Field reports from

Juan Cabrillo Elementary School

The edible garden at Juan Cabrillo Elementary School was completed in Spring 2014 with the help of Kaiser Permanente. There are nine raised beds resting on concrete.

Tasty Cantaloupes at Cabrillo

It’s been a joy to teach Ms. H’s Special Day Class students this rotation. Their favorite things to do have been watering the plants with us and exploring the garden for bugs and tasty vegetables. Today’s lesson was about fruits; I brought a cantaloupe to show the students and we cut it open to see…

Read More...

Welcome to Cabrillo’s Garden

Though my second graders from last year have moved on to a new school, I am happy to be back at Juan Cabrillo to teach a new group of students. Many faces are actually quite familiar, so introducing myself and Mr. Frank to the kids was more like, “great to see you again!” Even so, we…

Read More...

Juan Cabrillo Elementary

Read More...

Bee jobs and honey at Juan Cabrillo

Yummm… there’s nothing like fresh honey! Mrs. S brought her tea-making kit and a jar of genuine honey+honeycomb to class; and together, we taught her TK class about how fresh herbal teal is made, with chamomile, lemon balm and mint. After the kids smelled the aromatic leaves, the adults steeped the herbs in warm water. While…

Read More...

Pollen, Nasturtiums and Tea at Juan Cabrillo

Today’s class with the transitional-kindergarteners was so much fun. Mrs. S helped me teach her class about bees and their role in the garden. We talked about how bees go to flowers to look for nectar to bring back to the hive to make honey for their families. One bee collects enough nectar to make…

Read More...

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…

Read More...

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…

Read More...

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…

Read More...

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…

Read More...

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,…

Read More...

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…

Read More...

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…

Read More...

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…

Read More...

Compost Layers at Juan Cabrillo

I love that Frank and I get a chance to hang out with several recess periods throughout the day in between garden classes. The kids gleefully skip over to the garden to help us with whatever needs to get done. The tasks could be as simple as pinching flowers off the basil bushes, removing brown…

Read More...

Seeds in Nature at Juan Cabrillo

Today’s class was dubbed “The Seed Laboratory.” Everything we talked about was related to SEEDS. After drawing the three parts to a seed (coat, food and embryo) and remembering how a seed grows, we talked about how plants produce more seeds so they can grow again. The kids instantly knew that seeds develop in a…

Read More...

Special Ed is Inspired at Juan Cabrillo

It is a pleasure to see the same students this year at Juan Cabrillo Elementary. Most of the students know me and Frank by name and are especially keen of the garden space, asking during recess for chocolate mint, kale, lemon balm and spicy nasturtium flowers. One class that has been coming to visit is…

Read More...

Cucumbers & Tajin at Juan Cabrillo

I think my students at Juan Cabrillo have a new favorite snack: Cucumber and tajin! It’s too bad our cucumbers are nearly finished but the kids seem eager to find other things to sprinkle with the spicy and tangy seasoning. Swiss chard, nasturtium leaves, dinosaur kale and tomatoes. I’m thrilled that these students are so…

Read More...

The Sun Gives Energy to the Earth | Juan Cabrillo

A great way to observe the life in a garden is to discuss the Garden Food Chain. Many of my students have already been exposed to this but it was great for them to learn it in a Nature setting. Gleaning from their memories, I volunteered their help in creating a 5-step example of a…

Read More...

Juan Cabrillo’s Garden is Ready for the School Year!

After a full summer of pruning, composting, planting and watering, I am happy to declare that Juan Cabrillo’s garden is ready for the new year! Just look at these beautiful plants!

Read More...

Juan Cabrillo Summertime!

With intern Cindy’s help, both her and I worked hard at Juan Cabrillo today. We pulled out old plants, planted new seedlings, watered the plants with AMAL superfood, and chopped up and flipped one of the two compost bins. There’s still a bit to do (adding mulch to the top of the beds, planting more…

Read More...

