So you are ready for your planting day. Do you have seeds? check. soil? check. Seasonal garden plan? check. A group of students who are already fidgety and restless in class? Oh yeah.
Welcome back to another amazing school year in your Learning Garden! We’re kicking off the year by highlighting some fun and innovative ways to plan and manage your school’s fall planting day. Whether you’re hoping to involve more community members or increase student investment in the Learning Garden, we’ve got you covered. Check out our suggestions below and share how you’re managing your fall planting day this school year!
- School or Community Events: The fall semester is jam-packed with school-wide events and celebrations. Capitalize on this back-to-school energy and plan your fall planting day around a particular event that you know will have lots of foot traffic. Invite attendees to help clear the garden of last season’s crops, plant seeds for the upcoming season, and/or water the Learning Garden. Who knows? You might go so far as making your school’s fall planting day a holiday of its own!
- The Buddy System: Looking to increase classroom participation? Try managing your planting day using “the buddy system”! Invite classrooms of older students to pair up with younger students to work together in the Learning Garden. It’s a great opportunity to give older students leadership roles and build cohesion within your school community. Does this system already exist at your school? Invite those classrooms out to plant or help with any other garden tasks!
- Practice in the classroom first: Whether you’re stepping up to kindergarten or have years of gardening under your belt, it never hurts to practice before you go out into the Learning Garden. Spend time in the classroom reviewing different planting methods and have students practice “sowing seeds” using materials like sand, rice, or beads. Get reacquainted with garden insects and other creatures by reading books about them in the library or looking at specimen under a microscope. The more background knowledge and context you can provide, the easier it will be to engage students in the Learning Garden. These types of lessons also provide easy ways to make classroom connections in the garden.
- Get the whole school involved: Generate excitement around your planting day by designating classrooms or grade-level bands with certain crops they will be responsible for planting. Encourage these classes to make signs celebrating their group’s fruit or vegetable and hyping up the upcoming planting day. Ask student volunteers to make creative, garden-focused announcements every morning leading up to the planting day. Involving every class in this way means that students have more of a connection to what is happening out in the Learning Garden and feel more invested in the space.
Explore additional resources for planning and managing your school’s planting day by searching “Planting Day” in The Greenhouse, Big Green’s one-stop shop for school garden activities and curriculum.