In September, my class decided to be adventurous and plant a garden. Keep in mind, I do not have a green thumb whatsoever. The students researched vegetation that was safe to plant in September, including lettuce, collard greens, spring mix, and white carrots. We voted as a class and decided that we should try lettuce, collard greens and carrots. The students placed an order on Amazon and patiently awaited their arrival to our classroom (thank goodness for prime shipping). After our seeds arrived, the students walked out to the garden where we were in charge of caring for a garden bed. The bed had weeds in it so the students independently needed to weed and rake out the bed and prep it for our seeds. The students prepped the area, dug little holes, poured the seeds in and covered them up with soil. The students marked the seeds using popsicle sticks and watered the seeds. We waited and waited and checked on the garden. After 3 weeks, no signs of life were showing and I told the students we tried our best, but it was unsuccessful for our first attempt so we will try again in the spring. We kept positive and a few days later, it was brought to my attention that there was some greenery growing in our garden.
In amazement, our class went outside and did indeed observe some growth in our garden! Since that day, we have been working hard to maintain our garden. Our class has been taking turns watering the garden and raking out the leaves and weeds. The class has gone outside and collected lettuce leaves and white carrots, brought them into the classroom where we learned and discussed how to clean them, and sent them home to share with their families. My class and students love to work in the garden, and it can be a hands-on and fun way to teach concepts from early literacy to math. All of the details that have been put into our growing garden have been a success in our classroom community! -Jamie Klimek, Teacher, Celebrate the Children
As we embrace the cooler weather and prepare for the season, this article, "Gratitude Wheel" Art Project by Betsy Hanger published in Mindful Schools, resonated with us. SFSS is eager to weave in mindfulness in our daily school life for both the staff and students, and we thought this would be a perfect November activity.
Betsy Hanger guides with the following instructions of putting in a center circle filled with the words "I am grateful for...". Next, divide the wheel with spokes making pie sections. Record what you are grateful for. Finally, Betsy Hanger encourages reflection of self by taking notice of our feelings by the following: "After a few minutes of work, encourage your students to slow down and notice if they feel their gratitude growing as they make the wheel."
So our challenge and hope is to provide opportunities of mindfulness for our students but also their families. As we will be doing, we ask you to make your gratitude wheel. Reflect. Make one for yourself and then make one with the whole family. I know I will be incorporating this into my Thanksgiving festivities for myself and my family. However, no holiday is needed; just a few moments in a day, any day.
In the end, Betsy Hanger concludes, "to end, send three kind wishes to someone on your wheel."
So in closing, SFSS wishes you and your family:
SFSS would like to express our gratitude for the support, ideas and materials provided by Mindful Schools. Thank you for being our reference in this article and for the inspiration. We would also like to thank our students and families who enrich our lives daily and allow us to be part of their special journey.
Student & Family Support Services, Celebrate the Children
Hanger, Betsy (2017, October 28) Retrieved from:http://www.mindfulschools.org/inspiration/gratitude-wheel/)
Photo credit: Mindful Schools
Contributions to this blog are made by Celebrate the Children's highly talented, interdisciplinary team and wonderful families.