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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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  • 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, April 24, 2013 | Filed under Student Behavior , Science

    The wonderful thing about being an intern here at REAL School Gardens is that I get to see some of the amazing things students discover in our gardens every day.  Sometimes it’s bugs and plants, and sometimes it’s their true selves.

    Each spring, REAL School Gardens partners with Botanical Research Institute of Texas for our Smart Potatoes program in which schools can plant potatoes, chart and graph their growth, then donate the potatoes to local food pantries. I got an opportunity to visit one of our partner schools to check out a lesson and take pictures last week.  

    In ...

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  • Thursday, March 14, 2013 | Filed under Volunteering , Student Behavior , Community , Instructional Aids , Science , REAL Supporters , Smart Potatoes



    REAL School Gardens, Surgical Care Affiliates, The United Way and Richardson Bike Mart were part of an amazing occasion held on Wednesday, March 13, 2013 at the Gaylord Texan Resort for the children of the organization, Bea’s Kids.  This event was created to increase interest in the subjects of science, technology, engineering and mathematics, also known as STEM.  This event not only reached out to the areas of STEM, but it also gave the kids confidence and a feeling of accomplishment after creating each project. 



    With around 200 volunteers and about eighty children involved, ...

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  • Tuesday, January 15, 2013 | Filed under Volunteering , Student Behavior , School Garden Installation , Educators , Community

    Saturday was my first “Big Dig” with REAL School Gardens.  Those are the days where we join our partners to create a learning garden at a low income school.  It was cold.  It was rainy. It was muddy.  And I loved it.


    As the new marketing and communications director, I was there to get a sense of how these community-powered events work.  I was also getting some fresh photos for the website.  To get these pictures, I asked one of our educators, Eric Vanderbeck (a.k.a. Mr. V), to do some of his hands-on lessons with 12 kids whose ...

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  • Tuesday, September 25, 2012 | Filed under Environmental Stewardship , Student Behavior , Health and Nutrition , Family Activities


    I had an epiphany when an acquaintance described himself as the “green sheep” of his family.  “Wow,” I thought,” that’s what I am!” 

    It wasn’t until they read an article recently published in Dallas Child magazine that my family seemed to finally understand what it is that REAL School Gardens does and why we do it.   They seemed to think I spend my days digging in dirt, trying to convince elementary students to eat their veggies.  Of course, the vegetables are an important part, but a small part, of our efforts to increase student engagement ...

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  • Wednesday, May 9, 2012 | Filed under Student Behavior , Science , Smart Potatoes

    On a warm May morning, Ms. Koop's kindergarten class at Bonnie Brae Elementary became an observation train and baby potatoes as we learned to observe potato plant parts and learn about what plants need to grow and thrive.



     The school garden potato bed at Bonnie Brae Elementary

    As we drove around the Brae Elementary garden, our train cars used their senses to observe the plants. "I see a potato leaf." "I hear the birds." "Choo choo! I feel the air on my face." Together under the arbor we pieced together the parts of a potato plant: the stem ...

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  • Tuesday, April 17, 2012 | Filed under Student Behavior , Educators , Science , Smart Potatoes

    Our guest blogger, Angela Buffington, had the chance to spend part of a cloudy April morning with Ms. Porter's second graders at Fitzgerald Elementary School's learning garden in Arlington: 



    Holes in the potato plant leaves

    We observed potato plants and pieced together clues to solve a mystery. First, all the students' eyes surveyed the potato plants, quick to notice some stems were missing leaves! Students began to chatter as they noticed leaves with ragged edged holes. Several had figured out what must have happened and were eager to share. Hands shot up, and students exclaimed, "The leaves were ...

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  • Friday, January 20, 2012 | Filed under Student Behavior , Social Engineering

     Mr. V at Goodman Elementary

    …said by a 3rd grade student after being told by me that the FBI eats all the dead birds and squirrels on the roads and highways - of course I was thinking of the fungus, bacteria and invertebraes as the decomposers, he was thinking of the Federal Bureau of Investigation; nothing like cognitive dissonance to bring attention to what one is facilitating with students. There were quizzical looks by other students as they devoured (so to speak) the context of what was being disseminated. And so it is fun science facts shared with students that seems to instill ...

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  • Wednesday, January 4, 2012 | Filed under Student Behavior , Science


    A fine day was recently had outdoors at Holiday Heights Elementary School, instructing 2nd grade students in the ways of mechanical energy by using a hand trowel to remove weeds. A hand trowel is the combination of two simple machines, a wedge and lever working together to make the work of weeding easier. The beauty of the trowels mechanics is in the ease of the use of force to perform a push or a pull to accomplish the needed task of weeding.


    Often students ask “What is a weed?” I think that Ralph Waldo Emerson answered ...

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