Real Stories
  • Tuesday, November 30, 2010 | Filed under

    I recently spent quite a lot of time over the Thanksgiving holidays watching the Food Network and Home & Garden Television with my visiting family. Either one or the other are constantly on in our home, mostly as warm background noise to our loud and heated discussions over everything from politics to Lady Gaga. Words like “butter”, “kitchen” and “aroma” are most comforting when my incredibly jovial and passionate family is staying with us.

    However, the only time I can recall throughout the entire week that everyone sat together quietly was during an episode of House Hunters International. A couple ...

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  • Monday, November 29, 2010 | Filed under Sustainability and Funding , REAL Supporters

    Cyber Monday

    What is Cyber Monday?  It’s a term coined five years ago for the day many people return to work after U.S. Thanksgiving Day and make online gift purchases on their computers.  The National Retail Federation expects more than 106 million people to shop online today.  Are you one of them?

    As a non-profit organization, REAL School Gardens relies on supporters like you to help advance our mission, proving outdoor educational opportunities to students who need it most.  In addition to tax-deductible donations, there are other ways to support our efforts:

    • Access with this link as you shop ...

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  • Tuesday, November 23, 2010 | Filed under

    Back in August, before one of our Saturday morning runs, I gifted my friends Joe and Ed each an envelope of REAL School Gardens pumpkin seeds.  Along the trail they decided that some friendly competition was in order, and so a pumpkin growing contest was born.

    Joe’s backyard was his planting ground.  Ed chose a small container.  Both were hopeful as seeds grew into plants.   A couple of out of town trips prompted Joe to install a milk jug irrigation system.  Ed worked on transplanting. I guess the farm boy from Indiana should have been viewed the odds-on favorite ...

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  • Monday, November 22, 2010 | Filed under School Garden Design , Instructional Aids , Science


    Design by Grand Prairie’s Thurgood Marshall Elementary and award-winning educator Brenda Townsend

    This is a great learning garden feature!  Lots to learn in this station because it includes water slide to study water and erosion patterns, different types of rocks (igneous, sedimentary and metamorphic rocks) to identify their properties (texture, size, and color), and different types of materials to create land forms and rivers.  This station is near a water source which gives the children the ability to create rivers and lakes and study Earth Sciences in a hands-on environment that engages their imagination and at the same time connects ...

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  • Friday, November 19, 2010 | Filed under Science


    This is a true story…

    Arilus cristatus aka Assassin Bug or Giant Wheel Bug punctured my forefinger with its piercing mouthpart and attempted to suck out vital juices as it would do to insects on its diet. Being that I am 5’10” and weigh 165 pounds (much of it liquid) the Assassin Bug failed in its attempt to eviscerate me and I live to tell the tale.

    Ellen had just come in after having tended to the REAL School’s garden when Kendra mentioned to her that an unknown insect was crawling on her. Being that I was next to ...

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  • Thursday, November 18, 2010 | Filed under Health and Nutrition , Language Arts , Social Studies , Science , Math

    We've definitely had food on the brain here at REAL School Gardens lately after feasting on some of the delicious fall harvest from some of our schools at last week's "Harvest of Possibilities" dinner at GRACE restaurant in Fort Worth.  We also recently received some questions about food production in the school garden: what vegetables work best with kids and what can you do with them?  

    First of all, research tells us that children are far more interested in eating vegetables that they have grown themselves, so don't be afraid to plant some unusual veggies with your students.  This is a great ...

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  • Friday, November 12, 2010 | Filed under School Garden Design , Instructional Aids

    Ask a teacher where she got a good idea, and more often than not, that good idea was someone else’s (who, by the way, got it from someone else).  In teaching, the name of the game is “beg, borrow and steal” and there is no shame in doing so. 

    I have encountered some particularly good ideas at schools I have visited recently.  Here are just a few of them… I don't think anyone would mind if they get borrowed.


    supply bags for the outdoor classroom

    Sallye Moore Elementary in Grand Prairie has bags hung just inside the door that leads to the outdoor ...

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  • Friday, November 12, 2010 | Filed under School Garden Design


    Uncle Sam wants you to plant good seeds

    Smithsonian Institution Libraries


    You may be asking, "Wasn't election day last week?  Voting again, so soon?  What now?"

    Cast a vote for REAL School Gardens' 21st Century Outdoor Classroom at and leave a comment showing your support of hands-on, experiential learning in the outdoors.  

    From the more than 350 entries that were submitted at, our design for an outdoor classroom has been selected as one of 10 finalists.  Voting is underway and we need your help today!

    Right now education reform is a hot topic.  Films like "Waiting for Superman" and "The Lottery" are sparking dialogue ...

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  • Tuesday, November 9, 2010 | Filed under Sustainability and Funding

    Join leaders from across the state at a Texas Children in Nature Conference to advance a state strategic plan to connect children with nature.

    Today’s children are allowed less time for unstructured, creative play in nature than ever before. As the trend away from outdoor play and learning deepens, we are witnessing sobering consequences for children’s health and well-being. A strategic plan to address this issue, prepared at the request of a bipartisan group of state legislators and with participation of more than 80 Texas leaders, will be released to the public in November.  REAL School Gardens Executive Director, Jeanne ...

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  • Friday, November 5, 2010 | Filed under Science


    The FBI has investigated the REAL School Gardens compost pile and determined that the morass of dead plants, leaves, grass and other vegetative detritus is a hazard to domestic tranquility; therefore, they declared the pile ready for decomposition. Being a hazard to life on this planet the FBI wants to degrade the compost pile (a source of decay, putrification and rotting); if it was not for bio-degradation by the FBI and dead vegetative matter was allowed to proliferate, piles of plant debris would cover the Earth many miles high. (An actual fact).

    Note that it is not the FBI ...

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