Part I: School Garden Lesson PlansFeb 25, 2021
If I say grow a School Garden, what’s the first thing that comes to your mind?
If you’re like most teachers you immediately think, “no way! Who wants that kind of headache?”…
OR, if you’re open to the idea (and since you’re here I think you are) then you’d imagine having to organize something like a garden club of students, spend lots of your personal time on countless lunch hours and after school, organize unenthusiastic, unreliable parent volunteers, beg other teachers for help and essentially a lot of headaches!
OR, you say “There’s no way my school administrators would let me grow a garden!”
But if you’re like me and the teachers in my programs who have successfully taught in a school garden, then you’d imagine none of those headaches.
your mind goes directly to LESSON PLANS for your instructional time to teach YOUR CURRICULUM of math, science, etc. in the garden while your students grow, maintain and enjoy it in the most hands-on authentic way of learning.
Can you close your eyes, throw the previous headache scenario out of your head and just imagine such a garden?
How amazing would it be to be in control of it all and not have to worry about anything outside of your classroom and still grow an amazing school garden?
Is it possible?
HEAVENS, YES! I've seen it countless times!
Now… It’s absolutely NOT YOUR FAULT to believe the headache scenario though!
You look around at the evidence and conclude that it has to be hard to do, or every school would have had a successful school garden. Right?
I mean… there has to be at least one smart teacher in every school who want it… what kind of teacher wouldn’t want such an amazing modern learning tool with such capacity for authentic learning, fun and empowerment?! So if it was so doable, they would all do it.
Also… you might know a teacher of two who has given it a try and failed, burned out, or both.
Well… of course, you believe the headache scenario because most schools do it wrong and most of them fail. And those rare ones that don’t fail are usually very well connected to a community partner of some kind, you know… a lovely non-profit that is very well skilled and also funded who comes in regularly and runs the garden more like a community garden. Or to a group of rare parents who’ve been at it for years and years and never gave up, even with all the students’ turnover.
Organizing all that sounds way too complicated. And I completely agree! It IS way too complicated. And that’s not what you want anyway… not a community garden… you want a school garden to teach in.
I’m here to tell you that it doesn’t have to be that way. The issues start when people confuse school gardens with community gardens.
And it is SOOOOOO MUCH easier to grow a school garden than everyone makes it.
All you need to do is connect your mandated curriculum to the garden in a well-organized series of LESSON PLANS so you can teach and your students grow it during instructional time.
Not easy necessarily (although, for a teacher who’s seen a few lesson plans before, much easier than the headache scenario), but for sure simple!
And guess what… I bet if you had such a comprehensive plan for teaching in the school garden, a lot of doors would open with your administrators too.
Cause when you go to them with no plan and ask for a school garden, it’s like asking for lab equipment for science without a plan. Would you expect them to go for that? No! Then why would you expect them to go for a school garden without a plan. And I don’t mean a design plan. I mean a teaching plan. Cause it only makes sense for a teaching tool, which is what a school garden is, to have a teaching plan with it so we know how it will be utilized and which curriculum check boxes it will tick off.
So if this is something you would like to have some clarity on (which I assume you do, otherwise you wouldn’t still be reading)
Here’s how to get started!
In tomorrow’s email (Part II), I’m going to reveal the THREE elements to consider for your SCHOOL GARDEN LESSON PLANS.
Then, on Friday (Part III), I’ll share my “School Garden Lesson Plan Framework” so you can walk away knowing exactly how to create yours.
So… keep an eye on your inbox for tomorrow’s email.
Cheers and Peace,