I hope everyone enjoyed a wonderful holiday weekend with families and friends! Here is a belated update on our last two weeks together in GAP:
Monday Nov. 16th- To kick off our recycled art week, we talked about the process of collaging, and artist Giuseppe Arcimboldo. Students used last seasons seed catalogs, and plenty of gardening magazines to find shapes and sizes used to create a portrait of themselves or loved ones.
Tuesday - Students continued creating their portrait collages!
Wednesday - We watched a short clip from the documentary Rivers and Tides, about natural sculptor Andy Goldsworthy. After gathering some inspiration, students teamed up and created their own temporary natural sculptures on the Abernethy playground, using found objects from in and around the garden.
Thursday - We continued our natural building on Thursday as we created natural mobiles with found twigs, leaves, berries, and more!
Friday - To bring our week to a close, we created small woven bowls out of recycled plastic containers, and beautiful yarn. Students practiced weaving and creating patterns out of different colors an textures. Then we discussed what we would use our "tiny things bowls" for...some ideas were treasures, interesting rocks, or even as a place to keep a lost tooth :)
Monday Nov. 23rd- To open our theme of the week, students shared some of their favorite family traditions, with a focus on the recipes and foods that are important to each student. One ongoing project for December is the creation of a GAP program cookbook, where students and GAP families can share their favorite recipes with the community. This could also be a great opportunity for students to interview family members about their cultural traditions! We are aiming to have recipes by December 14th so we can assemble our books before the holiday break.
Tuesday - On Tuesday we tried out a new seasonal recipe for pumpkin cookies. We made them a bit heartier and healthier by replacing sugar with honey, and butter with applesauce. The dough was then taken home to be shared with family.
Wednesday - One of my favorite experiences as an educator is when students cooperate to create something new together. Several students found some discarded shoe boxes in the recycling, and the group decided to create a small city out of found objects. It was wonderful to see the imagination, teamwork, and engineering prowess that came together to create a really fun project!
Here is a quick overview of our last week together as well as a preview of this week:
Monday - To kick off our week featuring decomposers, students made a trip out to our new worm bin to check out the progress. After a weekend of settling in, the worms were hard at work breaking down the leftovers from last week's snacks.
Tuesday - Tuesday we delved deeper into the topic of decomposers/scavengers...what kind of organisms and animals are decomposers? Where do they live? What do they eat and how are they important to our ecosystems? Students shared and discussed wonderful ideas about how decomposers help our gardens grow.
Thursday - As a part of our decomposers unit, we discussed and studied the role of Fungi in the garden and beyond. Students studied, drew, and recorded information about their mushroom sample in their science journals.
Friday - Last Friday we came together to prepare simple seasonal treat: toaster oven apple crisp! Students helped chop, measure, and mix to create a healthy and delicious mix of apples, honey, cinnamon, oats, and just enough butter to hold it together. Click for recipe!
Week 11 will be continuing our overall November theme of "produce no waste." Moving from investigations of compost and decomposers, this week will be crafts-based, as students recycle waste into fun and functional art!
I'm here with a quick update on our activities last week, as well as a bit of information on a fun and interactive future activity for GAP families.
Monday & Tuesday: Based on a month of great cooperation and fun, our community deserved a little fall celebration! We celebrated by playing plenty of field games, and watching a bit of the original Willy Wonka's Chocolate Factory (which we've also been reading as a group), while drinking some hot spiced cider.
Wednesday - Students shared what they know about worms: habitat, behaviors, diet, etc. We compiled our knowledge and used it to make plans for our worm bin.
Thursday - Students observed red wigglers donated from a student's own worm bin (thanks Arlo + family), and we went on a hunt for worms in our own school garden. Students also practiced scientific journaling and observation on their own worms!
Friday - We finished construction of our worm bin, adding organic materials to help the worms get comfortable in their new environment.
I'm also forwarding an email here from Lauren Rosenstein, the director of Green Schoolhouse:
Hello families and friends of Green Schoolhouse after school!
Here's a little note from Lauren (the executive director) about what's coming up this month.
The Thanksgiving season is upon us and we are so excited to celebrate as it is a time of year that joyfully celebrates food, family, and our sense of place. This year Green Schoolhouse will be working with each of its after school programs to collect some of your family's favorite autumn/cool weather/Thanksgiving recipes to combine into one delicious "Thankful Cookbook"! We would love for you to either email your recipe to firstname.lastname@example.org or send it in with your child by November 17th. The sooner the better. Feel free to use this as a way to chat with your children about your family traditions surrounding food, stories of days gone by, or the things you used to eat and cook when you were a child. During our after school time with the students we will be talking about the power of cooking together, decorating and building the cookbooks, and preparing a dish or two ourselves. We'll also be telling the original story of Thanksgiving and discussing the food from then and the food we eat now. We would also love to share our thanks with you for all of the support you give to our educators
Here's a link to read a little about the history: http://www.history.com/topics/thanksgiving/history-of-thanksgiving
And a little about the food: http://www.history.com/topics/thanksgiving/first-thanksgiving-meal#
We are thankful for the magic your children bring to the garden!
the Green Schoolhouse
Happy November GAP families! Here is a brief update of our 8th week of the program...
Monday - Students shared and discussed their favorite magical creatures and legends. We read about legends in the garden, especially focused on stories and superstitions surrounding gnomes and fairies.
Tuesday - We went on a hunt for our own very special rocks to decorate to attract gnomes and fairies to a special spot in the garden at school or at home...we even discovered a fairy circle and a "gnome village" in the school garden!
Wednesday - As a class we talked about the magic of wands, and how to hunt for the perfect magic stick. We went on a walk through the school property, and students each collected one wand to make their own! We also discussed ground rules and basic wand safety :)
Thursday - To wrap up our magic in the garden week, we came together to share our plans for the holiday ahead, and created our own fall lanterns to bring a little more light into the dark half of the year. Lanterns were created out of beautiful fall leaves collected by the kids, a little Mod-podge, and some perfectly sized jars!
Our theme for the first part of November is based off of the Permaculture principle "produce no waste". We will be exploring the micro-world of the compost bin, and the decomposers that call it home! Worms, beetles, beneficial bacteria, mushrooms, and more! We will also talk about how we can all reuse and repurpose ordinary objects and natural materials into useful and beautiful pieces of art.
Towards the end of the month, we will shift our focus on indigenous American foods such as potatoes, squash, turkey, peppers, tomatoes, and more. Students will also have a chance to share their own holiday cultural and culinary traditions with the class!
Thanks and happy November 🍁