Feeding the Plants with Amal at Juan Cabrillo

The kids LOVE watering at Juan Cabrillo! Without hesitation, they’d rather work in the garden during recess than hang on the monkey bars or run around in the soccer field. Frank and I don’t mind – we love the kids right back for their willingness to beautify their school garden! 🙂 Today we watered the…

Read More...

Kids Make Hummus! | Juan Cabrillo

Today we made hummus with the kids. After I introduced the ingredients that were used, each student had a chance to add something to the food processor: garbanzo beans, kale, onions and olive oil! Some students harvested the fresh veggies from the garden to add to the hummus. We all eagerly watched the ingredients blend in…

Read More...

Nature Boards | Juan Cabrillo

Today was such fun! The kids got to use their own creativity to create art in their garden. We went on a scavenger hunt to collect 5 items to contribute to individual nature boards and then went to work gluing and pasting (and holding our paper for dear life, as the wind was quite gusty!)….

Read More...

Flowers for Mom | Juan cabrillo

Happy Mother’s Day weekend!!! The kids, dressed in their cowgirl/boy hats, handkerchiefs and braids for Western Day, were very excited when I told them they could pick flower in the garden for their dear moms! 🙂 We picked blanket flowers, poppies, Thai basil flowers and mint!

Read More...

Releasing ladybugs | Juan Cabrillo

What a giggly day! After reading a story about ladybugs’ lifecycle, we took a look at some REAL LIVE lady beetles. Whilst some flew in our hair and some fluttered on our shirts, some ladybugs politely remained on the table to show off their six legs and many spots. 🙂

Read More...

Watching the Clouds | Juan Cabrillo

Today, we observed the recent rains — the puddles on the ground, the sky above full of different colored clouds, the direction of the wind … Why are some clouds white, why are some black, why are some grey? Which way is the wind blowing the clouds? Which way is North, South, East and West? Frank and…

Read More...

Yummy salad!! | Juan Cabrillo

Today was so much fun I nearly forgot to take pictures! Frank and I made salad with each class, even TK! We split the kids into groups: One group helped to harvest garden-grown lettuce, mizuna mustards, curly kale, Russian kale and dinosaur kale, chard, onions, borage flowers, nasturtium flowers and radishes. Another group chopped store-bought…

Read More...

Rainy Day Explorers | Juan Cabrillo

I was so impressed by the kids who didn’t care to get wet today. The garden is a different place when it’s raining!

Read More...

Seed Laboratory | Juan Cabrillo

Today we examined different kinds of seeds and wrote down our observations. Frank and I split the kids in half … One table passed around clear bags, filled with different seeds (but unlabeled!) and wrote comments on what the seeds looked like and some guesses on what the seed would become if planted. Some seeds were…

Read More...

Wiggly Worms | Juan Cabrillo

“Grandpa, do your plants like to eat vegetable peelings?” From this video, the Kindergartners at Juan Cabrillo learned from Peppa Pig what goes in the compost (fruit and vegetable peelings), what a compost bin is (it holds the peelings), what happens to the things that go in it (it turns into earth, called compost) and…

Read More...

Ladybugs | Juan Cabrillo

Intern Frank brought some ladybugs to class today and we discussed the lifecycle of these polka dotted beetles. They start as eggs, then hatch as larva, shed their skin four times before becoming a pupa and shed their skin one more time to become a ladybug. All the while they eat aphids, a tiny bug…

Read More...

Ladybugs Arrive | Juan Cabrillo

Funny how one way to attract (and keep!) good bugs in the garden is to have bad bugs first… Juan Cabrillo has had an aphid problem for some time now. Frank and I tried solving the problem by a) pulling out hopeless plants b) planting things that would deter them like onions and flowers. And…

Read More...

Heart Shaped Leaves | Juan Cabrillo

What shapes, textures and colors can we find in the garden? The special ed kids took their last week as an opportunity to explore and water the plants. We found heart shaped leaves on a sunflower plant — just in time for Valentines’ Day 😀 – Ranger Hope

Read More...

