Real Stories
  • 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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  • Wednesday, March 26, 2014 | Filed under Environmental Stewardship , Science


     Who knew that the physical properties and components of soil would be so all encompassing. This 1st grade student takes to the wonders of soil while viewing it through a loupe magnifier. She is learning to determine that soil particles have size, texture and color, and discovers soil is nonliving but has living components. In the outdoor classroom a student can observe, compare and describe the attributes of the medium they manipulate


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  • Thursday, March 20, 2014 | Filed under

    I am a bilingual first grade teacher, my students are Hispanic and I love them.

    Every day is a challenge for me. I have economically disadvantaged students that struggle with  psychological problems and health issues.

    I need to be creative to teach them and not just give them information or explain a concept.

    Fortunately I have tools to teach in my classroom such as manipulatives, notebooks, books and technology.

    I cannot complain about resources, but I was missing an important element, nature.

    circle gardenLuckily, several months ago, Ms. Birdsong presented the garden project to us and I was really excited.

    Several ...

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  • Friday, March 14, 2014 | Filed under

    KERA’s American Graduate initiative recently discussed the importance of STEM  in our educational landscape.  

    A panel of technology business leaders proclaimed that STEM competencies are a direct link to effective preparation for workforce ready young professionals.  The THINK discussion presented a common theme that teamwork, communication, and critical thinking skills need to be incorporated within STEM instruction because “teky” students  usually struggle with social skills when they enter the workforce. 

    So, when we planned our native paint making lesson at the first annual Dallas STEM day, we aimed to embed social skills along with district STEM curriculum objectives. students making rock paint

    Students ...

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  • Wednesday, February 12, 2014 | Filed under Health and Nutrition , Science



     When vegetable gardening, the Earth’s natural food cycles are integrated into the cycles of planting, growing, harvesting, composting and recycling, and these garden cycles are in turn implanted in larger systems that have further interconnections. Food cycles interconnect with the water cycle, the nitrogen, carbon dioxide - oxygen cycle, the nutritive cycle, and the cycle of the seasons. Vegetable gardening involves ...

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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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  • Tuesday, January 28, 2014 | Filed under

    One special project that REAL School Gardens does with our school partners is our Smart Potatoes Initiative.  For Smart Potatoes, participating schools have children spend 100 days growing potatpotato in handoes, charting their progress, making predictions, and graphing their results.  This year, REAL School Gardens has 40 schools participating!  Once the potatoes are grown and harvested, children donate them to local food pantries, learning that it feels great to give to those in need.  If you're interested in doing your own Smart Potatoes program at your school, our lesson plans are below.   Pictures and more details from previous years can ...

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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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  • Tuesday, November 26, 2013 | Filed under Sustainability and Funding , Educators , Community

    Growing Opportunities 

                    Take a look at our full list of grants by clicking here!  


    November 30:  Trend Micro Incorporated  

    Trend Micro Incorporated is accepting applications for its Educational Technology Grant program. The grant was created to support the safe and responsible use of technology among students and to help schools prepare students for future educational and career opportunities.  Grants will be given to a total of 12 public schools/districts, and include a monetary contribution (not to exceed $10,000 per district or school) as well as in-kind donations to include software licenses for the ...

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