Archive for the “Classroom” Category
A Cornell University study published in a special issue of Developmental Psychology (Vol. 49:3) reveals that “children are natural scientists” who can “gather and assess evidence from the world around them.”
The study, lead by Tamar Kushnir, the Evalyn Edwards Milman Assistant Professor of Child Development and the director of the Cornell College of Human Ecology’s Early Childhood Cognition Laboratory, shows that preschooler’s can “infer what a person might know from watching what they do…and they can then use this [information] to choose whom to learn from.”
Researchers found that three to four-year olds’ understanding of cause and effect is influenced by information from other people, and that they can discern good sources of information from bad. Three to four-year olds, the study finds, are not entirely credulous.
Want to teach and cultivate the next generation of “natural scientists?” Cornell Garden-Based Learning offers a variety of multi-disciplinary activities which target knowledge and skill-building in the garden. Seed to Salad emphasizes decision-making and a multi-disciplinary approach while youth grow salad gardens. Dig Art! Cultivating Creativity in the Garden integrates gardening with the arts and ecological literacy. Vegetable Varieties for Gardeners (VVfG) and Vegetable Varieties Investigation (VVi) utilizes a citizen science approach to teach middle and high school aged youth about preserving biodiversity and connecting with the community.
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In the following TED talk, Pam Warhurst, Chair of the Board of the Forestry Commission in Great Britain, discusses the creation of Incredible Edible. Incredible Edible is a world-wide initiative Warhurst co-founded which is dedicated to growing food locally and which has also helped to implement food and garden education programs in schools and communities.
The local food movement, Warhurst states, “is a movement for everyone…if you eat, you’re in.” The language of food, Warhurst states, cuts across age, income, and culture, and “we are all part of the solution.”
Warhust urges communities to “make food visible” and to “encourage our schools to take [food issues] seriously.” “If we want to inspire the farmers of tomorrow,” Warhurst states, “let us say to every school: create a sense of purpose around the importance of the environment, local food, and soils. Put that at the heart of your school culture and you will create a different generation.”
Ready to get involved in the local food movement? Learn about specific vegetables and how to grow them with our Growing Guides. Check out our Seed to Salad project which engages young people in growing salad gardens of their own. Get involved with Youth Grow, a leadership program that trains youth to become actively involved in learning about and transforming their local food systems. Read about Discovering our Food System, an experiential learning program about how food gets from farm to table and how we, as eaters, are part of the process.
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This just in… Check out this Eco-Schools program from the National Wildlife Federation. The Eco-Schools program strives to model environmentally sound practices, provide support for greening the curriculum and enhance science and academic achievement. Additionally, it works to foster a greater sense of environmental stewardship among youth. Eco-Schools is currently being implemented in more than 50 countries around the world.
Through school-based action teams of students, administrators, educators and community volunteers, Eco-Schools combines effective “green” management of the school grounds, facilities and the curriculum.
Once a school has registered and implemented the seven steps, it can apply for an Eco-Schools award. There are three levels of the award system. The first two levels are the Bronze and Silver awards which are self-assessed. The top level is the Green Flag award, which must be assessed by an Eco-Schools USA assessor and renewed every two years. A school is considered to be a permanent Eco-School once it has gained its fourth Green Flag.
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North Country Jr. Iron Chef registration is OPEN – and both the middle and high school divisions are more than half full!
On December 1st schools/organizations can register more than one team per division.
Visit the event website at http://ncjrironchef.org/ to learn more or register a team.
More about the event… NC Jr. Iron Chef is a competition for teams of middle and high school students from Clinton, Essex, Franklin, Hamilton, Jefferson, Lewis and St. Lawrence Counties, NY. The challenge is to develop healthy recipes, using a combination of local and commodity foods, that could be prepared in a school cafeteria. On competition day each team will prepare their recipe and present it to a panel of distinguished judges who will choose the winners! North Country Jr. Iron Chef… offers a positive, hands-on experience with healthy food for youth, shown to increase the likelihood that students will select and consume these foods; provides an opportunity to learn about and build lifelong skills related to healthy food purchasing and preparation; is a creative approach to addressing school food issues and engaging youth in the dialogue; & promotes the incorporation of local foods into school menus. North Country Jr. Iron Chef will be held on March 9, 2013 and is a project of the Health Initiative, in partnership with St. Lawrence University. Learn more at http://ncjrironchef.org/.
