Food Day Nibbles, part 2

To celebrate National Food Day at the end of October, our elementary and junior high schools presented 14 workshops about agriculture, nutrition and cooking to which students rotated all day. Here’s a taste of all of the hands-on learning that happened.

Resource Conservation District of San Diego joined us for the first time to teach kids to make pots out of newspaper and plant herb seeds for windowsill gardens.

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Julian schools alumna Jill talked about growing up in Julian, going to UC Santa Cruz and starting her own farm, Mountain Chickadee Farm .

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Chef Greg from Healthy Adventures Foundation taught another wonderful cooking class.

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Camp Stevens headed up a workshop on making fresh smoothies.  Very hands on with the kid-safe knives!

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Mr. Martineau led a fun and educational workshop on the use of animal byproducts in everyday products, having students guess ingredients.  Also included: how many bug parts in different foods—perfect for junior high!

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UC Regent’s Farm Smart program once again joined us and presented another excellent hands-on workshop on corn.

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Chef Jeremy from Jeremy’s on the Hill (and Jeremy’s on the Campus, our school lunch program) led a workshop at the junior high, talking about his restaurant and getting feedback from kids about school lunch

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Mrs. Croman taught a special music class with food songs!

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Kids pressed their own apple juice from local fruit, with help from the Julian Apple Growers Association.

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The amazing Mrs. Cantor taught the kids to make sweet and savory crepes.  Later in the day volunteers delivered extras to all of the volunteers and staff.  Final count:  280 dinner plate sized crepes.

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Local family and farm Cook Pigs joined us, talking about their sustainable operation and letting kids interact with their dog and piglet Chewbaca.

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Juicing seminars, with the bicycle blender out for a spin! Image 14 Image 8 Image 11

All students returned to their classrooms to write about the day in their garden journals.

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Not pictured:  Mr. Pierce showed and discussed food films from the Nourish series, Mr. Duffy taught a food safety class as he and Mr. Lay made chicken-veggies kebabs on the garden’s BBQ, and Miss Carmen led a class on “eating real.”

We also extended Food Day into our after-school program with more cooking classes and a fieldtrip to a local restaurant.  I played a memory game with kitchen utensils and followed with a taste test of guavas, papayas, dates, fresh figs, etc.

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If you were involved in any way, thank you!!!  Will you come again next year? 🙂

Food Day Nibbles, part 1

This year both our elementary school and junior high celebrated National Food Day with a full day of workshops on agriculture, nutrition, and cooking.  Fourteen experiential sessions spread between the two campuses, dozens of volunteers, and happy, engaged learners everywhere you looked made for a big, wonderful day.  So big that I’ve decided to tell the story in little “nibbles.”

In the weeks preceding the event, I had students work on food collages on foam board.  We did this during our garden lessons and in the after-school program, using seed catalogues.

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I hung the whole collection in front of school to announce the day’s theme.

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Younger students also colored these signs……

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….which adorned the main walkway.

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Afterschool students also made posters to hang around campus:

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To be continued….until then, keep calm and eat real.  🙂

 

 

 

 

 

Early morning wonders

Beginning to tidy up the garden for this weekend’s tour, I opened the small cedar hutch and found myself looking directly at this:

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I immediately closed the door and ran to get my favorite fifth grade entomologist out of class.

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The swallowtail must have been drying its wings because it was perfectly still, allowing us to move the box to which it was attached and put it under a tree.

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Avery and I spent a good ten minutes taking pictures and video, making observations just inches away, and marveling together.  It was wonder-full.

Here’s another wonderful thing: I knew her teacher would allow me to take her out for ten minutes, missing a bit of class time, for this teachable moment.  Thanks Mrs. Croman.

Take it outside!

“Taking learning outside”—a phrase I’ve heard from those in the environmental education/school garden world.  The idea is this: if you can teach it in the classroom, you can teach it outside.  (Agree? Disagree? Discuss.)

Here are some ways non-garden activities have moved into the garden in the last year:

On Science Day, students met in the garden with the amazing naturalist/teacher Kat to pound and braid yucca fibers into rope:

Girl Scouts held their “bridging ceremony” during which they pass to the next level of scouting:

An Easter Egg hunt last April:

Yoga class:

A kindergarten teacher uses the garden with a yearly unit on the gingerbread man!

And finally, “reading buddies” (third graders paired with first graders) and SSR (“silent sustained reading”). Do they still use that term?  I remember reading at my desk, but I would have loved to have read in a silent, sustained way in a gazebo!

Thumbs up for hands-on learning

We’re always talking about how good experiential education is for kids.  Hands-on instruction just seems to deliver content in a way that kids learn.  Or perhaps…all people learn?   In my master gardener training, we have five hours of class a week.  The mornings are excellent lectures, and the afternoons are often workshops/labs.  I have loved the experiential piece, reaffirming the vast possibilities for garden-based education.  Here are some snapshots of the experiential component of the Master Gardener program in San Diego:

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