Field reports from

Lenicia B. Weemes Elementary School

The edible garden at Lenicia B. Weemes Elementary School was completed in Spring 2014 with the help of Turning Point School. It features in-ground beds tucked into the corner of campus.

Flower Collage Day at Weemes Elementary

Before the holiday, our kindergarten class at Weemes did a very special lesson about parts of a flower. We went over the four parts of a flower including the roots, stem, leaves and flower. After this, each student received their own flower. We slowly and delicately took our flowers apart as a class and each…

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Life Cycles at Weemes

Everything has to eat. Students at Weemes took time to examine exactly what that statement means as we talked about food chains and students explored the place some of our garden creatures occupy on the food chain. Roly-polies eat our tomatoes and strawberries, but birds eat roly-polies and then insects eat the bird after it…

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Fun with Directions at Weemes

In class today we talked about all the ways instructions can be useful. Students brainstormed lots of different new skills they would like to learn how to do. Everything from skateboarding tricks, growing different plants and doing handstands. We discussed how you can find written instructions to help learn how to do almost anything! Then…

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What a Honeybee Knows at Weemes

Since the students have been studying pollination at Weemes, we took the time this week to learn more about our special pollinator friends, the honeybees. We talked about the complex hive democracy that honeybees use and how they work together to find nectar and make honey. Since honey bees can’t talk, they communicate with a…

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Welcoming Spring at Weemes Elementary

The Kindergarten classes at Weemes are studying the four seasons, so to celebrate the first day of Spring we talked about the different plants that grow in each season. While our broccoli and cauliflower plants are nearing the end of their growing season, an exciting new fruit has started bearing- strawberries! So our snack that…

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Pollination at Weemes Elementary

The flowers are in full bloom at Weemes this spring and they gave us a perfect chance to talk about pollination. Our classes discussed the honey bees that have been visiting our sunflowers and Nasturtiums and we learned the importance of pollen for making new seeds. While we explored the garden, students were able to…

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How Do Seeds Grow? at Weemes

We have grown a lot of seeds at Weemes Elementary this past year and it’s always exciting to see the new plants pop out of the ground a few weeks later. But after awhile, we couldn’t help but wonder, “what’s going on underground before our little seedlings appear?” So this past week, each class took…

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Plant Anatomy at Weemes

Elementary students across Los Angeles have to memorize the various parts of a plant each year. At Weemes, instead of learning from pictures in books, we get to study living plants while outside in our garden! After reviewing each part and it’s role, we played a scavenger hunt type game and everyone found examples of…

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Cultivating New Skills at Weemes

As a child it can be hard to feel like you can contribute to the world. We often tell children they aren’t big enough or they don’t know enough. Students with special needs are especially limited in how they can contribute. One benefit of the school garden is that it gives young people a chance…

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Using All Five Senses at Weemes

Our preschoolers LOVE exploring the garden, so they were incredibly excited when the garden lesson this week was almost exclusively exploration time. We discussed each of the five senses and students explored the garden 5 different times, each time focusing on a different sense. By the time we got to taste, class was almost over,…

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Everything Changes at Weemes Elementary

When we harvested the purple cauliflower for our snack, we discovered a hitchhiker: a small garden caterpillar was hiding in the leaves! The students are always excited to see any kind of bug, but this time the excitement turned into a perfect learning opportunity since their teacher has plans to keep the caterpillar in a…

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Hello Garden! at Weemes Elementary

We have a new group of classes coming to the garden at Weemes elementary and this week was an exciting time for garden introductions. After talking about plant needs and how to take care of our garden, the class was excited to take time picking up trash and weeding so our plants can grow even…

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Give and Take at Weemes Elementary

Students at Weemes have been discussing plant needs and soil. This week we gave our plants a little extra soil love, by supplementing the soil with house-made fertilizer from our partner at Taking the Reins. After we added the fertilizer, we harvested tomatoes and lettuce from those same plants and made a little salad treat…

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Scientific Observations at Weemes!

