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  • Sunday, July 13, 2014 | Filed under Environmental Stewardship , Instructional Aids , Science

    Learning gardens are ideally suited for developing the critical thinking skills and foundations of understanding for the disciplines of math, science and language arts. The inquiry based learning methods facilitated in the outdoor laboratory/outdoor classroom reaches across the curriculum by virtue of the inter-related nested and natural systems of the earth. When students’ are in the outdoor classroom they learn firsthand that natural systems are composed of cycles, processes and structures that interact and are driven by a flow of energy through them; the students‘ learn about these systems through sensory observations. Empirical learning through hands on science and math investigation creates transformative experiences which guide the students’ learning in ...

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  • Thursday, November 21, 2013 | Filed under Lesson Plans , Instructional Aids , REAL Teacher Journal

    Congratulations to Medrano Elementary for being the first school to complete their Teacher 2 Teacher (T2T) training program the first semester of this 2013/2014 school year.


    Our T2T training program allows six teachers to observe three model lessons that align with the curriculum already being taught inside.  We strive to impact teacher and student engagement through hands-on instruction in the outdoor classroom.  Reflection is one of the most critical components for teacher growth and effectiveness.  So, we reflect after every T2T and share teaching and learning highlights.

    Lower grade classes learned:

    • Why trees lose their leaves

    • How leaves are ...

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  • Sunday, November 10, 2013 | Filed under Student Behavior , Educators , Instructional Aids , REAL Teacher Journal

    11.10.2013 - Cabell Elementary

    Around two weeks ago I was working with a 5th grade class at Cabell Elementary when lightning threatened and it started to pour down rain.  When we returned inside, a transformative lightning strike came when I realized that I had not taught inside for almost six months. 


    I felt handicapped by the lack of manipulatives and space that the garden provides me as a way of teaching constructively.  At this moment, I realized that this is the way teachers feel when they are asked to teach outside in the garden.  Teachers feel restricted, constrained, and ...

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  • Sunday, September 1, 2013 | Filed under Educators , Instructional Aids

    The May 18th teacher training session will be rescheduled for Fall 2013.

    At REAL School Gardens, we are educators first and foremost, so we provide every school partner with three years of multifaceted teacher training and garden support.  To reach as many children as possible, we sometimes open our trainings up to any teacher who wants to increase student engagement by taking their class outdoors.


    On Saturday, May 18, REAL School Gardens' award-winning educators have created an accredited teacher training program open to all teachers and principals. Dig Deeper: REAL School Gardens Professional Development is a day-long training that ...

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  • Thursday, August 8, 2013 | Filed under Student Behavior , Language Arts , Educators , Instructional Aids



    PARTICIPANTS:  Contest is open to students in grades 3 -5 within REAL School Gardens partner schools only.

    PRIZE:  3 students (one from each grade level, 3rd - 5th) will win FREE Kids Meal cards for their class and Chipotle will visit their school for a guacamole demonstration.  One winner from each grade level will be selected by a panel of writing teacher judges chosen by REAL School Gardens that will adhere to the grade appropriate STAAR writing personal narrative rubric based on their subjective assessment of each writing.  

    WRITING PROMPT: Write about a ...

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  • Wednesday, August 7, 2013 | Filed under Educators , School Garden Design , Community , Instructional Aids

    REAL School Gardens supports gardens that encourage children’s learning in varied ways. These outdoor spaces serve as a classroom where all subject areas are taught using a hands-on approach – what better way to learn math, language arts, science and social studies than using your five senses outdoors!  In addition, learning gardens support a child’s understanding of the art and science of gardening, healthy food production, and the patterns found in natural surroundings.  They are organic in their responsibility to the environment and encourage children to become stewards of the earth. By creating learning gardens that are inviting and beautiful, ...

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  • Monday, August 5, 2013 | Filed under Sustainability and Funding , School Garden Installation , Educators , School Garden Design , Community , Instructional Aids


    We often hear from folks all over the country looking for suggestions on how to start or improve a school garden on their campus.  Although there are many excellent resources available, we often suggest they find the book How to Grow a School Garden: A Complete Guide for Parents and Teachers by Arden Bucklin-Sporer and Rachel Pringle.  The book is a concise and simple-to-follow synthesis of their many years of experience designing, installing, and maintaining green schoolyards across the San Francisco Unified School District.

    In it, you’ll find chapters on Laying the Groundwork, Groundbreaking, Budgeting, and Fundraising, ...

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  • Thursday, July 25, 2013 | Filed under Sustainability and Funding , Educators , Instructional Aids

    Here is a list of useful grants to use for your school garden!  Remember: summer is a great time to apply for upcoming grants!  Ready, set, write!  For a full list of grants, click here!

    September 16: FirstEnergy accepting STEM grant applications from educators

    FirstEnergy Corp., an energy company serving Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, New Jersey, Maryland, and Virginia, is offering education grants of up to $500 for creative classroom projects in the 2013-14 school year. 
    FirstEnergy Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics Classroom Grants are awarded for creative individual classroom projects in grades pre-K-12. Any creative project ...

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  • Wednesday, July 17, 2013 | Filed under Engineering , Instructional Aids , Science , Math







    Solarization is a simple non-chemical technique, which captures radiant heat energy from the sun.  This energy causes physical, chemical, and biological changes in the soil.  These changes lead to control or suppression of soil borne plant pathogens such as fungi, bacteria, nematodes, and pests along with weed, weed seed and seedlings.



    Helpful Hint: Solarization is most likely to be effective during long days of high temperatures and no wind.  The summer months are the optimum time for solarization.



    How to Solarize?

    Step 1: Spade the soil 2 -3 inches ...

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  • Thursday, May 9, 2013 | Filed under Educators , Instructional Aids , Science

    We recently attended a great workshop at the NSTA conference in San Antonio where we acquired a simple and synthesized list of some of the best iPad apps to use in the outdoor classroom. For many of the apps, students took pictures of things outside and used the pictures in the apps to create diagrams, sequences, webs, etc. We thank Judi Kur and Kimber Hershberger, two elementary teachers from Pennsylvania, for sharing this list with us.  Looking for ways to integrate outdoor teaching and technology?  These apps are kid tested, teacher approved!



    This app allows students ...

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