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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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  • Wednesday, April 16, 2014 | Filed under Language Arts , Educators , Science , Math

    Johann Heinrich Pestalozzi believed in educating students through head, hand and heart. His pedagogical method was that education should be based on concrete experience as in the use of tactile objects such as plants and other natural specimens in teaching the sciences to students.

    These principles appeared in the introduction to A Manual of Elementary Instruction for the Use of Public and Private Schools and Normal Classes published in 1873. Do these principles still apply today?


    1. Activity is the law of childhood. Accustom the child to do – educate the hand.
    2. Cultivate the faculties in their natural order – ...

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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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  • 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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  • Tuesday, March 5, 2013 | Filed under Language Arts

    What's growing in our learning gardens? A pocket of joy, a good dose of activity, and a bushel of remembrance- according to the Victorian language of flowers, plants symbolize emotions and expressions. Oregano means joy, Thyme for activity, and Rosemary for remembrance, all perfect expressions of growing successful students in our vibrant school gardens. 



    What do the plants say in your garden?

    Here is a list of common plants in REAL School Gardens and what they mean.

    Peppermint: Warmth of feeling

    Potato: Benevolence

    Sage: Good health and long life

    Coriander: Hidden worth

    Fennel: Strength...

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  • Friday, August 10, 2012 | Filed under Sustainability and Funding , Language Arts , Art in the Garden , Family Activities

    We are excited to announce a new partnership with Paper Hat Press, a publisher of beautiful personalized children's books. Paper Hat Press shares our mission of sparking children’s imaginations as they encourage a love of reading while showing a child how special they are. In honor of our “blooming” partnership, we wanted to highlight the amazing illustrations of flowers by Paper Hat Press artists. 


    In Paper Hat Press’ title, Little Sparkle, the beautiful Sparkle girl flies over lovely Purple Sensation allium flowers, pictured below. 


    (Photo courtesy of Paper Hat Press)


    On another beautifully illustrated page, ...

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  • Friday, February 3, 2012 | Filed under Environmental Stewardship , Language Arts

    While REAL School Gardens was facilitating lessons outdoors in the Birdville Elementary garden laboratory, kindergarten students observed a Wooly Bear Caterpillar, Pyrrharctia isabella; (see the drawing in the journal picture above), dining on some native Texas plants. Upon the “teachable moment” students were asked to record observations in their journals. When the students were finished they were asked if anyone would be willing to read their recordings and observations. The student pictured, stood up and promptly began reading from her journal – a reading that took 2-3 minutes and she didn’t take her eyes from the page. Two/three minutes is ...

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  • Monday, October 24, 2011 | Filed under Environmental Stewardship , Student Behavior , Health and Nutrition , Language Arts , Community , Social Studies , Science , Math

    Students at T.A. Sims Elementary (Fort Worth ISD) hear the calling

    Nature has information she wants to share with you about the world and your place in it; she wants to offer you awe and wonder; she has things to share. We need to know that nature is the foundation of the arts and sciences; she offers exploratory learning through observation, inquiry, discovery and investigation. Nature will direct us to rigorous thinking, real world relevance and relationships between all her bounties and creations.


     Author Clifford Knapp offers these principles of indigenous (natural) wisdom to be enveloped by nature:

    1. ...

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  • Thursday, September 1, 2011 | Filed under Language Arts , Science , Math

    Students weigh organic fertilizer in preparation for nourishing the learning garden beds at Whitt Elementary (Grand Prairie ISD).


    Students are in their bodies and are best served engaging their studies part time in the real world, as this is the optimum learning environment. Thinking that students can be placed sitting all day at a desk and taught only through text and the virtual world of computers may be misdirected; a balance of inside and outside engagement will assist the learners in creative problem solving skills, generate curiosity, creativity and steep them in the joy of learning.


    Students ...

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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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