I hope you've all had a chance to enjoy the beautiful weather these past two weeks! We've certainly enjoyed it in GAP, and have taken the opportunity to spend more time outside learning, playing, and planting in our garden.
Week 1: Week one of Spring term was all about the SUN...what it's made of, how it works, and how we can capture some of its energy here on Earth. We created solar art with photo-sensitive paper, and also built two solar ovens using recycled pizza boxes. Using our ovens and the power of the sun, we created our own crayons, and even made S'mores.
Week 2: We planted tomatoes, radishes, and carrots, and tended to our winter crop of sweet peas. On Wednesday we celebrated the sun with homemade lemonade, and on Thursday also celebrated the Harvest of the Month by cooking a delicious black bean recipe with guacamole.
Our theme for the first month of Spring term is valuing diversity, both cultural and ecological. Together we will be discussing and learning about how diversity in our various communities makes the whole system stronger, healthier, and more beautiful. Week 3 will be focused on learning more about the cultural and culinary traditions of indigenous peoples of the Pacific NW, while week 4 will delve into the importance of native plants and animals.
(Parents and students in class on Monday: Your tomato starts will need to sit in a sunny window inside until they have at least two large leaves, and/or until nighttime temps. are above 50 degrees consistently. This heirloom organic variety is called "Brandywine" and will yield large, sweet and juicy tomatoes. While seedlings are small they will need frequent watering, usually a bit every day. Once large enough, they can be planted outside in a sunny spot, either in a container or directly into clean soil....more info through the link: http://www.highmowingseeds.com/organic-non-gmo-seeds-brandywine-tomato.html)
Happy Spring term :)
The last few weeks of our winter term were filled with delicious recipes, creative projects, and explorations in the garden and grounds.
During week 9 we studied the life cycle of plants through observation and taste. We cooked our way from seed to fruit with five delicious recipes: roasted pumpkin seeds, roasted root veggies, kale chips, cauliflower popcorn, and banana bread.
Week 10 focused on a highlight of spring: flowering trees! We took a garden walk to identify some of the flowering trees at Abernethy: plums, pears, apples and more! Students observed the trees through taking a bark rubbing, and sketching the leaves and flowers of their favorite tree. Later in the week we discussed the function of flowers and collected samples to press for a project later this term.
Our last week before spring break the GAP students created their own project to celebrate spring in the garden: constructing a fairy and gnome village / "bug hotel" for the natural space behind the gazebo. Students put their amazing imaginations and creative problem solving to work to construct beautiful decorations to add to the magic of the garden. Using recycled, repurposed and found objects the GAP students worked together beautifully to make their vision a reality!
One piece of news we are very excited about in the GAP program is starting this Tuesday, March 29th, we will have a new educator joining the GAP team. Hannah Maurer is an educator who brings passion and experience in outdoor and experiential learning to our community.
Look for more spring fun in our new Garden of Wonders Instagram account, where this sweet Fairy Garden photo below appears!
I'm here with an update and photos from the past three weeks in GAP. We have been cooking and eating, sowing seeds, prepping our raised beds, and getting ready for SPRING!
During week 6, our theme was "spring ahead," and was a week filled with planting starts: snap peas, kale, borage, lettuce, and more! We finished out the week Friday with a new favorite recipe: Pea pesto on crostini.
Week 7 our theme was "will it waffle?" Students collaborated in our GAP kitchen to create a quick berry jam, which we used to top whole grain oat waffles. On Thursday we made delicious cheddar and chive savory waffles. On Friday students put their artistic skills to work designing signs for our garden!
This past week, with the initial positive reports back about the soil tests, we finally spent some time back in the GAP garden (using precautions such as gloves, handled tools, plus new organic potting soil in the raised beds from a nursery). Students worked hard to put in the last of our three raised beds, and found many worms and other invertebrates hard at work! On Thursday and Friday we created wildflower "seed bombs" with clay, organic compost, and wildflower seeds to help support pollinators in our garden. Seed bombs are a great way to garden with kids, as it requires nothing more than making and throwing mud pies! With the rain this week, our garden should be blooming in no time :)
All the best,
In weeks 4 & 5, students delved deeper into the themes of animal adaptations, ecosystems, and habitats. Students explored diverse habitats, with an emphasis on the unique temperate forests of the pacific northwest. As a group we investigated why and how features such as feathers, fur, claws, beaks, talons, etc. help animals to adapt to their unique environments.
In week 5, students created individual "shoebox habitats" (using clay as well as natural and other found materials) for an animal of their choosing. Students either chose an existing animal, or used their imaginations to create a new animal, explaining how and why their animal adapted to their particular habitat. It was amazing to see the depth, creativity, and hard work students put into their projects!