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Thanks for Community Works Journal for this article:
Can You Grow a Pizza? Big Questions in the Garden
By HEIDI REVELO
“Miss Heidi, can you grow a pizza?” asked 13-year-old Jenifer at the first Children’s Garden in Lexington, Nebraska. The sign stapled to the side of the garden box said “Pizza Garden” which was next to “Peter Rabbit Garden,” “Salsa Garden” and “Vegetable Tray Garden.” The sun was climbing in the sky and the middle school enrichment summer school students were sweaty although it was only 9:15 a.m. A dozen students watered the 30+ garden boxes and vining plants area, planted tomato plants and pulled up weeds.
“Well….no,” Miss Heidi answered wanting to laugh and smack the heel of her hand on her forehead to say, “What kind of question is that!” Instead she asked Jenifer a question. “Tell me, what’s in a pizza?” Now Jenifer was joined by two more girls. They hesitated and then one had an answer. “Sauce!”
Read the entire article>>
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It can be a challenge to meaningfully integrate gardening and learning. We really like the way Angela McGregor Hedstrom uses essential questions to expand on the gardening experience, and organize the big ideas, particularly with our youngest audiences.
Read this succinct and well-written article, and get started soon!
Angela McGregor Hedstrom taught at the Dryden Elementary School and Happy Way Childcare Center, Dryden, NY, while working with Cornell Garden-Based Learning.
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(guest post by Geoffrey Tam)
This summer, I had the privilege of spending a few days a week preparing, implementing and reflecting about gardening lessons for boys aged 14-17 at the moderate security juvenile detention center in Lansing, NY known as the Finger Lakes Residential Center (FLRC). My time at FLRC has been enjoyable, edifying and exciting, and I can honestly say that I feel the residents benefited greatly from the work that we all contributed together as a team.
Two women who contributed invaluably to the success of the program, instituted under the New York State Grow to Learn initiative, were my teaching and lesson partner, Audrey Baker, and the summer gardening teacher, Connie Bernard. Without Audrey’s horticultural expertise, garden-based teaching experience, and overall exuberance for plants, youth and empowerment, this program would have taken a much weaker complexion. Likewise, Connie’s incredible rapport with the boys, her irrepressible desire to discipline, coddle and encourage them, and her unstoppable ability to assert her will in the support of those around her made her the most valuable asset to our cause by a long shot. Connie was a miracle worker at motivating students to get out of bed, come to her class, and behave themselves out of self-respect and amused adoration for her. My role in the entire operation was to try and make the other key player’s jobs easier and to optimize/enhance their impact and efficacy.
The true joy of the work that we did together was our time spent with the young men of the FLRC in the garden. I hope that for these young men, I was able to represent a positive, consistent and encouraging male presence in their lives. I enjoyed their teasing questions about girls at Cornell, my personal life and my interests. I appreciated sharing laughs and exclamations of how big the vegetables were and hearing stories about their lives. The energy and excitement that many of the boys brought to the garden and the comments such as, “when I’m out here I don’t feel like I’m locked up” helped to validate the importance of an aspect of what I believe Grow to Learn is trying to accomplish in facilities like the FLRC.
Other than the natural wonder of growing robust and recognizable fruits and veggies by their own hands and the new tastes of fresh garden produce, the students were generally highly receptive to whatever horticultural information was presented to them. Popular lessons included insect and pest management—wherein students were able to shoo away flea beetles from our kale plants with a natural thyme oil spray—and anything that allowed the students to see the immediate impacts of their work such as planting, harvesting, and cooking!
The Grow to Learn program at FLRC was successful to me because it gave the young men at that facility a sink for their energy, creativity, frustrations, and it allowed them to create positive change in a way that granted them power and control over something tangible. I believe, and would venture that Audrey and Connie would agree with me, that this small freedom of working the land, is seen by the young men in the facility as a tremendous gift. ~ by Geoff Tam
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Recall in our Garden-Based Learning Newsletter, we solicited success stories from to feature in our newsletter and blog. We are excited to share this Success Story with you. The Geneva Community Center’s Boys & Girls Club is currently working on an after-school gardening project every Wednesday for children ages 10-14. Eight expert gardeners have volunteered to work on a rotating basis with children on a particular aspect of gardening. Some of the expert volunteers include community members and Master Gardeners of the New York State Volunteer Program under the direction of Russ Welser at Ontario County Cornell Cooperative Extension.
The team of gardeners will be growing carrots, lettuce, beets, raspberries, cucumbers, sugar snap peas, summer squash, garlic, chard, radishes, potatoes, and mustard. Visit gardening.cornell.edu for vegetable growing guides. Here are some growing guide examples for the vegetables featured at the Boys & Girls Club garden: Carrots Beets Cucumbers
The expert gardeners will also engage the children in fun, garden-related activities such as learning about soils, how to prepare a planter for container gardening, how to protect a garden from deer, and the use of cover crops for weed prevention. Resources on building soil, cover crops and keeping deer away can be found on our site too.
