The Accelerated School

Seasonal foods at TAS!

With the changing weather and coming Spring season we’re getting ready to plant new seeds at The Accelerated School.  We talked about how different crops love different climates and weather and which ones we can expect to see in the months ahead.  The students drew pictures of the different seasonal plants we see in the…

Read More

A Butterfly’s Life…Part III at TAS

We were lucky enough to wrap up our unit on the life cycle of the Monarch butterfly with the presence of some Monarchs!  We talked about why butterflies and pollinators in general are critical to the health and prosperity of gardens and the vitality of all plants. We have also been enjoying the fruits of…

Read More

A Butterfly’s Life….Part II at TAS

We have been lucky enough to have the opportunity to watch the life cycle of the beautiful Monarch right in The Accelerated School Garden.  We observed many more caterpillars but upon further investigation we spotted many chrysalis!  We learned about this stage of a butterfly’s life and how their metamorphosis occurs.  We’re hoping to catch…

Read More

A Butterfly’s Life at TAS

We had the beautiful joy of discovering Monarch butterfly caterpillars in TAS garden! They were crawling all over the beds thanks to our milkweed plant, which captured the Monarch’s attention.  This was the first class where we learned about the Monarch and the butterfly’s life as a caterpillar.   Ranger Daphne

Read More

Edible Parts of A Plant with TAS!

For this lesson we learned that we eat every part of the plant.  Vegetables represent different parts of the plant and the students were most surprised to learn that we eat roots!  They were also surprised to learn how many vegetables are technically the fruits of plants. The lettuce is growing beautifully during the beginning of…

Read More

Insect Hunt at TAS!

We were on the hunt for garden insects this week.  After learning about beneficials and pests the students used their magnifying glasses to exam plants for critters. We also saw progress in seeds we planted the week before in some empty ground space where the pumpkins used to live.  The snow pea seedlings look healthy…

Read More

Compost Memory Game at TAS!

We continued with our composting lesson at TAS by trying to fill out some worksheets from memory.  The students had to fill in the blank with things we do and do not compost and what to do with things that we cannot compost.  We also walked around the garden and gathered materials to add to…

Read More

To Compost or Not to Compost….!

We had lots of fun at TAS learning about what we should and should not include in our compost pile.  The students learned quickly and practiced what they learned with a composting worksheet.  They colored everything suitable for composting and left the rest blank!     Lots of eggplant at TAS as well!  The gift…

Read More

Garden Tea Scavenger Hunt at TAS!

We had lots of fun at The Accelerated School playing a garden scavenger hunt for herbs for some tea!  The students found lots of basil and mint that we crushed up together to flavor our water and try as a tasty treat! The students discussed the observations they made that distinguish the basil plant from the…

Read More

Seedlings with TAS!

Lots of seedlings were started with The Accelerated School last week.  Each class voted on what cool weather crop they wanted to plant and the winners were broccoli, arugula, cauliflower and radish! We all can’t wait to watch the seedlings grow and transplant them into the garden!  And we made sure to review the parts…

Read More

I Spy…..Friend or Foe!

With all of the digging up at TAS we have been seeing lots of critters so it was time for us to learn the difference between our friends and foes of the garden. Some students found a friendly garden spider crawling on our of our garden beds! And there were lots of veggies harvested by the…

Read More

The Accelerated School’s Pumpkin Patch

It’s been a few weeks since I’ve visited the Accelerated School. I popped in the other day to check on the plants and holy pumpkins! The tiny plants that were against the wall last month have since crawled across the garden to the fence, dotted with 10 HUGE 50-lb pumpkins smiling their orange, pumpkin-y smile.…

Read More

The Accelerated School is Beautiful

I love going to The Accelerated School to check on their garden across the street because it is smack dab in the middle of the neighborhood, which means neighbors notice it! Just today a nearby tenant saw me pull up and carry things to the garden gate. Immediately, she asked if I wanted help! I…

