Sunday, April 5, 2009

Inch by Inch, Row by Row, Come and Watch Our Garden Grow

Wow, March certainly came in like a lion for us, roaring in more ways than just weather. For the last few weeks our children and teachers have been struggling with bouts of colds and viruses making it hard for me to find time to post to our blog. Fortunately March left like a lamb and hopefully left us all strong and healthy.

We welcomed April with the groundbreaking of our new school garden. How exciting!

Our ultimate goal is to connect children with the earth creating a 'seed to plate experience'. Since we are a year round Montessori School we can enjoy our garden throughout it's most productive time through the summer. More details on the garden will be posted on a separate blog soon.

In the classroom we are preparing work related to the season and our garden.
We have garden themed three part cards, matching, and science activities.
Just a personal note on making activities: Technology is wonderful. Downloading images, printing, and lamination are tools that were not available when I first started teaching so I really appreciated having these resources available to me now when I make my own materials. That said, I feel very strongly about balancing modern computer created plastic coated materials with hand made materials. There is a texture, a quality, a depth, and an energy to a hand made material that cannot be captured in something mass produced. I realize a card that is not laminated may only last one season, but that is part of the beauty of a hand made material. I also allow the children watch me make the materials. It includes them in the process and helps them value the effort that is invested in making an activity.
Here are two activities I recently put out on our shelves. The first is the life cycle of a pumpkin, a three part card activity I downloaded. The second activity is the parts of a seed sequencing work that I hand painted with acrylics on a parchment-like card stock. FYI the hand painted cards only took about 20 minutes to make and the printed cards took about the same amount of time to print and laminate.

Here is our seed sprouting experiment. We have eight trays. Each with a different combination of seed, soil, water, and light (we choose to keep air as a constant for this experiment).

As an art history and cultural studies unit we are studying the work of Andy Goldsworthy. We have photographs of his work, matching cards, and sequencing cards. We have been making our own sculptures using natural found materials from the grounds around our school. We will also be taking a field trip to visit Cornell's Lab of Ornithology's Sapsucker Woods. Andy Goldsworthy created a sculpture in the woods.

Our language area has been quite popular since we refreshed our initial sound activities with new objects and pictures.
I am always searching for interesting and appealing objects for the more challenging sounds like Q, U, Y, X, Z. Any suggestions?

Our metal inset area has also been quite popular.
TIP: I found these shoe storage racks work great as shelves for the insets. They are the perfect size and height. I think they are sold in home improvement stores as part of closet storage systems.


agaba said...

nice pics

Susanne said...

Great pictures! Thank you for sharing. Your garden sounds like such an exciting endeavour. Good luck!

Lindart said...

Q, U, Y, X, Z.

I have used:
Q-quartz, quail (bird from dollar store), quarter, quilt (made my own little quilt)

U is hard, umbrella, under, underwear

Y-yo-yo, yarn, yak, yellow (could use an old color tablet) -also hard

X-i use ending sounds -box, fox, or leave it out of the sounds work!

Z-zipper, zebra, zig-zag (I drew a zig-zag on a piece of paper and laminated it)

Leptir said...

Seed sprouting experiment seems a lot of fun. I'll try it in my clasroom! Thanks for sharing. :-)

Making of a Montessori Mum said...

Wow! Love the Andy Goldsworthy activities. (: