Litter Critters!

Microworlds

Microworlds

This great activity combines scientific drawings w/ explorations of the world under natural litter (leaf piles!). Just lift the leaves out of the garden and get inspired by the micro-worlds that exist underneath.

Litter Critter poster!

Litter Critter poster!

We learned about all the common litter critters, such as snails, earwigs, centipedes, millipedes, potato bugs, worms, mites, and grubs. All of them help the soil as decomposers. Those leaves work well as mulch to protect in the winter and also as homes for these litter critters. We did drawings of whatever we found. And these fabulous posters we made are great examples of collaborative arts based learning that is hands on and quite fun.

Observing in the sunshine

Observing in the sunshine

It also helps that it has been AMAZING this week outside w/ pure sunshine that makes outdoor activities a must.

Kindergarten in the garden: priceless

Kindergarten in the garden: priceless

The 3,4,5 grades had to write two facts on the back, while the K,1,2 grades just did the drawings and labeling.

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SPS 2nd grade Soils unit in the greenhouse

The incredible Maidi lets y'all know why seeds are fascinating.

The incredible Maidi lets y’all know why seeds are fascinating.

Who wants to bring a kit of soil into their classroom? Not many teachers- so the greenhouse is a great resource for teachers to get their mess on. We explored the beginning part of that kit with an Orca legend in the Science dept- Maidi.

Observe & record

Observe & record

We will be doing the science kit in the greenhouse during the 2nd grade garden time- it’s been fun team teaching with Maidi and getting these kids excited about science. Of course connecting soil science with the garden is a no-brainer.

This might be the most amazing 2nd grade work OF ALL TIME!

This might be the most amazing 2nd grade work OF ALL TIME!

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Salmon-mania at Orca!

Rejoice!

Rejoice!

Rejoice! The salmon have arrived fresh from the Issaquah salmon hatchery. We have 232 of these delightful Coho specimens who hope to be delivered by students to Lake Washington by Spring Break.

Take a looksy

Take a looksy

They are super healthy & already in the “fry” stage. We either learned about their lifecycles (kindergarten) or re-freshed our memories of how these amazing creatures grow.

Art & Science

Art & Science

Check ‘em out in the hallway outside the main office! Much thanks to the Parks Dept. for all their help and guidance. This is our 7th year in a row raising them and we hope it will be the most successful yet.

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Seeds & visions of future deliciousness

Soil mix masters

Soil mix masters

The greenhouse is abuzz with sounds of worker bee Orca students planting seeds for the future bounty of hundreds of area gardens. We like to get our tomato seeds going early in February for our annual plant sale on MAY 9th, 2015. We also donate hundreds of plants to area schools & non-profits (contact us if you want some!), along with supplying our own garden with these plants.

Green thumbs

Green thumbs

We had students creating a unique blend of seed starting mix that consists of organic Cedar Grove potting soil, Orca soil from the garden, and worm castings from our onsite worm bins. 3rd, 4th, & 5th gets to do some real life fraction work with this blend, while the younger kids get the blend the best they can. A good blend is important for seed growth.

The mix

The mix

We are probably getting ahead of ourselves, but we were out planting kale & chard seeds in the sunshine. Early birds get the kale, so we hope they grow in this semi-chilly weather.

Planting kale seeds outside

Planting kale seeds outside

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Grow your own medicine!

Cookin' up the goods

Cookin’ up the goods

The greenhouse smelled like honeycombs and flowers as we cooked up this amazing calendula flower balm. Calendula can heal scratches, bruises, and chapped & dry skin. Check this recipe online here.

Beeswax

Beeswax

We wrote up the recipes and got them ready to present at the Environmental Science Night which is this Thursday 11/20. Growing your own medicine qualifies as environmentally awesome!

Check it out!

Check it out!

Every student gets their own tin and as they get banged up at home and on the playground, they can count on some Orca medicine to help them out.

The recipe

The recipe

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Chard/Kale/Collard rice rolls

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We are eating this garden, frozen or not- making sure we get every last delicious green morsel. The plants started to looked chilled and wilted- so it’s time to eat!

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We made a big pot of rice, put out smalls bowls of rice vinegar & soy sauce, & a collection of sliced daikon radish, carrots, and fresh beets. We rolled it all up into a freshly picked rainbow chard, collard green, or kale leaf.

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The students kept asking for more & more- to see kids going bananas for kale and fresh greens- that warms a garden teacher’s heart like few activities in the world. They loved the food, and they further reinforced the idea that growing your own food can be continually delicious and fun- even when it’s freezing outside.

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November salads are the best

Scavnger hunt for delicious goodies.

Scavnger hunt for delicious goodies.

This garden can’t stop, won’t stop.

A true team effort.

A true team effort.

This garden is the gift that keeps on giving- a living classroom that shares the truest idea of sustainability. Local, fresh, & organic food for all. When a group of students harvests their own salad- you can sense that pride, that feeling of accomplishment. Oh, and it tastes dang good too. We will keep eating till there is nothing left.

Ohh the abundance...

Ohh the abundance…

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