Read More

TAS – I Spy

Hello Garden Friends, I spy with my little eye something red that grows under ground and tastes sweet instead of spicy.. what am I? If you said a beet you are absolutely right! They are growing so well here that I thought I would have the students of each class find the biggest one they…

Read More

TAS – Medicine Doctors

Hello Garden Friends, Last week at The Accelerated School I taught a lesson about plant medicine using a mortar and pestle. I had the children search the garden for smelly plants because the smell is usually an indication of medicinal properties. Most of them ran to harvest seeds from the nasturtium and boy did we…

Read More

TAS – Edible Fossils

Hello Garden Friends, Last Thursday at TAS we made our own fossils! It was a perfect lesson to reinforce what some of the students had learned at their trip to the La Brea tar pits. The fossils were basically handmade corn tortillas with leaves pressed into them. 1 cup of flour, 1 cup of water,…

Read More

TAS – Corn Sprouts and Water Spouts

Hello Garden Friends, Today at The Accelerated School I thought I would spend some time explaining where our water comes from in the garden since last week I talked about soil. Where water comes from is debate-able considering it exists in a cycle. However, I chose to start with rain and snow in the mountains. Because…

Read More

TAS – Candy Stripe Beets

Hello Garden Friends, Presentation, presentation, presentation… I tell ya, nothing gets kids to try new foods quicker than a fancy display. Or ranch dressing.. it seems like kids will try any vegetable if it has ranch on it 🙂 ANYWAYS… before I had the students harvest some beets, last week at The Accelerated School, we talked about…

Read More

TAS – Seed Potatoes

Hello Garden Friends, This week we pulled out some potatoes to see how the plant stores its energy in its tubers. Don’t worry – we left several in the ground to get bigger. This was part of our 6-plant parts lesson. To augment the lesson we walked over to our bolting lettuce plants where we…

Read More

TAS – Carrot Harvest!

Hello Garden Friends, This Thursday we had a rockin’ carrot harvest! Every student that walked into the garden got to pull their own carrot out of the soil! It is so gratifying to have such abundance. Because of the amount of students that cycle through the garden it can be hard to keep up with the…

Read More

TAS – Lasagna Compost

Hello Garden Friends, First Sunflower Bloom! Spring has just arrived but some days it feels like summer is here! Last Thursday at The Accelerated School I worked with some students who were actually volunteering on their spring break! What dedication! We got lots done including flipping the compost into the next stall and built back up…

Read More

TAS – Tomato Transplants

Hello Garden Friends, This week at TAS the first graders planted some tomatoes. They already had some good practice because of our experience with the potatoes they planted earlier. Like the potatoes we planted them deep – pulling off the leaves and burying the nodes underground. This encourages the new transplants to focus on root production…

Read More

TAS – Calendula with Kindergarten

Hello Garden Friends, Last week with the Kindergarten students we pulled apart calendula flowers looking for some seeds to sprout. We checked the different stage of flower development and made sure that each seed was dry before plucking it away from the bees. The high school classes joined us in the afternoon and we continued…

Read More

TAS – Behind Enemy (water) Lines

Hello Garden Friends, This week the high school students with Ms. Yousef’s Environmental Science class were battling bermuda grass in the trenches. The fierce war was waged over a new water pipeline which would feed the eastern side of the garden. We secured the outer perimeter with some soaker hoses which will feed a new crop of pole…

Read More

TAS – Yes, there’s a plant for that

Hello Garden Friends, Last Thursday at TAS, we talked about everything that plants provide for us. Cotton for clothing, wood for housing, fruits and veggies for eating, luffas for washing our bodies, and cabbages to dye our clothing (to name a few). To really drive home how cabbage makes colors, I had the students massage some…

Read More

TAS – Planting Potatoes

Hello Garden Friends, This week the first graders brought their terrariums out to play. Ceremonially, we released their wheat, rye grass, potatoes, and pillbugs “out into the wild.” The potatoes found a safe home inside our raised beds, the grasses were harder to transplant so we used them to make the pillbugs feel more at…

Read More

TAS – The third graders have landed!

