Learning more about plants at Gardner Street and Lenicia Weemes Elementary Schools!


The past couple of weeks at Gardner Street Elementary and Lenicia Weemes Elementary Schools have been very productive!  Students learned about the different parts of a plant, including the roots, stem, leaves, flower, fruit, and seed.  In doing so, they not only furthered their scientific knowledge, but also practiced teamwork and leadership!

Before the lesson, classroom teachers divided their students into three garden groups.  Once in the garden, each group was assigned the task of collectively deciding upon a group name that reminded them of the garden.  While some groups were able to unanimously decide upon a name, others put it to a vote.  Names ranged from great classics like the “Juicy Tomatoes” or the “Hummingbirds” to super creative collaborations.  One Kindergarten group combined their favorite bees with their favorite birds to create the “Honeybirds”.  Another innovative 4th and 5th grade group combined their love for peppers, zucchini, watermelon, and tomatoes and came up with…the “Spicy Zatermatoes”!

Older students worked in groups to test their knowledge and diagram a plant of their own.  Drawing upon individual skills, each group selected a writer, drawer, and presenter.  However, everyone had a chance to participate by sharing their own knowledge of plants.  Some students even identified additional parts of a flower, such as petals, pistils, and pollen!

Younger students worked as a class with the Garden Ranger to learn about the parts of a plant.  Mr. and Mrs. Bumble, friendly visitors (puppets) of the garden, kept the students engaged as they buzzed around, landing on different plant parts.  Students learned how to distinguish parts of a plant based on where it was growing, what it looked like, and other characteristics.

Students explored the garden, identifying and harvesting different parts of the plants.  Students harvested plenty of tomato fruits, zucchini, and basil and mint leaves, which were tossed into a delicious salad complete with hummus, celery stems, carrots, a touch of sea salt, and a side of sunflower seeds. Students were asked to identify what part of the plants they were eating as they enjoyed their snack. Both students and teachers loved the healthy treat!

Students harvested and cut up vegetables to make into a salad!

Students harvested and cut up vegetables to make into a salad!

The following week in the garden, students reviewed and reinforced their knowledge. They matched pictures of fruits and vegetables to the correct part of plant.  Depending on their grade level, student groups were given 1 – 3 pictures of different fruits and vegetables, such as an apple, cauliflower, carrot, and more.  Working in their small groups, students discussed their ideas of what part of a plant each fruit or vegetable might be.  Groups then selected students to paste each picture on a diagram of a plant in the front of the class, matching the pictures to the correct plant parts.

Students were then introduced to winter and summer garden plants and discussed how to know the difference between the two Los Angeles seasons. Students were invited to choose a winter or summer plant, and then as the teacher described a season, they students had to act out either growing tall or shrinking down to become dormant. Children learn and retain information when they are able to use their bodies.

Garden Ranger Traci Demuth showing off some summer fruits!

Garden Ranger Traci showing off summer fruits that the students harvested from the garden!

Students then participated in tending to the garden and even planted some winter vegetables such as cabbage and broccoli into seedling trays. Third and Sixth grade students are caring for the seedlings until they are big enough to transplant to the garden!

Students turn over and add nutrients to the soil in preparation for winter plantings!

Students turn over and add nutrients to the soil in preparation for winter plantings!


Last Days – Dominguez

Testing testing.. 1, 2..   As the school year graciously comes to close, the students get an extra boost of happy-anxiousness. The students also get a extra boost of testing. Lol.. It’s Finals week here at Dominguez and while most students are testing, there are a few of us working in the garden to get…
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Parents help renovate the garden at Riverside Charter!

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New gardens at Wilmington and North Valley YMCA

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Humming Bird Visit at Aspire!

  An unfortunate accident for a hummingbird turned into a once in a lifetime event for the Aspire students! I found a hummingbird with an injured wing the evening before and while I was arranging where to take the little guy, I discovered they needed to eat a few times every hour! So, I took…
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Herbalicious Last Day at Woodlawn!

Our last day’s harvest was so bountiful, that we made a delicious, fresh snack to end the year… Ah bruschetta!!  This classic Italian appetizer is a perfect way to capture the flavors of garden ripened tomatoes, fresh herbs like basil, oregano and chives and of course garlic!  Kindergarten and 1st grade were so excited to…
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Scavenger Hunt at Frank Del Olmo!

