October 14, 2015, Chino Valley-
The little girl registered a mild objection to my changing the morning schedule, from “Science”, which she loves, to “Writing”, in which she has little self-confidence. I had something up my sleeve, which required the presence of the three students who were off being tested.
Outside our south window, there is a fallow garden plot. The school’s director has hinted at “how nice” it will be for the plot to be reseeded, and tended. The day has fallen into my lap. After, lunch, with all the children back in the room, I told them of my lesson plan. We would go out to the garden, and whilst there, brainstorm as to what could be planted. Each child was to make a wish list, with no immediate restrictions, other than that it must be something that will either grow or will help things grow.
After twenty-five minutes, in the garden, some of the eight-year-olds got restless, so we went back inside the classroom. The rest of our class time was spent with each student stating what was on her/his wish list and me recording and tallying the items on the white board. This is a huge deal for several of the kids, not the least of whom is the girl who bemoaned the lack of a science lesson, this morning.
There is much ahead. The students will now need to look up their plants, see what type of soil, planting specifics, watering level and frequency, climate and nourishment they will need, how to guard against pests, which animals best pollinate the plants, and how much work it will take to raise the intended crop.
This will be a major class project, and will be integrative learning, involving reading, math, science, social studies, writing and social collaboration. Add to this, all the rest that is on tap for the year, and we should see measurable growth in this class.