Posts by Hope Cox

Fibonacci at Foster

Did you know swirls are all around you? Swirls, or spirals, are not just a shape but a pattern. And this pattern can be explained by the Fibonacci sequence, a series of numbers that, when drawn, create a spiral every time. During our class today, I introduced the Kinder through 3rd graders to the SPIRAL. We…

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Water travels in a cycle, yes it does! | Juan Cabrillo

Feb 3, 2017 What a beautiful day, rain pattering peacefully in the garden, nourishing the plants with earth water. With the first graders, we discussed the water cycle and how it is Earth’s way of recycling this precious resource. We sang a song to help remember each step and then filled out a chart to…

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Colors in the Garden at Ramona

Off the bat, one might think that a garden is simply colored green. But if you take a closer look, you’ll notice many more hues. With the kindergartners today, I challenged them to find three different colors in the garden. We found to entire spectrum of the rainbow (borage not pictured)! Then we smelled pineapple…

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Fibonacci at Ramona

Today’s class was a review from last week. My students recalled how to draw the shape of a Spiral and what are some examples they might find in the world around them, based on the book, Swirl by Swirl. A monkey’s prehensile tail, a snail shell, a tornado and a rose are fantastic examples. But…

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Being Resourceful at Juan Cabrillo

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle … Respond. That’s what some of the kids are learning right now in their first and second grade science classes. Related to this topic of sustainability and preservation, I brought a fun craft to my students at Juan Cabrillo today. With newspaper, tape, soil and seeds, we created decompostable pots. The students…

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Let’s talk Urban Gardening at Ramona

What’s the point of urban farming? Wanting to open up discussion during our first week together, I asked my sixth grade students what they thought about farming in cities, especially on their school campus. There were a lot of differing answers from better access to fruits and vegetables, to learning about the ecosystem, to being…

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Garden Hummus at Ramona

My students at Ramona love to taste from the garden. To follow up our recipe writing activity last week, I brought the recipe for making homemade hummus. It’s a simple spread made with chick peas and tahini and can be flavored to your liking. We added a few ingredients from the garden — onions and…

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Planting at Crenshaw YMCA

Moms and their toddlers came out to Crenshaw YMCA the other day as part of their early learners class to help plant in their new garden! The little ones learned how to make holes in the dirt, handle a baby plant carefully, plant a seed in the dirt and water plants. I had a great…

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K, 1st and 3nd graders Make Salad | Juan Cabrillo

There’s nothing like a garden grown salad…and a fresh one, at that! Today, my classes at Juan Cabrillo harvested and made a salad straight from their garden. Dividing into groups, each with a different task, they worked together to make their snack. The first group harvested greens (purple and green lettuces, chard, spinach, sorrel, nasturtium…

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“Thank you, Worms!” | Sullivan Prek

Today, I introduced my favorite garden friend to my classes at Sullivan: The ordinary earthworm. These little creatures are more than just cute (as one preschooler described the red wrigglers), they take care of the earth beneath our feet. Worms make tunnels in the ground that help the roots of plants stretch far and wide…

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Let’s Make Observations at Ramona Garden

Introducing my new rotation of first and second grader to Ramona’s garden, I began with a table activity. We talked about the five senses first — touching, listening, smelling, seeing and tasting. And using three of our five senses, we made observations about three different leaves from the garden, recording our findings on tri-folded paper.…

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Spring Garden Salad at Foster

It’s the most wonderful time of the year. Spring has sprung and many of the veggies we planted in the wintertime are now ready to harvest. The kids at Foster were very excited when I announced we were going to make a salad together. Using greens and herbs solely from the garden, we tore everything…

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Drawing Our Dream Garden at Ramona

“If you could design and build your own garden, what would you grow?” I asked my 1st graders. I then encouraged them to take some time to imagine and draw their own dream garden. It was a great activity to understand what kinds of fruits and vegetables these six and seven year olds are already…

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Clover Bombs for St. Patty’s Day at Juan Cabrillo

In lieu of Saint Patrick’s Day, the kids at Juan Cabrillo wore green shirts and golden hats and paraded happily around the school. Teachers enjoyed an Irish-themed lunch in the lounge. And during garden classes, we made seed bombs filled with clover seeds! Our classes were a little cut short because of the festivities. But…

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Gardening is Life at Ramona

Being the first day of a new rotation, I taught a new class of sixth graders today. With every introduction class, I like to take a moment to ask my students the benefits of gardening in a city like Los Angeles. Is it really relevant to us? How is it different than buying food from…