As our garden days come to a close, I try to make every day as fun and activity-filled as possible for my students. I realized that their favorite thing to do in the garden is to explore it (and do some weeding!). I made a simple but fun scavenger hunt for the students to do…
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Dayton Digs

We are definitely getting the garden ready for Summer at Dayton Heights Elementary.   It’s the time of year when garden rangers get even more sore than usual!  Lost to prune, pull, plan and plant. Lucky for me the third graders helped quite a bit today digging up the long awaited potatoes…harvesting plenty for all…
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Luke, I am your Fava – Dominguez High

Dominguez High has been a real great growing place. The soil full of nutrients and since we have spent time nuturing the fruit trees, they’ve began to show signs of love to us. Today was all about harvest and mulching with nitrogen rich fava plants…. WE had teams of fava harvesters, teams of cutters and…
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Borage burstin

Borage bursting, Bees buzzin’ lemon sorrel swirling. Are giant sunflower almost coming to a beautiful sun shining state And our greens are growing giant-like and great
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Bruschetta at Kingsley

By Justine Tyler | April 1, 2018

Bruschetta is an antipasto (starter dish) from Italy consisting of grilled bread rubbed with garlic and topped with olive oil and salt. The wonderful kids and I at Kingsley Elementary made this classic dish today. Bruschetta with Tomato and Basil Recipe Prep time: 15 minutesCook time: 20 minutesYield: Makes 24 small slices, serves 6-10 as an…

A plant is what?!

By Sarah Shutman | March 29, 2018

When teaching about gardening, it is impossible to engage students if they don’t know what part of a plant I am talking about! For this lesson, I covered the parts of a plant. I discussed the roots, stem, leaves, fruit and flowers. I brought in a dug up mallow plant (to show roots, stem, leaves),…

Beets are rad(ish)!

By Sarah Shutman | March 27, 2018

Beets are rad(ish)! This year, Valentine’s Day was full of nostalgic excitement, as I remembered my days of elementary school, full of sugary candy and a “holiday”. This was my first year teaching on Valentines Day, and I wanted to share something special with the students of 2nd  Street Elementary. I decided to do a…

That makes a plant?!

By Sarah Shutman | March 22, 2018

For this lesson, I planned to cover plant reproduction via parts of a flower. This was the first lesson that required thinking on my toes and adapting my plan (something that I am quickly learning). I drew out a picture and went over the descriptions. The pre-K and 2nd graders were  lost and distracted. They…

Love Nature

By PJ Johnson | April 12, 2018

Valentines Day at Gardener School Love Nature. We showed our love for nature at Gardener School. The students were allowed to pick the most interesting leaf in the garden from any place in the garden and they had  to write something to it like a poem or a love letter. Ms. Thaviphone class created leaf…

Gardener School – Composting

By PJ Johnson | April 11, 2018

2nd-grade class: We visited the three compost bins in the garden.  Finding Mr. Brown carbon examples and Mr. Green Nitrogen examples to put in the bins.  They gathered brown leaves from the ground and picked three things to identify which it was carbon or nitrogen.  We also looked at a compost thermometer, talking about the…

Pollination at Gardener Street Elementary School

By PJ Johnson | April 10, 2018

Talk to the class about pollination today.   The kids identified the stamen and pollen on the flowers in the garden.  They also took herbs from the garden lemon balm, mint, lavender, sage.  They also identified the pollen on some herb plants.

Van Ness Deep in the Dirt

By PJ Johnson | April 9, 2018

We cleaned up the beds and Ms. Chelsea and Udie pulled weeds together. The students in the VI part of Vaness got their hands deep in the dirt.  Pulling out weeds from the beds especially in areas where we have overgrown vegetation.  We have eaten a lot of Romain lettuce with Hummus because the kids…

Compost Learning at Van Ness School

By PJ Johnson | April 8, 2018

New group of kids learning about compost.  We took a poll as to what [a cup of worm castings] worm poop was just by looking, touching and smelling the worm castings.  The students really were interested in what they could put in the Darth Vader like compost bin

Van Ness School making seed bombs with the VI kids

By PJ Johnson | April 7, 2018

This was a great exercise for the kids especially Udie.  Chelsea the OT specialist at Vanes and I partner to play with our students at Vaness.  Udie also helped to crush roasted eggshells for the compost.