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  • Tuesday, September 9, 2014 | Filed under Volunteering , Parent Paricipation , Educators , Community , REAL Teacher Journal , REAL Supporters

    A new school year has started with subtle yet significant changes to the REAL School Garden education program.  New “Evergreen Training” name, but the goal remains the same.  As we prepare for the new garden coordinator meeting, I can’t help to reflect on this sustainability flow I wrote before our May 2014 Garden Coordinator meeting.  Sustainability or maintenance of the teaching garden seems to be a common topic of concern and interest for our outdoor learning leaders.

     As experts in the garden-based education movement, we aspire to work with instructional leaders, teachers, and garden coordinators to:

    • Appreciate gardens as resources ...

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  • Friday, July 11, 2014 | Filed under Volunteering , Language Arts , Educators , Lesson Plans , Science , REAL Teacher Journal , Math

    Friday, June 6th – Lee Elementary Full Day Professional Development



    Helping out with the teacher training was a very unique experience for me.  Having learned quite a bit about REAL School Gardens through my Nature of Giving course at TCU, I was very much looking forward to working here this summer.  From the beginning, I have been very open to helping out wherever needed and learning more about not only a wonderful, innovative organization, but growing in my nonprofit skills.  Getting to see a first teacher training happen was a blessing, and ended up teaching me more than ...

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  • Thursday, January 30, 2014 | Filed under Language Arts , Educators , Community , Lesson Plans , REAL Teacher Journal



    I recently read this collection of short stories about how a community garden in Cleveland brought a troubled neighborhood together.  Florence is one of the last short stories in the novel, and she shares the simile, “waiting for the snow to melt was like waiting for a glacier to move.” Mr. V (REAL School Gardens Educator) shared this morning that that this has been one of the coldest winters in a century.  Resources like this novel can help you plan to use the schoolyard once the snow melts.

    This Teacher Study Guide (grades 3 – 6) can be ...

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  • Friday, December 20, 2013 | Filed under Volunteering , Environmental Stewardship , Educators , Community , REAL Teacher Journal , REAL Supporters

    At our most recent Holiday Christmas lunch at a local sweet salad spot,  The REAL School staff gathered around a wooden, from the trees, table each having a box with a word inside.  The task was to open and share what the word meant in your life both in the past and the future. Venezuela - Change - Matt - Gratitude - Ellen - Commitment- Scott - Compassion - Sarah - Health - V - Sacrifice - D.J. Moe - Inspire - Shawn - Courage -  J Cross - Adventure - LeCompost - Happiness  


    The words were randomly ...

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  • Friday, December 13, 2013 | Filed under Health and Nutrition , Educators , Lesson Plans , Science , REAL Teacher Journal

    What did the fig tree teach Ms. Burn’s 2nd grade class at Highland Meadows Elementary?



    Engage- Students independently estimated the number of figs on the tree. 

    Explore - Partners identified a branch and then counted the number of figs on their branch.

    Explain - Teams wrote their numbers down and we added double digit numbers using sidewalk chalk.  Teacher modeled with help from students the addition process.  We concluded that there were around 40 figs on the tree. 

    Elaborate - Students gathered around the tree again, picked a fig from the ground, and identified a leaf that ...

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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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  • Friday, November 1, 2013 | Filed under Educators , Lesson Plans , Science , REAL Teacher Journal

    10.28.2013 – Dig In at Gooch Elementary

    Pre-K, Kinder, and 1st grade teachers retrieved 6 rocks from the garden.  Then, they named their very favorite rock (Randy), and tried to build a rock tower with Randy at the very bottom or the very top of their tower.  Next, teachers placed their rock friend in a special place in the garden.  When they come to visit the garden, they will check on their friend and see what sorts of changes have occurred.  Imagine if a 1st grader checks up on their rock for 4 years.  By the time they enter ...

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  • Friday, October 18, 2013 | Filed under Educators , Lesson Plans , REAL Teacher Journal

    10.16.2013 – Preparing for Outdoor Ed Lesson

    As I am planning a lesson on pumpkins at Cabell elementary, Ms. Calderon sends me an email asking if I had any lesson ideas for pumpkins.  I went to my friend Traci Friday at BRIT, and she gave me a wonderful teaching resource that I then used to create a “Who’s your family” lesson based on pumpkins.  On Friday, we are anticipating reviewing the Gourd family of vegetables.  Not by just sticking our fingers to feel slimy seeds, but also journaling a 3 column compare/contrast of what the vegetables feel like inside and ...

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