Friday, 29 April 2016

Community Field Experience - Day 5

Hello!  Today's post is by Sylvie C.

Today started with another informative talk by Antonia Lazarova, following up on the information she gave us on Wednesday.  She shared with us the book she wrote, "Teaching in the school garden" which is loaded with fun and engaging activities to do with high school students.  All her activities revolve around the garden and we will be able to use them in our classrooms. 

I particularly like the "Interview: Family Food Culture" activity on page 22 because it is an activity based on reflection that I could easily do in a French or Spanish class, after teaching the vocabulary from a food unit.  I also like the discussion/debate activities Toni suggested such as GM foods vs non-GM foods.  If I happen to be teaching in a school that has a garden, I will certainly invite my students to help out with weeding and keeping the garden tidy on a sunny day while I am teaching them the French/Spanish names of various plants, tools, etc.  We could have a French/Spanish only rule while working in the garden.  

                                                     Toni's book - A great resource for teachers

The afternoon was spent in the garden tending to vegetable beds.  The weeding is now done and we have planted seeds in about half the beds.  We have already planted peas and carrots, and I think Kale will be next. What struck me this afternoon, as well as other days this week, was the friendly conversations we were having while pulling weeds out of the ground.  We got to talk about our plans after this course, the experience we had on practicum and even how we deal with stress and anxiety among other things.  Working in the garden is indeed therapeutic and community building!

                                         Planting seeds after weeding

                                         Seeds are planted

 Have a great weekend! Eat well and enjoy the sun!

Friday, April 29th, 2016 - Today's blog post is by CFE Student Aman!

Today we started the day with a very important discussion with Toni regarding different ways teachers can incorporate garden planning/development into their unique pedagogies. I was glad that Toni was able to show us her resource book because she had a variety of activities that could be easily adapted, regardless of the teacher's background (i.e. non-home economics teacher). While listening to her explain the different activities, I was able to see how the activities could be modified to have a focus on Social Studies in which I could include PLO's or 'big ideas' of the new curriculum while also doing something creative and outside of the traditional methods of teaching Social Studies. The activity I liked a lot was the "Wanted" poster activity where students are advertising a particular plant while including research in their poster. I immediately thought of modifying this activity to focus on a historical figure/group that was wanted for a particular students, which would allow students to explore the historical significance/perspective of a certain time period in history. Furthermore, I was more comfortable incorporating garden development/teaching into my future teaching career after seeing these activities because I felt that I had a solid foundation to start from because of how simple it seemed after simplifying the theory aspect. 

It seemed that other practicum students felt more confident and we were able to discuss the theme, menu, and overall plan for the Workshop on the 14th of May. We came up with a catch phrase that went well with the food we are planning to create. Its a surprise (for now) so I won't share what we decided on, but am I excited to DIP right into this workshop! 

Lastly, we worked on our lesson plans with our pairs that we will be doing with students from Tyee Elementary on Wednesday. My pair and I will be doing flower pounding - and the internet makes it seem a lot easier than it is! We tested the activity during the last hour of the day in the garden, and it was quite difficult. We tried different coloured flowers and leaves. In the beginning, a lot of the "imprints" were brown while the shape was very blob like; however, once we found bigger flowers and better paper (more stiff/rough than smooth/slippery/oily paper is better) to pound the flowers on, the shape was a bit more recognizable and the colour was more vibrant. Pounding the hammer harder helps create a better shape and colour than pounding lightly - online sources were telling us to pound lightly and I feel that is where we made the mistake! I am happy that we tested out the activity before demonstrating it at the elementary school. We were able to learn from our mistakes, and better prepare for Wednesday's mini lesson. 

Thursday, 28 April 2016

Community Field Experience - April 28

Hello! Today’s CFE blog post is by Laura S, Fatima S, and Stephanie Y.

