hand to get seated for our composting lesson.  And then they rocked it by making the compost relay game into an event more intense…

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Primary Academy Creates Compost

On Wednesday at Primary Academy the second graders entered the garden alert and ready to go!  We jumped right in to our compost lesson and the kids helped me list the five parts of compost (greens, browns, decomposers, air and water) and explain why all were essential to creating a healthy and sustaining batch of…

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Dayton Heights Revisits

The Kinder classes visited the garden this week full of smiles and curiosity!  We harvested four DELICIOUS cucumbers and tasted them with our ever vibrant zinnias.  A few of our classes were K/1 splits so it was nice to have the older students review the garden rules with newer students and watch them explore the…

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Mayberry Madness

This past week at Mayberry we had quite a fun time with the fourth through sixth graders. The kids reviewed the rules and learned all about the different parts of plants and how they relate to which parts we consume. We explored the garden, engaged with one another on the different stages of growth and…

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Back to Primary Academy for Success

What a great first day back with the second graders at Primary Academy! We reviewed the rules of the garden and then jumped right into our lesson on the parts of the plant.The kids were pretty knowledgeable on the different parts of the plants and things got fun when I showed them pictures of different…

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Dayton Heights Prep

Classes at Dayton Heights are being pushed back a week due to some rearranging within the school.   So today was a day of prep and harvesting.   There was a lot of growth and need for some pruning and trimming.   All great brush for the compost as well as some overripe squash and…

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Colorful Dayton Heights

The boys and I cruised by Dayton Heights Elementary on Thursday and were greeted by the lovely zinnias popping about in brilliant oranges, yellows and reds.   Color continued with some yummy looking cherry tomatoes ripe for the picking and a few zucchinis ready as well.   We prepared a small box and dropped it…

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A Day at Dayton

What a fun day at Dayton Heights Elementary.  The fourth graders were SO excited to come spend some time in their garden.  After weeks of watching all the other classes get an introduction, they patiently waited to have a turn learning the rules of the garden and exploring the space.  They were so sweet and…

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Arts in Action Grows a Garden

Week two at Arts in Action Community Charter brought out the kinders and second graders in full force.   Loving the fresh mint from my home garden and the sweet taste of watermelon was a nice taste of summer gardening to come.  We chatted about the rules of the garden, played the name game and planted…

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Maintaining Mayberry

Today at Mayberry we made the best of our recess by collecting all the dried and dead leaves in the garden for the compost.   The second and third graders had just finished their lesson on soil.   With a snack of snap peas and hummus, they didn’t bother to hit the playground when the…

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Mayberry Garden Growth

   This past week at Mayberry Elementary we brought out our second session and went over what soil really is.   We studied the three parts of loam and dissected our soil to feel and explore what type of soil our plants were thriving in.   During recess I had tons of little helping hands,…

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Dayton Elementary Turns One Month Old!

At Dayton Heights, we are finishing up our second session of kids and noticing a lot of growth in the garden.   Seeds that were planted just a few short weeks ago have turned into green plants bursting with life.   Seedlings are fruiting and flowers are blooming.   It’s tough only having these classes…

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Friends and Foes at Primary Academy

It was a cool and cloudy morning at Primary Academy and so getting our heart rates up and playing a friendly game of “Friend and Foe Freeze Tag” was very welcome.  The kids had a ton of energy right out of the gate, the discussion of enemies and protectors in the garden was an exuberant…

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