School Garden

School Garden

I have always wanted to start a gardening program for children. I feel like it is an activity full of opportunities! You can cover every subject with the use of a garden and provide a very enriching experience. From the math in the layout of the garden to the science in plant growth. Students can write about their garden and their experiences and researching the different needs for each plant.

In my ideal world I would offer this program to students in all grades as a club or extracurricular activity. Students could work together across age groups and provide assistance to those who need it and make a peer supported atmosphere.

As a teacher you can also incorporate recycling and composting. To teach students to make a smaller impact on the environment.

There is also the opportunity to build a strong sense of community in a garden. Students share the workload and responsibility of a garden as well as the food they produce. The students in the school need to work together and support each other. Depending on the size of the garden the school could use the produce for school lunches and or snacks. It could also be used as a market run by older students. The co-op I work for in the summer donates any extra produce to local food banks rather than waste.

This also encourages healthy eating. Children are more likely to try new things if they participate in the growth or making of the food. The goal of the garden is productivity the more you tend and learn about the plants and gardening the more productivity the garden will produce.

I have started a small garden with my children and their friends this week and they are currently working on the layout. I was hoping to have it finished and pictures however the weather has not been cooperating with us. I will continue to post the progress of our garden. I am also talking with the co-op I volunteer at through the summer about starting a children’s program but it will most likely have to wait until next summer.

The first part of our garden is design and layout.

We will be finding the perimeter and area of our space so we know how much wood we need to box it out as well as how much soil we will need to fill the space.

We will then go into what type of plants and what they need, space, sunlight, water ect. -School garden checklist. -Great resource for garden education. -Website to assist in layout of yard. -Website to help make a layout and plan for the garden. – Good resource for lessons around gardening and activities.


This weekend was a very busy and exciting one. We started off Friday night with going to poetry night at my son’s school and it was amazing to see all the students who chose to stand up in front of many people to share poems they have written. I wish I had half the courage these students have. I hate sharing a blog every week because I am so critical of my own writing and there is no immediate audience. So I am going to try harder to find the courage that these young students have and share more of me and things I do or am.

I was very inspired by a student who has down syndrome used a communication device to share his poem and the pride on his face was priceless! It is so amazing that we can help people who might not have been able to communicate very well a few years ago can now write and share poetry!

My daughter also shared with me some of the girl drama that she has been dealing with in high school and I remember high school being so hard and hoping it would be different for her. I am hoping to create a blog for girls and women to share stories of high school good and troublesome if possible to help other people. I know it would have helped if I knew other people had drama too. And maybe some people can share advice or things that worked for them.

I am playing with a new site this week GarageBand and I am trying to incorporate it into something my students can play around with to give them a break from the testing.

I am also working on a group project for another class with Google slides. With everyone having very different schedules Google makes it easy to work in groups for online classes. It is amazing.

I was very sorry to miss the hangout this week. I have been taking extra hours at my 2nd job to try to save money so I can afford taking time off work next year to complete student teaching. With that and trying to finish two classes I am feeling very whooped and overwhelmed. I did appreciate the archive and hearing everyone’s ideas.

I hope everyone is enjoying spring and the lovely weather. Keep being amazing!

Stress and PSSAs

So the week has come and thankfully is almost over and we are 1/3 of the way through this nightmare! We have only had 3 kids break down so far. It’s sad that that is stated that way but I feel like it’s the truth. I think it is horrible that anyone is brought to tears over a test especially children. But with 9 days of testing and sitting still from 9-11:20, I want to cry!

I am very jealous of the students that opted out as they are working with a student teacher and making a cool project. The prompt was Where would you go and what would you do for vacation with a $1000? They have to spend it all and can not go over.  And they are making a prezi.

This is also the first year for my son to take the test and luckily he thinks it’s easy. But when I asked him how his day was and what happened at school he said a lot of kids were crying and I wanted to tell them not to worry and it made me sad.

If the tests cause the amount of stress and angst to an 8 and 9yr old to make them cry are their results really a clear picture of what they know and what they learned or does the stress fog their mind like it has been proven to do in college students and adults?