Children are naturally very curious, and the students at Weemes are especially inquisitive in the garden: “Where do plants come from?” “Why do plants need sun?” “Why did the cucumbers die?” Many of these questions we answer in our class lessons, but this week we let our students answer their own questions through the exhilarating…

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The Soil Mystery at Weemes!

Students at Weemes Elementary had a mystery to solve when they came to garden class today- what happens to the wood chips as they lay on the garden paths? After taking detailed observations, the students reported that the wood chips were breaking into smaller and smaller pieces until they looked just like soil! After seeing decomposition…

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Searching for Different Plant Parts at Weemes Elementary

Today we studied 5 important plant parts and talked about their functions. 1)Roots soak up water and nutrients. 2)Stems hold plants upright. 3)Leaves soak up sunlight and air. 4) Flowers attract pollinators so they can turn into… 5)Fruits – any plant part that is full of seeds to grow a new plant. After we discussed…

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Nothing Beats Beets at Weemes Elementary!

Mr. John has been working with us for his nutrition internship this semester, so last class he helped us with a special lesson about the nutritional benefits of colors. We went through all the different plant colors and how they help our body. At the end, Mr. John used some of our tasty garden beets to…

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Lenicia B. Weemes Elementary

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The Magic of Pollen at Weemes

Today at Weemes our classes got to learn how flowers make seeds and fruit. After looking at a few flowers in our own garden, we discussed how bees and other pollinators go spreading powdery pollen from flower to flower as they try to eat. Then we played a game to see if we could spread…

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Rainy Seasons at Weemes Elementary

As the rain continues pouring over our garden, we had another indoor class last week. Luckily, that gave us a perfect segway into our lesson on growing seasons in Los Angeles. We discussed what crops are growing in today’s cool rainy season, including kale which made a delicious snack! We even had time for a…

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Respecting Community at Weemes 

The sun is out and our garden is flourishing at Weemes Elementary, which means we get to have classes outside again! We spent the time searching for all the different insects that live in our garden and then we discussed each bugs role. The students tested their reading comprehension by reading descriptions aloud and sorting…

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Another Rainy Start at Weemes

Last week rain clouds welcomed the new classes at Weemes for the second time in a row. Luckily, the rain provided an opportune context to talk about plant needs and water availability for plants growing during draught. By the end of our lesson several students were very concerned about water use as we rinsed our…

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Building Community at Weemes Elementary 

For MLK Day last week, we had a garden open house, inviting parents and students both to come help plant, learn and harvest in our garden. We had a lot of helpers throughout the day and managed to harvest lots of veggies to send home! Additionally, the garden is looking cleaner than ever and I…

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Rain Offers Good Start for Weemes Elementary

As students planted new seedlings in our garden this week, rain clouds threatened to chase us away. Luckily, we were able to plant all the seedlings between showers and all rain is now watering our new little seedlings! Additionally, the summer crops are still growing well into the winter season so we are still harvesting…

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Six Weeks of Veggie Tasting Pays Off at Weemes Elementary

This week is the last garden class for our second rotation and we have had a lot of different recipes alongside our science lessons and garden exploration. After our class time (where we talked about nutrient and water cycles) we had a final harvest and students made their own hand-held salads using lettuce, chard, squash…

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Talented Gardners Get Twice the Snacks at Weemes

The students did a wonderful job caring for their jars of sprouting seeds this week and since we had a lot of squash growing, we had two snacks after our lesson this week instead of one. Students ate the first snack of sprouted seeds so quickly I didnt even have time to get a picture!…

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Documenting Life at Weemes Elementary

Students brought their notebooks to the garden for our class on seed germination last week. After we disected a seed together, they drew their own diagrams of the parts of the seed and baby plant. At the end of class, we started soaking seeds in a jar to sprout for this week. The classes have…

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Germinate and Grow at Weemes

Everyone knows that plants come from seeds, but how does a baby plant make it’s way out of a seed and into the world? Today we got to see a baby embryo germinating close up as students started their sprouts for next week. After their observations, they took notes by making their own sketches of…

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Looking for bugs at Weemes Elementary