This gardening project is supported by the USDA volunteers based at the Geneva Experiment Station, the faculty and staff from Hobart & William Smith Colleges, as well as board members and staff of the Boys & Girls Club. A recent donation of organic soil was made by John Hicks.
The project aims to fulfill the youth development strategy of The Boys & Girls Club:
-A Sense of Competence: there is something boys and girls can do and do well
-A Sense of Usefulness: the opportunity to do something of value for other people
-A Sense of Belonging: a setting where an individual knows he or she has a place where he or she “fits” and is accepted
-A Sense of Power of Influence: a chance to be heard and to influence decisions
The mission of the Boys & Girls Club of Geneva is to empower all young people in our community to reach their full potential. Located at 160 Carter Road, the Geneva Community Center is just a short ways away from the Geneva high and middle schools. The Geneva Community Center is a gathering point for people of all ages to engage in fun and enriching activities in a safe and welcoming environment. It is the Center’s mission to build and support collaborations between organizations, services, neighborhoods, and age groups to create long-lasting relationships.
Visit their webpage at http://www.genevacommunitycenter.org/index.html.
If you would like your garden-related program success story to be posted here, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org with a two to three paragraph description that includes the garden project’s mission or goals, a description of the success story and its impacts, and attach two to three JPG photos of the project (with rights released). Be sure to include your address, phone number, email, and project website (if applicable). First five submissions will receive a complimentary copy of our Discovering Our Food System curriculum.
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In the CGBL Spring Newsletter we solicited garden-based learning success stories to feature in the quarterly newsletter and blog. We are excited to share this first garden story with you from the Dewitt Middle School in Ithaca, NY. *Submissions always welcome. Email us 2 – 3 paragraphs that includes the garden project’s mission or goals, a description of the success story and its impacts, and attach two to three JPG. photos of the project (with rights released). Be sure to include your address, phone #, email, and project website (if applicable).
The Super Duper Veggie Garden of Doom and Broccoli sits on 6,000 square feet of what used to be a lawn about 100 feet south of the school building. It’s close enough to Wayne Gottlieb’s 7th grade science class (from which the Super Duper name of the garden originates) that even the most reluctant students can get there in 4 minutes. Students make this trek several times year round, in November to put their beds to sleep, in March to sow salad green, in May to transplant their tomatoes and peppers and in June to harvest greens and weed their plots. In the summer students volunteer to do summer maintenance and sample the harvest. In summer 2011 40 students volunteered in the hopes of sharing a watermelon during a break from building trellises and harvesting carrots.
The garden was built in 2009 as a way of integrating sustainability into the science curriculum. It was hoped that science concepts, cell biology, plant biology, reproduction and genetics, could be taught through gardening. To some extent this has come about, however, efficiently integrating content from the NYS science curriculum remains challenging. The impact on the school community is incredible. Cafeteria staff enjoy serving fresh garden veggies at lunch in the spring and fall. Most students love gardening and many have learned to appreciate kale and other vegetables. Parents have been a big resource as garden volunteers to supervise activities, share about their own gardens or even deliver mature horse manure or bags of dry leaves.
The success of the garden has been dependent on donations of money and volunteer hours from parents, teachers, community members and organizations. Generous grants from Lowe’s, the Ithaca Public Education Initiative and Donor’s Choose have allowed us to purchase everything we need to run the garden. We’ve also depend heavily on parents, DeWitt School staff and community members who volunteered to build the garden or supervise students. Gardens 4 Humanity and Cornell Cooperative Extension – Tompkins County have been instrumental in helping to find experts in the community who want to help out. The garden has greatly benefited from collaborations with other DeWitt teachers. The art teacher joined us in designing and painting a mural on the shed. Gates were designed and built by students in the Technology student’ association. These donations of time and money serve not only to keep the garden going, but to form important bonds between the school and the community.
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Interested in Vegetable Gardening?
Come view a demonstration garden that promotes ecological gardening by including different varieties of vegetables, herbs, and flowers.
We’ll be having an opening Thursday, April 26, 2012 from noon to 1 p.m.
Come view the new garden and learn about the Vegetable Variety Trial conducted by Cornell Garden-Based Learning. Light snacks and cider provided.
The garden is located along the west side of the Plant Science Building.
Additional information can be found at www.gardening.cornell.edu/vegvarietytrial
Installing the Garden on Campus – 2012 Veg Variety Demo from CCE Horticulture on Vimeo.
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