Wednesday, February 17, 2010
Tuesday, February 16th, 2010
When working the kids in the garden, I always feel like a whirlwind is ready to come and sweep me away. Today was no different than the rest. Last week on Tuesday we were rained out, so today was our first meeting with our Tuesday classes.
We started our day out going over the rules of the garden with the Kindergartners. Many of the Kindergartners knew what the garden needed, such as water and sunlight, but initially didn't comprehend what rules we were looking for. Yet, with some coaxing we were able to come to an understanding with them that there's no running in the garden, killing plants, or stepping the beds. Tyler and I divided the class in half, and Tyler's group planted bell pepper seeds in starters while my group planted sunflower seeds around the border, and we then switched. The students were extremely excited to be able to dig in the dirt, and to be able to plant sunflowers. They were all cautious (at the time) of where they had planted their sunflowers, and made sure not to walk there. Hopefully, they'll remember that they were the ones to plant those sunflowers, and make sure to protect them by not walking on them for the rest of the semester.
Our second graders came out after the Kindergartners, and it was definitely interesting to see the difference in cognitive development between the two groups. The second graders knew the rules of the garden and were extremely eager to prove it. Again, Tyler and I divided the class into half, but this time Tyler's group planted beans, and my group watered the garden. I find having the kids break into pairs while watering truly helps since the watering cans are heavy for the students, and it instills a sense of sharing. We made sure not to water the aloe, even though both second grade groups really wanted to. Many of the second graders were curious as to why the sunflowers are dying, but no one realized off hand that the cold was the main culprit. This class was bigger than the Kindergartners, and this was our first time as a pair (versus three people) working with a class. It is definitely a blessing to have a three Eckerd students out a time, but with two and an involved teacher experiential learning is still easy to encourage.
After each shift, I always feel exhausted, yet I feel a sense of accomplishment. I sincerely hope that these students will look back on their elementary careers and remember the garden as wonderful space used to facilitate their learning. Perhaps they will in turn want to start a garden of their own.