Weemes Elementary has been away from the garden for 2 weeks now due to rain and events. To make up for it, we had a lot of exploration time this week looking for the bugs and vegetables we discussed at the begining of class. Students found all sorts of exciting things, culminating in a snack…

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Rainstorms and Drought at Weemes Elementary

As rainstorms gathered at Weemes Elementary this week, it was too wet and muddy for us to go to the garden. Instead we gathered in the classrooms to talk about plant needs and the importance of water. Students were shocked to learn that without water we wouldn’t have anything to eat or drink since all…

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A Final Fall Harvest at Weemes

Since today is the last day of our first cycle at Weemes, we had a harvest celebration for our snack. Students harvested tomatoes, onions, kale, chard, squash and herbs and seasoned them with lime and salt to make individual, handheld salads. -Ranger eleanor

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Digging in the Dirt at Weemes Elementary

This week at Weemes Elementary we were able to piggyback off of Ms Arias’ soil unit to learn about parts of the soil and taste a sweet vegetable that grows in the ground.  First, we harvested our beets and the students peeled them into long ribbons to mix with salt and apple-cider vinegar. Tasty! Then…

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Off to A Great Start at Weemes

The garden at Weemes Elementary has thrived over the summer! Even though today was just the first garden class, students got to harvest a lot of fresh vegetables. In addition to the ripe veggies, several plants have green fruit that will ripen soon… including a pumpkin patch where we will be hosting Weemes’ Halloween fundraiser…

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Getting ready for October at Weemes Elementary

Weemes Elementary is planning an exciting fall festival with a pumpkin patch for the end of October, so this week we started harvesting pumpkins to display at the festival. We got two big orange ones and theres still several green pumpkins growing deep in the big, leafy foliage! -ranger el

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Planting and Harvesting at Weemes

Students at Weemes Elementary experienced both sides of gardening this week. We started class by planting bean seeds and a small tree tree. Then, after our lesson we learned how to harvest our own tomatoes and make an easy tomato salad with basil and salt. And, let me tell you, Weemes has some great garden…

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Summer Workday at Weemes

We’ve got mulch spread, trees added and fresh seedlings transplanted at Weemes! Thanks SO much to the middle school kids and leaders from Next Step Ministries for their hard work!

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Workday at Weemes

Once again Next Step Ministries has come to the rescue! At Weemes, we really needed some helping hands to spread woodchips, plant trees and bury irrigation tubing. The middle schoolers who participated were fantastic! I enjoyed watching them work together as a team: shoveling mulch in the wheelbarrows, digging holes for the saplings and helping…

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Productive Day at Weemes Elementary

First of all, look at those tomatoes, they’re off to such a great start! Ok so Weemes had some puddles. With detective work and muscle power, we dug up some old irrigation and repaired a few leaks. Here are two but there were three in all! Then we filled in the holes and planted some…

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Pico Rolls & Rollie Pollies

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Cabbage-N-Compost

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Butterflies and Ladybugs at Weemes Elementary

Mes. Lopez’s class has been raising ladybugs and butterflies in the classroom and today was the day for release! We reviewed the benefits each bug pffered the garden and specifically released the ladybug on our cabbage plants to eat the dreaded aphids. As the last butterfly flew off to our flower beds, everyone cheered, happy…

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Harvesting Mania at Weemes Elementary

After spring break last week the garden at Weemes has a lot of new vegetables to harvest!  Our purple cauliflower has bloomed into enormous heads and our kale, lettuce, greens and herbs are growing all over. After our compost lesson, the kids helped harvest and eat lots of cauliflower and we still had plenty left…

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Plant Parts & Pico at Weemes Elementary

This week, we took plant parts and made pico de gallo. The students loved it!  – Volunteer Ashley

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Weemes Elementary Vegetable garden

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Colorful “Tacos” at Weemes Elementary

Last week, students at weemes celebrated their garden harvest by making “chard tacos”. Using a chard leaf as a taco shell they filled their leaves with all sorts of veggies growing in the garden. We were all happily surprised to see so many different veggies growing and ready to harvest as each child filled their…

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