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Seed Saving with Preschoolers at Sullivan

Today’s three words to discuss were Flowers, Bees and Seeds. Together, we learned how how these three topics relate. Holding up a sunflower that had grown in their garden, I asked the kids at Sullivan Prek to identify what I was holding. “A flower!” many students shouted. We labeled the color and even learned the…

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Building a New Worm Bin at Juan Cabrillo

As the upcoming warm weather brings life into Juan Cabrillo’s garden, our worm bin is ever growing. To give the wriggly friends some space, we built another bin and split the worm population in half for each one. When building a worm bin, I told my students, we must keep three things in mind: bedding,…

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From Garbage to Compost at Sullivan

The students at Sullivan were in for a treat today: playing in the dirt! During my morning garden maintenance, I realized I hadn’t mixed the compost bin in over six months and set forth to do just that to see if any black gold could be found at the bottom of the pile. To my…

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Getting to Work at Foster

Every week for the last two months, Foster Elementary students have been helping me spread wood chips onto the pathways of their garden. This project aims to beautify the space by preventing grass from growing in the pathways (and having to mow it), in the garden beds (and having to weed it); and cleans up…

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Watching The King of Caterpillars with Kinders at Foster

Today, the kindergarten kids at Foster Elementary School learned all about our bug friends, the roly poly bugs and the monarch caterpillar. With the help of a student’s shirt, we got to learn ALL about the life cycle of the monarch butterfly and the type of diet the caterpillars eat (milkweed!). Afterwards, the students hurried…

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Exploring the Garden at Ramona

(written in early February) Since the rains have been so prevalent lately, preventing my students from going to the garden during my classes, we spent the majority of today exploring the space and getting familiar with the habitat and current growing season. Lots of plants have emerged from the ground and bloomed, happily in response…

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Exploring Leaves at Sullivan Prek

Today was much too cold and windy to visit the garden with the Sullivan kiddos. So I brought samples of different kinds of leaves to their classrooms. We observed the different shapes and textures and smells of the leaves, trying to guess what some of them were. One student commented that the mint smelled like…

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Taco Tuesday at Ramona

What better way to defeat the rainy blues than by making tasty tacos? Working together, the students prepared a tasty treat with refried beans, shredded carrots (as the “cheese”) and steamed garden greens. The students had a blast being involved in this recipe demo: spreading the beans on the tortilla, grating the carrots, tearing the…

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Mas Mulch at Foster

Today we continued our wood chip spreading activity. Some students learned safety and patience as they took turns shoveling mulch into the wheelbarrow and waited for their turn to scoop. Other students helped with odd jobs around the garden: planting seeds, cleaning plants of dead leaves, chopping plants for the compost pile, finding rolly pollies…

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Making compost from garbage at Sullivan PreK

Hello, Sunshine! How happy we are to finally get a chance to see you in the garden this month! The kids at Sullivan Prek love to play in the dirt; so today we talked about COMPOST. Together we read a book, narrated by a little girl who told us that her garden grows from garbage.…

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Why are Worms Important? at Ramona

After two weeks of rain, we were back in the garden! For our last class of this rotation, we talked WORMS. Why are worms important?, we asked ourselves. What is such a big deal about these dark-loving, leftover-eating, red-bodied wigglers? In actuality, we are privileged to have such creatures roaming the earth beneath our feet.…

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Hanging out with Worms at Foster

With the sun out and the tables moved to the sunshine, we had a grand time in the garden today. We talked about worms and what they do to take care of the earth. They have tiny brains but they remember all of their responsibilities: digging tunnels, decomposing old fruits and vegetables, and making soil!…

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New Veggie Tasting at Sullivan Prek

The sun is back! My students were SO happy to finally come back to the garden after two weeks of rain. We spent the majority of class tasting a new veggie. I introduced them to Swiss chard, a colorful winter green similar to lettuce and spinach. It was fun getting them to say the name…

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Finding Spirals in the Garden | Foster

Today was so much fun. We spent most of garden class reading an exceptional book called Swirl by Swirl where we discovered that we can find spirals in the nature that’s around us. These spirals illustrate more than just a shape; they have different characteristics like protection, cleverness, warmth, strength, beauty, and more. Sometimes the…

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Banana, Strawberry, Almond Milk Smoothies | Juan Cabrillo

Today was our last week of classes for this rotation. To have a little fun, I taught the first and second graders how to make a basic three-ingredient smoothie with fresh banana, frozen strawberries and almond milk. Each student had an opportunity to put a small amount of an ingredient in the blender. Then, everyone crowded around…