Learning about VermiCulture at Juan Cabrillo

Curtis Thomsen graciously visited Juan Cabrillo to teach over 100 kids about creating worm bins, what worms eat and the necessity/value of worm castings and worm tea. Students from preschool to second grade attended the classes to listen about the diet that worms like to eat — worms are vegetarians! They have no teeth but…

Read More...

Winter Salad by 1st Graders | Juan Cabrillo

Upon returning to Juan Cabrillo’s garden this week, I was OVERJOYED when seeing the abundance of veggies that were ready to harvest!! (Ideally, I expected this to happen at all my gardens but JC was the only successful one – there must be somethin’ in the soil that makes the plants grow so well!) Slightly…

Read More...

Hummus Nasturtium Burritos | Juan Cabrillo

Mmmm what a great day to end a unit with Kinder and 1st graders. Together we made homemade hummus; every student got a chance to add something to the food processor and taste the result at the end… Recipe: 1 can chick peas (save liquid) 1 clove garlic 2 TBS olive oil a few leaves…

Read More...

Water Cycle | Juan Cabrillo

With the coming rains, I thought it would be a good idea to highlight the water cycle and some Water Fun Facts with the kiddos today. Together, we discussed the different steps water goes through to care of the earth: WATER CYCLE: Evaporation (water turns into vapor when heated up) Condensation (water presses together into…

Read More...

Buzzy pollinators | Juan Cabrillo

Buzz buzz! Today we pretended we were bees in the garden, collecting nectar for the hive to make honey. After learning about four different pollinators (bats, hummingbirds, butterflies and bees) and what in the world pollination IS, we played this relay game… – Ranger Hope

Read More...

Five Senses | Juan Cabrillo

Happy Friday! Today started the second unit of classes at Juan Cabrillo. The classes consist mostly of young kiddos so we started this morning with a Five Senses Lesson. We walked around the garden as explorers to SEE, TOUCH, SMELL, HEAR AND TASTE 🙂 A lot of listening came from city sounds like kids playing…

Read More...

Vertical Gardening | Juan Cabrillo

For several weeks I’ve been eyeing the pallets leaning against the side of the shed at Juan Cabrillo. And three months before, I’d started some succulent clippings in my backyard. Thanks to Pinterest inspirations, I knew that pallets could be turned into vertical gardens. So when Intern Frank and I had a week to ourselves…

Read More...

Garden Pesto!! | Juan Cabrillo

Since the first day I stepped foot onto Juan Cabrillo’s campus, I was overwhelmed by the amount of basil bushes in their garden! Over the summer, this herb seeded and spread to five different areas. But who’s complaining? 😉 By keeping them routinely pruned over the last month, the basil plants are beautiful and the…

Read More...

Special Ed loves watering at Juan Cabrillo!

The mysterious mist was a lovely accompaniment in garden class today. The kids didn’t notice (oddly!) but Mr. Frank and I loved the break from the hot weather. As with my other schools this week, I taught my second graders this morning about the parts of the plant and we went on a scavenger hunt…

Read More...

Three Soil Types at Juan Cabrillo

Phew! It was a hot one today!! So much for the first day of autumn a couples weeks ago 😉 Intern Frank and I did our best to hydrate ourselves in between teaching a soil lesson, instructing recess kids what to add to the compost bin and pruning basil & tomato plants. Today we learned…

Read More...

Winter Seeds at Juan Cabrillo

Wow, Juan Cabrillo’s garden is beautiful and so self-sustainable! Intern Frank and I worked on pruning and pulling out lots of basil, tomatoes and squash, making room for new crops! With the kiddos we learned how to get soil ready to plant — we turned and raked the soil so it was nice and soft…

Read More...

First Day at Juan Cabrillo

What a beautiful day to begin at Juan Cabrillo. The breeze was cool, the sun was out, a hint if fall was in the air…. The Lesson included introductions with each other and the garden rules, garden exploration, harvesting & tasting. After a long summer, lots of work needed to be done in each bed,…

Read More...