Real Stories
  • Thursday, October 28, 2010 | Filed under REAL Supporters


    In the ancient Chinese text the Tao Te Ching, Lao Tzu explains, "Thus the Master is available to all people and doesn't reject anyone.  He or she is ready to use all situations and doesn't waste anything."

    Now, I don't know if the Dallas Master Gardeners have been gathering to read ancient Chinese texts, but they are definitely making themselves available to all people, even our young ones!  Having adopted Robert E. Lee, Sanger Elementary, and most recently Lipscomb Elementary these masters are making use of the growing school garden movement to pass on their wisdom regarding local ecology and earth's cycles and ...

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  • Tuesday, October 26, 2010 | Filed under Science


    While I was facilitating science studies at Sallye Moore Elementary a toad (of all loathsome creatures) appeared and toadally took over the science curriculum of the day. “Look it’s a frog” said the students when a toad magically appeared in the garden/outdoor laboratory.

    It hopped on the hand of a student as if the hand were a lectern and proceeded to articulate about chemical, electrical, thermal, light, sound and wind energy in the schoolyard. The students and I gained the knowledge that energy occurs in many forms and can be observed in cycles, patterns and systems. By using the ...

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  • Monday, October 25, 2010 | Filed under REAL Supporters

    Rejuvenations were in progress at two places in Arlington, Texas this past Friday – at the learning garden at Goodman Elementary School and at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington. 


    Rejuvenation of Mr. V. and Goodman Elementary school garden. 
    Photo by: Matthew Rainwater


    The transformation of Goodman’s outdoor classroom was made possible through funding from Chesapeake Energy Corporation and the Rainwater Charitable Foundation. The pride which this community has for their school garden is contagious. A successful garden makeover took place throughout the day as educators, students, parents and other community members loaned hands, shovels and much enthusiasm to this ...

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  • Wednesday, October 20, 2010 | Filed under REAL Supporters

    Waiting for Superman

    Nominate a REAL school hero

    Have you seen “Waiting for Superman,” the documentary film that explores current issues impacting public education in the U.S. and how they affect our children?  Our staff recently had the pleasure of viewing the movie as a community along with other passionate North Texas educators, thanks to the Rainwater Charitable Foundation and Sid Richardson Foundation.  Without saying too much, all may agree that the film does start conversations.  We hope you will join in on this one.

    Who are the REAL school heroes in your life?  Please tell us about the dedicated ...

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  • Monday, October 18, 2010 | Filed under School Garden Design , REAL Supporters

    UTA School of Architecture

    Congratulations to the University of Texas at Arlington’s (UTA) School of Architecture Digital Fabrications II Spring 2010 course working group who has was awarded the second place Design Research Collaborative award, presented at HKS’s headquarters in Dallas, on October 12 for their work with REAL School Gardens.

    The working group included Lance Abaya, Alex Dahm, Irving Gatica, Jon Holden, Patrick Kratz, Soid Manzano, Jared Nance, Varia Smirnova and Heather Stoker and was directed by UTA’s Professor Brad Bell.  The spring 2010 class designed an innovative shade structure that also harvest rainwater, provides seating and a writing surface for a ...

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  • Friday, October 15, 2010 | Filed under Social Studies , Science , Math

    The word garden understandably carries with it many connotations about plants, vegetables, compost, weeding, watering, and so on.  These certainly are important aspects of having a school garden, but we often hear from educators that one of their greatest apprehensions about heading outdoors with their students is not knowing anything about “garden stuff”. 

    “Well,” we assure them, “it’s not about gardening… it’s about engaging your students in hands-on, meaningful learning experiences that give them a context for the concepts you’re already working on.”  In other words, it’s about good teaching. 

    Ask any teacher what he or ...

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  • Thursday, October 14, 2010 | Filed under REAL Supporters

    Last month, we installed a garden at our headquarters in Fort Worth.  It features two raised beds, a perennial bed, a circular vegetable bed, flagstone pathways, picnic tables, and compost bins.  Our staff has been quick to adopt and fall in love with our new outdoor space, which has become a place of learning, relaxing, eating, and meeting.  You heard a little bit about our garden from Scott, but I wanted to give you an update on how the garden – and the gardeners – are doing.


    Since that first post, we have planted more ...

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  • Tuesday, October 12, 2010 | Filed under Student Behavior



    Students at Hobbs Williams Elementary in the Grand Prairie School District and Birdville Elementary in the Birdville School District have experienced a metamorphosis through studies in the garden/outdoor laboratory. Querying the students after a daylong garden integration visit by REAL School Gardens they unanimously agreed that “their brains were bigger”.

    Evidently teachers were also transformed and reached a state of Zen mind. When two educators were asked “What is something positive you see your students doing right now during the outdoor lesson?” the responses were “They are very calm, I am very calm” and “the noise level is ...

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  • Monday, October 11, 2010 | Filed under Sustainability and Funding , Science , Math

    National Lab Day (NLD) is more than just a day. It's a nationwide initiative to build local communities of support that will foster ongoing collaborations among volunteers, students and educators.  This project is the ultimate educational matchmaker.

    What is National Lab Day? NLD is a nationwide movement to support science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education in our schools by connecting teachers with STEM professionals in order to bring more hands-on, inquiry-based lab experiences to students.

    Who can participate? K-12 teachers and educators can post projects.  STEM professionals can share expertise.  Volunteers and community can lend assistance.

    How does it work? K-12 ...

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  • Monday, October 4, 2010 | Filed under School Garden Design

    Conversation.  Lyrics and music by a school garden graduate.  A little ditty about REAL School Gardens.  Locally prepared Italian cuisine.  Words of wisdom from some of the finest young minds.  Principals.  Teachers.  Parents.  All came together… because of school gardens.

    On Friday and Saturday, September 24th and 25th, REAL School Gardens welcomed six new schools to our growing network of school garden partners at our kick off Dig In event.  Embarking upon this journey with us are:

    Foster Elementary – Arlington ISD

    Harlean Beal Elementary – Fort Worth ...

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