Entrance to the greenhouse

Today we met at Windermere Secondary School and had the privilege of being toured around by a leadership student named Douglas. He introduced us to his school’s garden where the students are expected to take the initiative in terms of tending to the beds and plants, filling up the compost, and keeping the garden in order. He was extremely knowledgable and gave us a greenhouse tour where they are trying to get a hydroponic system up and running again, this time using goldfish (as the tilapia and koi fish were a little large).
Hydroponic system- but currently not in use.

What I found really interesting were the bee and butterfly houses and how keen the students are on creating a safe environment for them to flourish. I really enjoyed the self-directed teaching and learning that is involved between all of the students, and how multiple different classes come together to contribute to the garden community as a whole. I believe this style could be very beneficial in my own classroom, and it has got me thinking on ways to start a self-reliant, self-directed classroom. I was brainstorming ways that I could incorporate a garden into my own practice in terms of visual arts and I came up with the idea of combining mindfulness into the garden context. This could be done by creating zen stones based on designs the students find in the garden (patterns in the leaves, vegetables, grass etc.). They could spend a class searching and sketching in the garden, then rework their designs once they have an idea in mind, then later paint the stones. The stones can be used in the garden for decoration purposes after, for meditation purposes or as dividers within the garden.

Today’s visit to Windermere Secondary School was inspirational! It was amazing to see that a student-led project, the school’s garden, could be that successful!
It was wonderful to witness how gardening can be a very great tool  to empower students and help teachers make their classes more interesting and relatable.
I was able to make personal connection with this garden especially, the palm tree, it reminded me of my family’s garden in Baghdad!

While walking through the school’s garden, I had so many ideas of how to incorporate it into my science lessons. I would use this garden when teaching the Ecology unit; biotic and abiotic factors, food chains, and bioaccumulation and biomagnification. It would also be a great place to start an inquiry-based science unit, where students can come up with a question and use the garden to come up with a potential answer.
I would really love to start a school garden because I believe in it’s power in teaching the student leadership and problem solving skills!

Windermere Secondary’s gardening program is run on a leadership/mentorship model, where the senior students take the lead on sustainability related projects and delegate other tasks among leadership students in other grades.  Seeing the fruits of dedication and hard work in their school garden and orchard was encouraging and I’ve personally become motivated and inspired as a teacher to help students pursue their passions, in whichever school I teach.

If I had access to such a garden as a home economics teacher, I would like to dedicate an entire course around and utilizing the gardens.  For example, for a course that introduces various units on international cuisine could use examples of crops and produce grown in the local Vancouver gardens and compare it with gardens and farming methods of different countries and cultures, especially Indigenous cultures.  Lesson possibilities are endless for foods and textiles classes; I am excited to explore and learn more through this CFE!

Wednesday, 27 April 2016

Community Field Experience - April 27th

Today started with an informational and interesting talk about school gardens by Toni, who has successfully implemented her own garden at the secondary school that she works at. This was excellent, because we learned about the practical side of starting and maintaining a school garden; as student teachers who are new to this, I think it was really valuable and pertinent information. I now have a much better idea of what is involved in the process. We talked about start-up costs (and how/where to apply for grants and raise funding), what is needed to start a garden (e.g. tools, seeds, volunteers, materials, etc.), necessary paperwork and application forms, different ways to design a garden and thought about the sort of things we should plant depending on climate/location/time of year, etc. 

We then did an activity where we were able to draw a map of our own garden design that we would like. I would personally like to have a garden that also has green spaces and benches where students can sit and enjoy their surrounding. Each person also brainstormed ideas of how they could adapt their teachable subject(s) to the garden, this way incorporating outdoor learning into the curriculum. For example, my teachable is French which I believe lends itself quite well to being in the garden – a few ideas I had while doing this activity were using the garden to learn new French vocabulary, learning about French culture through the garden (French foods that we could make with what we grow, or even learning about famous French gardens such as the painter Monet’s garden, which is a much-loved attraction in France), using the garden as inspiration to write poems in French, as a space to present French plays (which I did during my practicum), learning about the changing seasons in French, amongst many other possibilities. I was impressed by how many ideas everyone had relating to their own subjects (such as Math, Art, English, Biology, Home Economics, etc).

