Calvert – 5th grade highlight reel

Calvert - 5th grade highlight reel 2016 - 2 of 4

Hello Garden Friends,

Oh where oh where has the time gone. It seems like just yesterday when I was welcoming to the 5th graders back to garden class and now they have come and gone. For those of you who missed out on the action and would like a recap of the first group, keep scrolling. Pictures and stories of the last 6 weeks ahead.Calvert - 5th grade highlight reel 2016 - 1 of 4

Let’s start with the featured image: Planting strawberries. Probably the most popular plant in the garden on par with summer watermelons, the kids were very excited to plant these. It was worked into a lesson about plant reproduction. Did you know strawberries make clones of themselves by sending runners out along the surface of the soil?! Explaining clones was not very hard for a bunch of 5th graders who have been fully immersed in Star Wars culture by now. “Why do all clones look the same?” I asked. I called on the kid with the Death Star on his shirt, he gave me wayyy to much information but never the less it came down to genetics. Many plants can reproduce asexually with clones or sexually with flowers and seeds. In addition to strawberries, we also planted garlic to show that bulbs are another way plants can reproduce asexually. As you can see to the right, a student has broken off a clove and very intentionally placed it in the soil. The bottom of the clove (where the roots come out) is facing downwards while the pointy end with the future leaves is oriented towards the sun. The next post will include pictures of the garlic which is already taking off very nicely.

Below is a picture of a time when we played a game very similar to red light – green light. For those of you that don’t know how to play.. essentially everyone minus the caller lines up one one side of the field. The caller then signals the crowd to come, stay, or move slowly using different verbal commands (aka red, green, yellow). However, we put a new garden spin on the game – reinforcing our lesson about the seasons and how all living things preserve foods during times of abundance to survive the winter. Bees make honey, Squirrels stash nuts, and humans can/freeze/dry/pickle/ferment fresh food.

First, I taught the students a phrase, “Food doesn’t go bad, someone else just eats it first.” We thought about the words for a while and I asked them to think of who someone else could be. Bugs! Yes! Mold! Yes! Bacteria! Yes! They were getting it. Then, I asked them how we save food. The fridge and freezer were obvious answers so I used it as an example when the students were lined up across from me. “Now,” I said, “Imagine you are all hungry decomposers trying to get this sliced up apple in my hand. Instead of green light, I’ll say a food that rots quickly. Instead of yellow light, I’ll say a food that decomposes slowly and instead of red light, I’ll say a food that doesn’t go bad.”

What would you do if I said… fresh lettuce? how about orange juice in the fridge? canned peaches?

Calvert - 5th grade highlight reel 2016 - 1 of 1

Calvert - 5th grade highlight reel 2016 - 3 of 4

To the left is a student writing love notes to the garden on a piece of wood bound for a construction project. Why?

Because water thats why.. still confused?

Well, here is some context. Over the summer we installed a new water system so that parents and garden rangers can easily adjust the water system based on the seasonal needs of the plants. Unfortunately, it turned out that the students were all to eager to help with the timer and for several weeks in a row I would come back and the water was off because the dial was turned to the wrong setting.

Maybe now the picture will make sense. The fore mentioned construction project is an irrigation lockbox and I decided I would make the kids part of the solution. While some of the kids were decorating the pieces of wood, others were helping me attached them to a wooden cube I made out of scraps from past garden builds. I asked the students to draw things they would like to see in the garden, or write a poem or phrase that shows your appreciation for the space.

Below is the cube in progress with several students helping me put it together at recess. Now we have reliable water!

 

 

Until next time,

Farmer Jeff

Calvert - 5th grade highlight reel 2016 - 4 of 4

Jeff Mailes

Jeff Mailes is a garden designer and environmental educator working out of Woodland Hills, CA. A Los Angeles County Master Gardener and UC Davis Alumni, Jeff earned his B.S. in Environmental Resource Science in 2012 and has been growing edibles and natives for the past 6 years. Jeff's passion for plants and garden education has led him to school gardens from Los Angeles to Sacramento and all the way up to Portland, Oregon. Now familiar with ecosystems across the West Coast, Jeff has settled back home and works to bring people together over food and inspire the next generation of earth stewards to leave it better than they found it. When not writing about himself in the third person, Jeff enjoys singing with his guitar, going on camping and hiking excursions, and tossing a frisbee around with his friends.

Winter Garden Bounty and Seed Saving at Bushnell Elementary

Last week Bushnell third graders explored the garden and looked for plants that had gone to seed (lavender and Basil) and others with visible seeds (strawberries and snap peas). We then talked about the practice of seed saving. the students were eager to try for themselves! I passed out dried sage and lavender flowers and…
Read More

Learning about Water Conservation with Fifth and Sixth Graders at El Sereno Elementary

Returning from winter break last week students were excited to get out into the garden and see the changes brought about by nearly 31/2 inches of rain! After exploring the garden a bit and snacking on the cherry tomatoes still thriving there we sat down to talk about water conservation. The students were surprised to…
Read More

All About Cilantro at Aspire Gateway

Yes, cilantro is a common herb that most of the kids know is used in the Latin American cuisine. They definitely knew a sprinkling on a taco, pozole or rice gives food a punch of flavor…yum!  But what they didn’t know is that cilantro in also used heavily in the Philippines, Thailand and India. We…
Read More

A Bountiful Harvest

Atwater Elementary is booming with so many plants that are ready to harvest, so the 3rd graders and 5th graders spent their classes making a delicious salad and having a harvest party! We harvested mustard greens and leafy lettuce, chopped them up and put them in a big bowl. We harvested the broccoli and Chinese…
Read More

Warm and Cool Season Planting

The 5th graders had a lesson about our climate, which is a Mediterranean climate. This means we have mild winters and hot summers. So we really have two planting seasons, a warm and a cool season. So it’s easy for us to grow food all year long. The warm season crops, which we plant in…
Read More

Worms!