Over the coming weeks we will be spending more time in our garden plots, measuring, planning, planting starts, and getting ready for the magic of the growing season. 🌱
All the best,
Hello GAP families,
Here is a quick update of what we've been up to over the past two weeks:
Week 2 -
Our theme for the month of January is the garden in winter. We kicked off week 2 by taking a closer look at winter weather, from how it forms to how it affects the earth around us. Students shared their knowledge about weather patterns, as we learned more about clouds and precipitation through fun, hands-on experiments! We created our own rain clouds in jars to observe how moisture condenses and then falls as rain, and also created our own fog to study what happens as warm and cool air mix. Also back by popular demand: quick pickles!
Week 3 -
This week we continued our theme of winter in the garden by shifting from weather in week 2, to looking at how plants have adapted to survive winter conditions. Our time together was spent focusing on observing, cooking, and tasting different root vegetables and talking about the vital role they play in providing food and other essential services to humans, animals, and the ecosystem during the winter. Students taste-tested beets, carrots, yacón, and radish and created a shaved root veggie salad. On Thursday we also created our own ink from red beets, and used the ink on Friday to create drawings of root structures, as well as playing with potato stamps.
Best wishes, and hope you're all getting to enjoy the SUN :)
Hello GAP families,
Although the icy weather made this week shorter than usual, we made the most of our three days together:
To start 2016 and winter term off right, we began by making a "wishing tree" that we hung in the garden. Students shared the highlights of their holidays, and we reflected on what we all wanted to bring into our lives in the new year. Students then wrote their wishes (both for the garden, and in life in general!) and hung them up in the garden to share.
On Thursday and Friday we cooked two traditional new year recipes: Vietnamese salad rolls, and homemade corn bread! Even in January we discovered fresh herbs hiding out in the garden...we hunted for mint to roll up with carrots, cucumbers, basil and rice noodles.
Looking forward, in January we will be wearing our science caps: focusing on hands-on activities and exploration of weather systems, and the survival of plants and animals in the winter garden, including adaptations, evolution, and natural v. artificial selection in plants!
Hello GAP families~
I hope you've all had a happy and restful holiday full of family, friends and delicious food! I apologize for the lateness of these updates, but hope you'll still enjoy the photos and a little look back at how we spent the last two weeks of fall term together.
The end of fall term was focused on sharing our gifts with each other and our families. These gifts included food, art, found natural objects, and handmade crafts. We shared our different winter traditions and celebrations, and spoke about the current and traditional importance of the winter solstice to humans, animals, and the garden.
As we begin our winter term together, we will take the opportunity to celebrate a new year and setting our plans and intentions for this years garden. This will include taking a closer look at seeds, planning our crop rotations, and watching the weather and patterns in the garden as we get closer to spring.
I also want to personally send a big thank you to all of the GAP students and families that make this such an incredible program. It has been a joy to get to know everyone and to become a part of the Abernethy community over the course of the term. I am excited to start the new year together, and for all of the experiences it will bring!
All the best,
Hello GAP families, here is a short update on our activities last week, and a brief preview of our next two week is as we wrap up Fall term!
Last week we started off December by talking about the garden as we move from fall to winter. During the shortest and darkest days of the year, the garden is "resting" and conserving energy. As we spend more time inside, gardening shifts from outdoor activities such as sowing, weeding, and harvesting, to cooking, preserving, crafting and planning for the next planting season. Because December and the winter solstice is an important time in many traditional cultures around the world, we are taking time to share winter recipes and traditions from each of our cultural backgrounds!
Monday - We began the week by discussing the importance of storytelling, especially in the winter months. Students discussed what makes a good story, such as plot, setting, characters, etc. We also talked about different modes of storytelling: oral traditions, using pictures and movement, and the written word.
Tuesday - On Tuesday students continued working on storytelling, and many students chose to share their stories with the group.
Wednesday & Thursday - Because we are restricted by the weather outside, students created their own mini indoor gardens, also known as terrariums! We reviewed what plants need to be successful in an outdoor environment, and explored how we could adapt those conditions for an indoor plant. Wednesday and Thursday students will be receiving an additional email on plant care and information.
Friday - We closed the week together by continuing to share stories, as well as creating pocket/hand warmers from natural materials. Students decorated cheesecloth cotton pouches, and filled them with fragrant jasmine rice as well as fresh lavender to create aromatic heating pads. These small hand warmers can be heated (carefully) in a microwave for 10 seconds and placed on a pillow or in a pocket to keep hands warm on chilly days. Students were instructed to only use a microwave with the help of a parent or other adult.
Over the next two weeks, we will continue to work on our month-long project of compiling a GAP cookbook where students can share favorite recipes with their classmates and families. Recipes should please be handed in by Tuesday, December 14th. Recipe can be sent in any format, email is fine as well :)
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!