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!
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 email@example.com 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 🍁
Even with the short week, we packed a ton of gardening and fun into our time together! Our new GAP garden space is well on it's way to being prepped for the winter.
Theme: Goodnight Garden
Monday- Pickling the garden ~ more quick cucumber pickles
Tuesday- Prepping soil/put raised beds in
Wednesday -Planting our veggie starts
Thursday- Garden prep!
Friday- Bird feeders pt. 2
Theme: Goodnight Garden pt. 2
Monday - Herb walk + tea-making
Tuesday- Cover crops ~ red clover + common vetch
This upcoming week our theme will be "magic in the garden," combining the natural magic of the fall season with some potion making, wands, costumes, seasonal food and stories!
Week 5 bustled right along as we switched themes from a September focused on the harvest, to an October focused on the change in the seasons. Week 5 began with looking at one of the most quintessential parts of fall in the Pacific NW: the changing leaves.
Monday - On Monday we took a lovely leaf walk around the school campus, looking for the most beautiful and unusual leaves. Students collected the leaves and shared them with the class, planning to continue using them throughout the week.
Tuesday - Issac shared a book he wrote himself with our class! We also chose one leaf from our leaf walk the day before to focus on. Students did leaf rubbings and made observations about the size, texture, color, and shapes of their leaves and how they compared to each other. We also discussed the anatomical parts of a leaf from stem, to veins, and blades.
Wednesday - On Wednesday we continued sharing from our journals, and then took a much needed game break outside to enjoy the beautiful fall weather.
Thursday - Today we did an experiment to pull out the pigments from differently colored leaves. Students formed teams based on colors (green, red, orange, yellow) and then searched for leaves in their color group. We let the leaves rest in rubbing alcohol, and then placed a small piece of coffee filter inside each jar to help us see what colors each leaf contained. Students made hypotheses in their groups about what colors would come out. Now we wait!
Friday - We wrapped up the week by completing part 2 of our leaf experiments. Students investigated changes in the color of their leaves and solution, and we recorded the results against our hypotheses.
This week (6) we are shifting to focus on another important part of the fall season: migration and hibernation. We will be discussing different animal adaptations that allow our garden friends to survive the cooler seasons! We will be observing what's happening in the garden, while also helping our feathered friends as they make their way down to warmer weather.