Hello Garden Friends, The third graders have finally arrived! The high school students and I have been busy preparing the space and making it safe so that their younger schoolmates can visit. This morning we talked about the 6 plant parts with one of my favorite songs by the Banana Slug String Band called “Roots,…

Read More

The Accelerated School – White Point Nature Preserve

Hello Garden Friends, This last Thursday was extra special. I got the opportunity to take the third graders on a field trip to Palos Verdes and visit the White Point Nature Reserve. This reserve is a refuge for many species of endangered butterflies that rely on specific plants in order to complete their life cycle.…

Read More

The Accelerated School – garden picking up speed

Hello Garden Friends, This Thursday at The Accelerated School we prepped beds and planted seeds. I am particularly excited about a special project you see in the picture below. In an effort to get rid of some of the tree trimmings and waste wood we have lying around the site, we are digging a large…

Read More

TAS – Native Garden Orientation

Hello Garden Friends, This Thursday at The Accelerated School was the first ranger meeting with the students. I visited with 3 third grade classrooms and got them pumped up about their field trip on October 22nd the White Point Nature Education Center in Palos Verdes. There seems to be a partnership developing between the school…

Read More

A great day of work at The Accelerated Schools garden

Today, I, along with two other interns, Amy and Anh, had the opportunity to work with a church group from Ohio at The Accelerated Schools garden. We cannot thank them enough for all of their help! We were able to rid the garden of weeds, harvest some delicious onions, carrots, and apples, and prune away dead…

Read More

An apple a day keeps the doctor away

If the saying is true, the students at The Accelerated Schools have nothing to worry about, as their garden is flush with full grown apple trees that border the garden beds. The garden also features a big, bright sunflower plant and a prolific fig tree in the corner. Who needs an apple orchard when you have…

Read More

Native plants at TAS

The past few weeks at TAS we have been focusing on one really important topic: the drought. Many students were well aware of the drought having heard it on the news already. Concerns were brought up around how much water we consume everyday, and what being in a drought would mean in terms of gardening.…

Read More

Learning About Bees at The Accelerated School

Kindergarteners came into the garden to learn about the anatomy of bees and how they help the environment. Luckily, a tree by the entrance had a swarm of bees collecting pollen. The students gathered by a bush near the tree and reviewed the bee’s main parts. They learned that a bee had a head, thorax…

Read More

Too much greenery at TAS

It’s a new semester at The Accelerated Schools, and the rain showers that occurred throughout the winter break has really accelerated the  growth of the garden – as well as weeds! Two most common weeds present are: cheeseweed and stinging ivy. My favorite of the two is neither, but if I really had to choose,…

Read More

Picking Apples at TAS

This week at TAS, the trees are teeming with ripe apples and everyone is excited to have some! We harvested a good tub full of apples, and were excited to share them with the school faculty and staff members.   The kindergarten classes came out first with their drawing notebooks, and the major theme for…

Read More

Learning about the soil at TAS

For the past two weeks at The Accelerated School, we have dedicated our time in learning about the soil. Students learned that soil is actually made up of 97% old rock, leaving only 3% organic matter. This comforted them a little bit during our activity, where they went to a different part of the garden…

Read More

Build Day at The Accelerated School

This past Saturday, 12 incredible UCLA students came to volunteer at The Accelerated School. With enough coffee for 40 people, we set out to transform this empty corridor of planters (see picture below) into a native plant garden. The intention is to create a living museum of plant species that grow naturally in the Californian…

Read More

First few weeks at The Accelerated Schools

Here at The Accelerated Schools (TAS), classes have begun signing up to be a part of the garden program. Each week, there are about 6 kindergarten classes that come out to be in the garden, and one Grade 6 + 7 leadership class that comes in the afternoon. The garden is looking great, things are…

Read More

New Garden at The Accelerated Schools!

Today EnrichLA gathered with community volunteers to build a new edible garden for the students at The Accelerated Schools!  The new garden is located in a formerly unused lot across the street from the TAS campus. Much was accomplished today, including removal of trash and other waste, leveling the ground, building 11 new raised garden…

Read More