The 5th graders were so excited to study worms! We discussed the main jobs of a worm — to make tunnels in the soil, eat rotten food, and make soil. We talked about where worms live, their senses, their anatomy, and their diet. Worms do not have eyes. They are very sensitive to bright light…
Read More

Brand New Garden at Erwin Elementary

Erwin Elementary has a brand new garden! The first rotation of garden classes started with three 5th grade classes. Their very first lesson was learning the parts of a seed. We discussed the seed coat which has the job of protecting the seed. We talked about the food storage that gives the seed the nutrients…
Read More

Seed Saving

The 3rd graders spent their class learning how to collect seeds from plants. We discussed that it is important to save seeds to ensure bio and genetic diversity and long term success of a species. We also talked about how early agricultural civilizations saved seeds to plant crops because they did not have a store…
Read More

Loving Leaves at Valley View

Our last class of 2019 was held on a sunny and brisk day at Valley View Elementary.   First graders spent a lot of time discussing the importance of leaves and how they are the plant’s food source and large reason for growth!  We ended our discussion by selecting leaves from mature plants in the…
Read More

Green Energy ~ Woodlawn

For the past four weeks I’ve been blessed to have two Nutrition students from Cal State LA, assist me in my garden lessons here at Woodlawn elementary.  These two were such an asset to the program.  They were excited to dive in and research nutritional aspects as well as help me with garden tasks. Here…
Read More

Slow down, and the garden comes to life!

By Sanjay Gupta | December 18, 2019

This week Castelar students were taken for an observational walk in the garden since it’s been raining most weeks during class. Students used the knowledge they learned over the semester to identify plants and scratch & sniff things that have wonderful aromas. There were insects climbing around, and one in particular was a sure show-stopper!…

Worms Worms Worms!

By Sanjay Gupta | December 2, 2019

This week we learned all about worms and how important they are to the garden! It was raining inside, and Ranger Sanjay has a worm bin so he brought it in for all the kids to see. There were hundreds of them and we learned about how their “castings” are super healthy for garden plants.…

Winter Garden Bounty and Seed Saving at Bushnell Elementary

By Zina Denevan | January 21, 2020

Last week Bushnell third graders explored the garden and looked for plants that had gone to seed (lavender and Basil) and others with visible seeds (strawberries and snap peas). We then talked about the practice of seed saving. the students were eager to try for themselves! I passed out dried sage and lavender flowers and…

Learning about Water Conservation with Fifth and Sixth Graders at El Sereno Elementary

By Zina Denevan | January 20, 2020

Returning from winter break last week students were excited to get out into the garden and see the changes brought about by nearly 31/2 inches of rain! After exploring the garden a bit and snacking on the cherry tomatoes still thriving there we sat down to talk about water conservation. The students were surprised to…

Plants are Alive too! Investigating Leaves at Bushnell Elementary

By Zina Denevan | November 13, 2019

After discussing plant respiration (plants breathe too!) Bushnell elementary 1st and 2nd graders used magnifying glasses to search for evidence. The students were delighted to discover tiny bubbles of oxygen coming from their submerged leaves. To help the concepts sink in we alternated between breathing like humans and animals (inhaling oxygen and exhaling carbon dioxide)…

Seed Exploration at Bushnell Elementary

By Zina Denevan | September 21, 2019

This week’s lesson was all about seeds at Bushnell elementary. Students broke open pre-soaked pinto beans to discover the baby plants inside. Once located they shouted with excitement, “Look, I found the embryo!” Students then used magnifying glasses to get a closer look. After talking about the parts of a seed and what they need…

42nd Street Students delighted to decorate

By Harriet Shaham | December 18, 2019

Indoors and outdoors, the students at 42nd Street School were delighted to decorate their school with images related to gardening and growing

Angeles Mesa kindergarteners thrilled about compost

By Harriet Shaham | December 18, 2019

The kindergarten students were excited to learn about how compost feeds other plants, and they were energized to help tear up weeds and other plants to facilitate decomposition.

Audubon Middle students gentle with seedlings

By Harriet Shaham | December 18, 2019

The middle school students at Audubon were so gentle as they planted seedlings

Kindergarteners love the garden at Angeles Mesa

By Harriet Shaham | November 28, 2019

Kindergardeners loves all the hands on exploring and work at Angeles Mesa. They proudly shared their successes in weeding many of the beds. Upon discovering a monarch Caterpillar, the children oohed and ahhed at its unique pattern. Before planting seeds, each youth examined and admired the potential plants they could create. Finally, the youngsters took…