I feel like there has to be a better way.

Hacks and pop ups!

We love 15 second dance parties! If we are having a long day or it’s been raining for days and we can not take anymore Test prep we have a 15 second dance party!  Everyone loves to dance or laugh at me dancing!

Jokes happen a lot in our classroom. 

When introducing lines, rays, points, and line segments we taught arm signs.  When we randomly called one out the kids had to stop and do the correct sign. It could be at anytime throughout the day.

We also have little clocks for each student and when a time is called out the show it on their clock.

I love the idea of textbook hacks and having the students make their own! Thanks

Fairytale remakes are always fun and everyone gets into twisting a fairytale and making it their own. 

 That’s just a few we use and seem to be enjoyed!

It has been a very busy week for me and my family, I am nursing my first accidental sunburn tonight! I hope everyone enjoyed the weekend and wonderful weather. 

writing swap PSSA prep update.

We received the writing pieces back from the other fourth grade class ( the excitement of the project made it feel like it took forever to get them back). The students had followed a grading rubric and scored the paper they read. The rubric was very detailed and really broke down what to look for. The students did a really great job going over the papers and giving positive and constructive criticism. They also gave some encouragement for the PSSA next week.

After our class read their “graded” assignments they were given a students from the other school to read and score using the same rubric. They were amazed how similar the writing pieces were to what they wrote. They all had introductions and discussed the details of the passage in the body of the letter and the authors purpose was all very similar.

The kids were so thrilled with this activity that next week we are going to write them letters and words of encouragement to get thrush the testing!

It was a great experience for everyone involved and was a pleasure to see there excitement even out of the students who despise writing!


I was wracking my brain trying to figure out what to use for my curation! I was unsure of myself on this one but here goes, I am making an organized list on the education websites I use and I am trying to find some to use for each area of content so if you have any suggestions please let me know.


Xtra Math – math facts practice; good for morning work

Study Island – Good to track progress and independent practice.

Sumdog – Fun community building math games. Students can compete with classmates as well as students all over the world.

Edmodo- Students can chat and provide each other feedback. Can evaluate progress and see how students are doing can fall under reading as well. Teacher entered assessments tracks progress and groups scores.



Raz kids

Study Island




Bitstrips for Schools

Social Studies


National Geographic Kids

Open Source sites great for all areas of learning.





Another great resource I was given that was put together by a teacher at my school is

Connected Learning PSSA Prep

So I am very excited this week we have been working on a writing piece with the 4th grade students. Yes we work on writing every week, but this week we are doing some PSSA prep work. Whoo Exciting right?

No not really but we are working on something very exciting. We read an article about the stress of testing and tips on how to relax and overcome try your best and celebrate when your done. We had a great discussion and talked about the strategies we use to help and ways to relate to the article. After our discussion, the students were told they were going to write a letter to another 4th grade class in another district. The letter was to incude the layout of the letter the authors purpose for writing it as well as some tips that help them be successful or encouraging words. The class would also be writing to us and we would all get letters to read and look at.

The kids were so excited about the opportunity the wrote for an hr yesterday and didn’t want to stop. They asked to write to the class again and do a pen pal activity. Which hopefully we can arrange. We have not received the letters yet from the other school but we are all excited to see what and how the students write to us.

I thought this was a great idea and I am grateful to be apart of it.

Are we going too far?

I am sure you all saw the insurance commercial that is advertising Dr. Visits via the internet. This stirs up an internal conflict for me. I understand the convinence and the need for the occasional Skype check in or FaceTime, but are we creating a place were it is okay to never leave your house? Don’t get me wrong I love being able to talk to people all over the globe and these technological advances have really made the world seem small. However a part of me feels like we are doing away with the need for social skills and personal interaction. We have schools where you never meet any of your teachers or classmates in person, you can earn a degree from a college across the country without leaving your bedroom. I love technology and the places it can take us and all the potential it has especially in the classroom. I am just worried it has the potential to take the place of the classroom and social interactions will be started on websites and not in person. Because sometimes it is easier to hide behind a screen then it is to go out and join the world.