Category Archives: Classroom Gardening and Composting

One Day In May Big School Garden Dig

Today is one of my favorite days of the year when I am the most proud of my students and school. It is our annual One Day In May project where classes are cancelled for our entire school and students and teachers spend the day volunteering in our community.

This year my school garden project was a site for ten volunteers throughout the day.

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I had no intention of expecting the students to work so hard. But as we dug the sod to level the raised beds we discovered our soil was full of gravel.

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Still, the students kept up a great attitude throughout the day.

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We accepted nearly-level as good enough and completed four frames by the end of the day.

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The garden club starts tomorrow and will pick up where we left off. They will set the remaining frame, build one more, and fill all of the beds with compost, peat moss, and perlite. Then, finally, we will plant some seeds.

I honestly expected to have much more done by the end of the day, but given the road blocks we ran into, I am so impressed by what we managed to accomplish. I am so grateful for these students who worked so hard all day and didn’t even get to participate in the fun part of actually planting vegetables.

A summary of my day would be incomplete without a HUGE thank-you to our Blue Zones community coordinator and all of the help and resources she has sent our way.

I am the very best kind of exhausted and looking forward to a rewarding summer.

I hope what you've read is useful! I post here biweekly with resources for Family and Consumer Sciences and Home Economics teachers and share my classroom happenings much more frequently on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. Sign up to receive an email when new content is added to my blog. Thanks for visiting!

Sustainability Mini-Unit a.k.a. “Plan in a Can”

Water Pollution with Trash Disposal of Waste at the Garbage BeachA recent request on the Iowa FCS teachers Facebook page (Not a member? Join here!) asked for lesson plans for emergency purposes. While I am not nearly organized enough to have an emergency sub binder, I did mention my sustainability mini-unit that I love to do with my Food and Nutrition students if there is time in the term.

Here’s some more information:

Sustainability Plan-in-a-Can

  • Pacific Trash Vortex Video
    • I show this video as an anticipatory set. It was the Pacific Trash Vortex that initially got me interested in sustainability, and a lot of students don’t know it exists. This video goes VERY fast. There are many to choose from but I like this because it is so broad. I pause on the picture of the dead albatross and ask students to identify some of the plastic in the carcass. It is a compelling visual to see that our every day plastics do affect others and that our trash never really goes “away.”
  • Discussion
    • What do you do to support a healthy environment?
    • What do you know you should do, but don’t do to support a healthy environment?
  • Video: Wa$ted, Season 3 Episode 2 “Brady Bunch”
    • I love this Planet Green series. Here’s the premise: A family or business has their trash secretly collected for a month. It is dramatically presented back to them, which is always pretty alarming. The family has their carbon footprint calculated, which is always gigantic. The host counsels the “contestants” to make positive changes for the environment that also save money. After six weeks, the dollar value of the changes made is calculated out over a year and the family/business wins that much money.
    • I like to show the “Brady Bunch” episode because it features a realistic blended family that the students relate to. There is about as much conflict and swearing as you can expect for a family of nine, so preview it just to be safe.
    • Sad truth: Students sometimes lack empathy when they can’t see a direct benefit to them. The dollar signs in this series help a lot.
  • Discussion
    • List some ways the family saved money by making sustainable changes.
    • Which of these changes seem reasonable for you to try?
  • Webquest
    • I used Trackstar back in the pre-Google days. It’s an oldie but goody! Now I use my blog to point students where to go. Trackstar is a tool to make annotated websites. Here’s mine, and here is my accompanying guide.
    • The web quest and worksheet will guide students through information that makes them ponder their lifestyle choices and how they affect others. I especially love the carbon footprint calculator. It is the same one used on the show and makes the information personal to the students.
  • Discussion
    • Again with the discussion! This is a great topic for your students to ponder and a great initiative for you to have in your classroom.

I hope it helps! I love teaching sustainability and hope you’ll give it a try too.

I hope what you've read is useful! I post here biweekly with resources for Family and Consumer Sciences and Home Economics teachers and share my classroom happenings much more frequently on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. Sign up to receive an email when new content is added to my blog. Thanks for visiting!

Sharing the Bounty: Iowans Can Earn Up To a $5,000 Tax Credit for Produce Donated to Food Banks

As if the joy of sharing fresh produce wasn’t enough, Iowans can now earn a tax credit for produce donated to registered food banks. Home gardeners and commercial growers alike can now receive a tax credit of up to $5,000 for something they’ve hopefully been doing anyway: Donating their bumper crops to local food banks.

So if your salsa-making ambitions are waning, here is an extra incentive to gather up those tomatoes and peppers and do good for others.

Some relevant resources:

I hope what you've read is useful! I post here biweekly with resources for Family and Consumer Sciences and Home Economics teachers and share my classroom happenings much more frequently on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. Sign up to receive an email when new content is added to my blog. Thanks for visiting!