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A Happy Garden | Sullivan

“Rain, rain, go away, come again some other day.” While we are tempted to sing this song lately, the gardens are fabulously flourishing after all of the rain. Sullivan Preschool’s garden has plants popping up in places I didn’t know seeds were planted. And biodiversity has been much easier to accomplish because the entire bed…

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Exploring the Winter Garden at Ramona

Today was the start of a new rotation! After playing a game of “Heads Up!” garden style and discussing garden classroom expectations, we explored the garden space. A lot has changed since these second and third graders have seen the garden last year. Many students commented on the missing sunflower, which was a great chance to…

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Preparing for Rain | Foster

In lieu of the impending rain, I taught the students at Foster about the Water Cycle. With the clouds in the sky above us, and the breeze occasionally swirling, we got to observe the change of weather in action! The water cycle is a beautiful process in which our earth reuses water. It begins over…

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Garden: a Mini Ecosystem | Foster

“What is an ecosystem?” I began. “It is an environment where things live together and depend on each other for survival.” We live on earth. We breath oxygen, receive energy from the Sun through plants and animals, are weighed down by gravity, etc. Our planet is a perfect ecosystem for us to live. We could…

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Rainy Day Erosion Lesson | Ramona

With the rain steady trickling from the sky, today was a perfect day to talk about erosion. Erosion is when rocks and soil are moved from one place to another. Two primary actions of nature cause this: water and wind. Over time, these elements of nature wear away rocks and soil, creating nooks and crannies…

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Harvest Salad at Ramona

“Woohoo!!!” Hoots and hollers filled the air as I announced today’s lesson: making a salad together. As the students filed in and sat at the picnic tables, I split them into three groups: Choppers, Harvesters and Salad Dressing Makers. I gave each group a piece of paper with instructions to read before giving them their…

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Thank you, Bees! | Foster

Today at Foster we learned about pollination — the process where pollinators such as bees, butterflies, hummingbirds and bats spread pollen from flower to flower. What is POLLEN, you ask? It is the yellow dust that is made by the STAMENS in the middle of the flower. (You may recognize it as what makes people sneeze…

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Fungus, Bacterial, Invertebrates, oh my! | Ramona

Okay, so we know that a compost box is kind of magic, right? You toss rotten food and old plants in there and eventually out of the door comes dirt. But HOW does this decomposition happen? I’m glad you asked. 🙂 You see, there are other things in the piles besides moldy apples and brown…

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Spirals in Lettuce | Sullivan

Today was a day for SPIRALS. Me and the kids read a really fantastic book called “Swirl by Swirl” that illustrates how we can find spirals in nature…. So then we looked for them in the GARDEN. This lettuce is a spiral! And a tasty one at that! 😀 This cow pea vine climbing on…

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Nature Gives Us Everything We Need | Ramona

It was a joy to teach fourth and fifth graders today at Ramona Elementary School today. I haven’t spent time with these students since last year and — to be honest — I was a little nervous at the beginning of the day because all semester I’ve been teaching third grade and below. “How am…

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Sun: The Ultimate Energy Source | Juan Cabrillo

Today, at Juan Cabrillo, we talked about where our energy originates. Beginning with the sun, we drew a sequence of images that lead to us (humans). SUN (source of energy) –> PLANTS (producers) –> INSECTS (primary consumer) –> LIZARD (secondary consumer) –> BIRD (tertiary consumer) –> HUMAN (quaternary consumer) The students were really surprised that…

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Lifecycle of Plants Art | Foster

Every kid from preschool up knows that when a seed is planted in the ground, it grows a new plant. All it needs is soil, water and sunlight and – boom – it transforms from a tiny seed to a flower or tree. …but what happens to that little seed? How does it grow? Every…

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Kids Make Pesto at Juan Cabrillo

Our perennial basil plants at Juan Cabrillo have been ready for some time to be used for a delicious recipe. So to finish our first rotation of classes, I introduced a traditional Italian spread to the kids: pesto. In their journals, they drew the four ingredients needed for this recipe: olive oil, Parmesean cheese, basil…

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Layer That Compost! | Ramona

Today, 2nd and 3rd graders at Ramona students learned how to layer the compost bin, just like a cake. This technique is important in our school compost bin to balance the wet ingredients and dry ingredients (what we farmers call nitrogen and carbon). We defined these components as the following: wet ingredients – fruit and…

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