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  • Tuesday, July 10, 2012 | Filed under Art in the Garden , School Garden Design , Community , Fine Arts

    When I was young, my house was near a wooded area with a serene creek running at the bottom of the hillside.  My parents encouraged me to play outside - and one of my favorite play activities was doing art projects with items I found in the woods.  I will always remember the countless and joyful hours I spent gathering leaves, twigs, rocks and flowers and drawing, tying, gluing them together in all sorts of creative ways.  Mom tells me she also remembers the many bugs that came into our house on these projects! 


    Today, one of my greatest ...

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  • Friday, May 4, 2012 | Filed under Community , Family Activities , Fine Arts

    Would you care for some art in the garden?  If so, be sure to check out the award-winning exhibited artwork of Dale Chihuly inside the beautiful setting of the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden.      



    About Dale Chihuly

    Artist Dale Chihuly creates free-standing sculptures, large-scale artwork installations and drawings, which have been exhibited at museums, gardens, architectural environments and galleries throughout the world.  Ninety-seven exhibitions in seven countries have presented Chihuly’s artworks during the last decade, which have been enjoyed by more than 10 million visitors.  Chihuly’s lifelong affinity for glasshouses has grown into a series of exhibitions within a variety of botanical settings.  


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  • Friday, January 13, 2012 | Filed under Environmental Stewardship , Fine Arts


    When Mr. V. was asked to “find a poem about compost,” his search brought him to the spiceoflife blog on 

    We just finished building a new bin in our office garden, and feel Robert has done well to capture our composter hearts:

    Ode to Compost

    The day is warm, still young and bright.
    I'm out of work while still daylight!
    I rush back home to check my bin
    and see what sort of shape it's in.

    I grab my fork and lift the lid
    To see what time and hard work did.
    I've thrown in leaves, ...

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  • Monday, June 13, 2011 | Filed under Student Behavior , Language Arts , Social Studies , Science , Fine Arts , Math


    It’s no use; one can no longer hide from the fact that children immersed in nature in their schoolyard habitat have heightened learning experiences.

    The 1999 study, Closing the Achievement Gap: Using the Environment as an Integrating Context for Learning” funded in part by the Texas Education Agency lists a variety of student benefits associated with using the local environment as an educational resource:

    • Better performance on standardized measures of academic achievement in reading, writing , math, science and social studies;
    • Reduced discipline and classroom management problems;
    • Increased engagement and enthusiasm for learning; and
    • Greater pride and ownership in ...

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  • Tuesday, May 10, 2011 | Filed under Environmental Stewardship , Community , Fine Arts

    What a fun Family Day in the Watauga Elementary Garden  Saturday, April 9, 2011!  Around 230 children and parents, community, staff and family attended this windy, warm day! 




    Stations and activities included composting information from our Master Gardener; a Community in Schools resource table; a City of Watauga Soil and Water Conservation station; a water conservation demonstration by 4th graders; guitar club serenaders; a Teton Park Ranger display; a Garden in a Glove seed-planting activity; a US Fish and Wildlife display; a landscaping display; 4th graders demonstrating geology; 5th graders providing a Camp JOLT video and information; ...

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  • Monday, March 14, 2011 | Filed under Instructional Aids , Science , Fine Arts , Math

    Look here, do you see it…right there in front of your nose; for the Earth and its inhabitants it’s the little things that count, these little things are the less seen. The microcosm reflects the macrocosm, all things upon the earth are needed and everything is intertwined in a dance of interdependency. The universe exists because it is in relationships with everything else, nothing exists in isolation.

    Students are most likely to zoom in their visual senses from the macro world to the micro world more readily than adults; they see better and they’re smaller so they’re closer to the ...

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  • Monday, February 21, 2011 | Filed under Student Behavior , Instructional Aids , Fine Arts

    The art teacher at Withers Elementary in Dallas, Jan Alexander, has it figured out… soil is art!  And soil is science… which means that science can be art.  Or is it that art can be science?

    Either way, Ms. Alexander has inspired me with her skillful integration of science, nature, and art in a way that makes the learning experience for her students beautifully academic.  One of the most prominently displayed boards in her classroom (besides the bright pieces of nature-inspired student work holding up the walls) is a poster board that declares boldly:  Can you ...

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  • Friday, February 11, 2011 | Filed under Health and Nutrition , Social Studies , Instructional Aids , Science , Fine Arts , Math

    On Tuesday evening February 8, thirty-five Garden Coordinators from the Birdville, Arlington and Fort Worth school districts came together at the REAL School Gardens office to share their love of potatoes. Dan Quayle, Vice President of the US in 1992, was not invited as he insisted on spelling potato with an “e” (potatoe). True story—inquire at “Google”.

    The agenda looked like this: Potato dinner, Potato story, Potato planting, Potato survey, Potato harvesting, Potato irrelevant information and Potato pickup. The Garden Coordinator meeting was arranged so that teachers could garner enlightenment to begin fertilizing and prepping the school garden beds to ...

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  • Tuesday, January 4, 2011 | Filed under Environmental Stewardship , Student Behavior , Health and Nutrition , Language Arts , Social Studies , Science , Fine Arts


    A second grader at Withers Elementary in Dallas focuses intently on filling his journal with words to describe the world around him


    Nature’s beauty can be observed anywhere – from a park bench, favorite forest or even from your bedroom window.  Nature journaling helps you see the world around you in a new way.  The great thing about a nature journal is that there’s no right or wrong way to do it!  It’s your journal, and you make up the rules. 

    This first grader knows that natural pigments are great for coloring


    Here ...

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  • Thursday, December 23, 2010 | Filed under Fine Arts

    …to take advantage of okra’s ability to produce prolifically during the Texas summer heat.  If you don’t grow it yourself (or have never seen it sans crispy deep-fat-fried batter), you may not know that okra comes in the form of seed pods that are delectable when picked young but woody and inedible when allowed to fully mature on the plant.  This southern staple grows so quickly even on the hottest days of the summer that it’s just about inevitable that some of the pods will go un-harvested and uneaten.  


     That’s okay. Pick them. Save them. And turn them into gifts. This year, REAL School Gardens Educators/extraordinary artisan ...

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