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Introduction to the Green Classroom

Tags: Class Ideas, All-Seasons, Outdoor, All-Grades, Fall, Anytime

Time : 30 mins

Summary

Greeting and Review
  • Start in the same space if possible for every class (ex: The Circle, Pond, Back benches)
  • Introduce Garden Teachers and their favorite vegetable, kids say their’s too.  Sing a song, draw a picture or ask what about their summer/winter break. 

Ex: Circle up, introduce garden teachers and their favorite vegetable, kids to follow.

Main Lesson
  • Review appropriate behavior and procedures so classes run smoothly. This lesson may also be appropriate if the students need re-affirmation of the do’s and don’ts of the Green Classroom.
Materials Needed
  • None
Activity 1
  • Review the garden rules. 
Activity 2
  • Review the garden space and areas.
Cleanup 
  • None (Allow 5-8 mins for any cleanup)  

Ex: ring a bell for cleanup time and ask all the children to help.

Goodbye
  • 2-3 minutes to say goodbye

Ex: sing a goodbye song or give high fives to children on their way out.

It is a good idea to split the class into smaller groups and rotate activities.  To grab the attention of students, you can say “GIVE ME 5” which is widely used at Becker Elementary or employ other techniques Click here for Teaching and Behavior Management.

Walk through the garden and review the following areas. At a minimum please review the areas in bold. Start either at your garden plot or the circle (with numbers), break up into smaller groups (each with an adult leader), and go in different directions to review the areas.  Reconvene where you started. If you have additional time you can go over the areas in the ADDITIONAL ACTIVITIES section.

ACTIVITY 1: REVIEW THE GARDEN RULES

Garden Rules

  1. Walking feet only. (No running in the garden.)
  2. Stay on the pathways and stepping stones. (No stepping in the planting beds.)
  3. No climbing in the herb planters 
  4. Listen in a respectful way.
  5. Stay with your teacher. 

Encourage students to raise their hand and ask questions if they are unsure about something.

ACTIVITY 2 : REVIEW GARDEN SPACE

  • Pond – We not only share space with other gardeners but with other creatures in the ecosystem. The pond is home for fish and tadpoles and is a source of water for many birds. Respect the space and make sure you don’t disturb their home. 
    • Watch the fish and tadpoles and enjoy them.
    • No throwing objects (rocks, sticks, etc.) in the pond.
    • No catching fish.
    • No standing in water
  • Garden Bed – Show the children where their garden bed will be for the year. Talk about being mindful and careful regarding other garden beds. Pick only if they have – “OK TO EAT” sign. Share your harvest with others by putting this sign. No jumping into or plucking from other beds.
  • Tool area – All the tools – shovels, watering cans, gloves, buckets , etc., belong in the tool area. Always put the tools back in the shed. Be safe by pointing sharp tools downward like shovels and trowels.
  • Adult Shed – This area is off-limits to students.
  • Compost area – Talk about composting. For effective composting, you need both green (plants, food scraps) and brown (brown leaves, coffee grounds, brown paper) materials. Talk about the items that go in each pile. Absolutely no recyclables or trash in any of the piles. GREEN MATERIALS AND BROWN MATERIALS GO IN THE APPROPRIATE PILES – Closer to the big gate.
  • Herb Garden – This is a shared garden space. You are always welcome to taste the herbs but don’t climb the structure or step in the garden bed.
  • Outdoor Kitchen Space – The sinks can be used to wash vegetables and hands. The water from the sink is recycled into the garden and does not go into the septic systems. Please be mindful and don’t use it to wash paint or use soap in the sink. Use the indoor sink for activities which are messy.
  • Watering – We have two rain-water harvesting tanks on either end of the house and use it to water our beds. Always turn off the faucets after you are done watering. Once you are done watering return the watering cans to the shed.
  • Indoor Kitchen and Classroom– Volunteers will guide any cooking or activities. We share the front room space with Earth Camp and other Becker classes, so please make sure you clean up after yourself. Clean the tables and put away the chairs and supplies. (Age appropriate activity for older kids)
  • BathroomsThere are two bathrooms inside the Garden House. Students tell an adult when they are going to the bathroom and will take turns if needed. Students can wash hands in the lower sink indoors. Adults will use the taller sink. 

ADDITIONAL ACTIVITIES

  1. Ask students about their favorite vegetables.
  2. Ask students to identify their favorite area of the Green Classroom or favorite activities in the Green Classroom.
  3. Create a list of plants the students want to grow.
  4. Smell and taste herbs from the herb garden.

CLEANUP & GOODBYE

  • Set a timer (on your phone or on a watch the clock) 10 minutes or so before the end of class to gather the class and organize the space.
  • Allot 5-8 mins for any cleanup – put away supplies, tools, clean dishes, wipe down tables etc.
  • Allot 2-3 minutes to say goodbye. Try ending class in the same space each class,  if you can. Depart with an informal goodbye of your choice, a song, a poem, a high five as they walk out the door, etc.

 

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