STH Meeting - March 1, 2016

posted Mar 1, 2016, 9:53 PM by Kristina Fernandes
Attendees: Ann DeKruyff, Kathy Schnair, Krissy Vargas, Krissy Fernandes, Cydney Hodder

Topics of Discussion: At this meeting, the goal was to assign owners to each of the grades and discuss the grade-level curriculum and planting schedules in more detail.

Grade Level Planners
For the grade-level owners, we have the following volunteers identified. As other volunteers are identified, the responsibilities can be shared.
  • Kindergarten (Rainbow Flower Garden/Sunflowers): Ann DeKruyff
  • First Grade (Fall Crop - Brussel Sprouts/Cabbage/Broccoli): Cydney Hodder
  • Second Grade (Carrots): Krissy Vargas, Julia Sundari
  • Third Grade (Pumpkins): Krissy Fernandes (temporary until another volunteer is identified)
  • Fourth Grade (Potatoes): Krissy Fernandes
Grade-Level Curriculum
We discussed the curriculum a bit more and decided that it would work best for all grades to create garden workbooks that would be given out during the first planting and then would be kept in the classroom for on-going observations and activities.

The idea is to have some information about the plant(s) assigned to the grade. Then some information about how plants grow and anything special that is needed by their assigned plant.

On the first day (when seeds are planted) students would make observations about the seeds/plants and make predictions about how their plant will grow. Then, there will be 4-5 other observation pages that can be used throughout the spring. The goal is to give the teachers everything they need to go outside with their class and observe the plants without any volunteers needed. Ideally, volunteers would only be involved during seed planting, plant transplanting, garden crafts, and possibly garden maintenance (if the teachers elect to do this). All observations, book reading, and activity sheets can be done in the classroom by the teacher.

Each grade would need a Spring and Fall version. Spring would be focused on the planting and growth of the plant. Fall would be focused on the plant maturity, harvesting and uses of the plant.

Aside from the observation sheets, other activities can include writing prompts, games, coloring pages, math problems, discussion points, etc. The goal is to ensure that the activities are age appropriate and ideally tie into the classes curriculum. This is were communication with the grade-level teachers is key. It is best to go to the teacher(s) with an outline/plan and get their feedback rather than going to them with a blank slate.

It is important to note that not all this work (workbooks, planting and in-class activities) needs to be done by the Grade-Level Planner. Kathy Schnair has already begun working on the First Grade workbook and a lot of that can be reused. Also, room parents and other volunteers can/should be used for the classroom activities, so you do not need to be there for any/all of them. It's really the communication with teachers and coordinating the activity schedule that is most important.

Planting Schedule
I have gone through all of the seed packets I purchased this year in order to determine the best seed-start dates and whether the plants can be started inside (utilizing the greenhouse) or if they are direct-sow. I have created a spreadsheet on the Drive with all of this information (https://docs.google.com/a/benhempto.org/spreadsheets/d/1UHVDm8a0_mOdrrrF5_G-CBILdujaAcFbCO-n1sYHxvM/edit?usp=sharing).

Going through the seeds, I found that we are missing a few. We need Broccoli, Cabbage and Brussel Sprouts for the First Grade. Also, for the Second Grade we need a few more flowers for the rainbow garden. I have a bunch from last season that I think we should still be able to use but I may get a few Dahlia's to be sure. For Third Grade, we need some more packs of the Jack-Be-Littles (there are only 15 seeds per packet and we need about 150 total). And finally for Fourth Grade we will need the seed potatoes. I will order these online.

Giant Pumpkin
After doing some more research, I don't think that growing a Giant Pumpkin this year is feasible. They just take up way too much space. If we can get Ben/Ian to let us use the space behind the First Grade windows, we might be able to take this on next year. Or, another idea was to plant a fruit tree (i.e. apple) somewhere out back.

Mushrooms
Cydney has been researching the mushrooms and has found that the two best/easiest types to grow are Button and Oyster mushrooms. Because of the consistent warm temperatures that are needed, they would have to be grown inside, however this means that they could be grown year-round. They could be located in classrooms, or in a locked cabinet outside the Living Lab door (or really anywhere). They would need dark plastic bins to be grown in and would have to be misted with water every other day. Collecting spores for planting is really easy. You just turn the mushroom cap upside down on a piece of paper and put a cup upside down over it. You leave it there for a period of time (several hours I think). The resulting stain on the paper is the spores. You then just cut up the paper and bury it in the soil and you are done. Pretty cool.

Chickens
Cydney also investigated the possibility of chickens further. I won't go into all the details here but it is still a possibility in the future however probably something we would need to get a grant for and that we would need to get approval from the school to do.

That is all I can remember. If I forgot anything, please let us know.
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