After lunch we did some work in the Orchard garden, which included harvesting carrots, lots of weeding, and planting vegetables such as beets! There was also some kale-tasting, and lots of happy conversations about the possibilities that gardens bring to schools. It was a great way to wrap up the day! 

Aboriginal Math day at the UBC Longhouse

Here is a link to the program for this exciting day that we will be participating in as part of the secondary CFE.

It is not only about garden-based education, but it will introduce aspects of teaching culture and curriculum through traditional experiential learning in weaving, drum-making, etc. -- all of which could be supported and co-taught by gardens and other outdoor classroom places.

Looking forward to this event!

Indigenous Education, Mathematics Education 
and the Curriculum
Thursday May 12 8:45 – 3:00
First Nations Longhouse 1985 West Mall UBC Vancouver
Online Registration: Here
Program details: Here
Please join us for this year’s Aboriginal Math Symposium. This year’s theme is Indigenous Education, Mathematics Education and the Curriculum.
Agenda: 8:45 am – 3:00 pm
8:30 – 9:00 am       Pick up registration material. Coffee/Tea available. Meet & Greet.
9:00 – 9:15 am       Welcoming Remarks and Story
9:15 – 9:45 am       Math Activity with Shawn Desaulniers
9:45 – 10:45 am     Weaving Aboriginal Ways of Knowing and Ethnomathematics with Carolyn Roberts (20 minute presentation followed by 20-30 min discussion)
10:45 – 11:00 am     Refreshment Break
11:00 – 12:00 am     When Math Meets Weaving with Karla Gamble, Matthew Houghland, Daryl Goeson and Maria Nicolidakis
(20 minute presentation followed by 20-30 min discussion)
12:00 – 12:45 pm.    Lunch is provided
12:45 – 1:45 pm     Doing Mathematics While Building Community with Lori Bernard (20 minute presentation followed by 20-30 min discussion)
1:45 – 2:45 pm     Math and Drum Making with Don Bowser, Katrina Melan, and Rob Wielgoz (20 minute presentation followed by 20-30 min discussion)
2:45 – 3:00 pm     Wrap-up Discussion, Door Prizes.
The symposium is an opportunity for teachers, administrators, Ministry representatives, community members, and academics to connect, explore, imagine and share new ideas, resources and research on Aboriginal mathematics education from kindergarten to Grade 12. Together we hope to:
  • Learn about new research in mathematics and Aboriginal education
  • Discuss and share approaches, research and educational projects for improving Aboriginal math education
  • Develop community connections to facilitate and support improving Aboriginal math education
For further information or if you have questions please contact our Aboriginal Math Symposium Graduate Assistant Kwesi Yaro at
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Tuesday, 26 April 2016

November Orchard Garden/ Roots on the Roof Workshop

Thanks to the team of our sister garden, Roots on the Roof, including Brendan Chan, May H and Henry 

Monday, 25 April 2016

CFE Day 1 Apr.25

We started the day with a warm welcome to UBC Orchard Garden and a tour of the Garden. After the great introduction to UBC Orchard Garden, we discussed our CFE plans. We brainstormed ideas for our workshop and shared goals in this CFE. I look forward to creating a cross-curricular workshop and make our ideas come true.

After lunch, we walked to UBC Farm. We learned about the UBC Farm and the children’s program is amazing! Local elementary schools come in for field trips. Students plant their own seed and take care of their own bed. Children can learn about sustainable and organic agriculture and how forests and farms work together to create a healthy ecosystem. We had a productive afternoon working at UBC farm and planted our own potatoes.
We also learned a lot about how to start gardening and safety procedures on a farm.
1)         When you get a cut: Apply pressure with clean cloth or tissue.
2)         Eye wash station at the Orchard Garden is by the building 
3)         Plants can help with bee stings.

4)         Tool Rules: always carry with point down, and keep tools out of walkways.