Post #4. Design a Garden - with KIDS!
My First Class with Grade 1 Students...
Come along with me on my journey to write a book (working title: "Growing Gardeners") that will inspire and encourage children to design their own gardens and outdoor spaces.
There are many resources out there about designing a child-friendly garden, gardens for children and experiential gardens for young students. This is NOT that.
This blog tracks my journey of finding ways to inspire and encourage children to design their own gardens (real or imagined) while also learning about Landscape Design and Landscape Architecture.
My First Class with Grade 1 Students...
GRADE 1'S: Monday, March 6, 2023
Gah! How exciting! Today I had the opportunity to teach two, grade 1 classes at Jeanne Sauvé French Immersion Public School here in London, Ontario. I had initially reached out over Facebook to my network asking for connections to public school teachers. My friend, Ceris Thomas connected me with the Teacher-Librarian at Jeanne Sauvé - Dawn-Marie Deagle. I am SO VERY GRATEFUL for this connection! Dawn-Marie has me scheduled to come into her library to teach each grade at her school between one and eight. THANK-YOU! Today is only Day#1.
After looking through the Grade 1-3 curriculum, I realized that there are SO MANY opportunities to connect it to Garden Design concepts and that there was NO WAY I could incorporate everything I wanted to into a single 100-minute class - especially for my first class.
I decided to focus on a few items in the curriculum that I could expand upon in each class between grades one and three to start:
Colour Theory (schemes & the colour wheel)
Simple Geometry (circles and squares)
Using Geometry to compose numbers and shapes
Sorting Data by Attributes (one, two or three depending on grade)
Collecting Data (through experimentation, observation & interview)
Frequency Tables (taught with me or later with their teacher)
Creating and Interpreting Maps
Measure & Draw Lengths & Perimeter
Communication (spoken & written)
Developing Self-Awareness and Identity (through freedom to choose what appeals to them)
Thinking Critically and Creatively
Photo Below: the setup for the first class of Grade 1's at Jeanne Sauvé
I was excited and nervous to present the first class. I know it is important to approach these opportunities as learning experiences FOR ME to learn from the children what works/what doesn't, what they know/don't know, what they like/dislike, etc.
THIS WAS THE PLAN:
Short Presentation about myself and what I do as a Landscape Designer
ASK children two questions (to compare across grades):
"What IS a Garden?" and
"What will you FIND/SEE in a Garden?"
Introduce Colour Wheel & Colour Schemes depending on grade :
Monochromatic - Grade 1 (one attribute)
Complimentary - Grade 2 (two attributes)
Triadic - Grade 3 (three attributes)
Have students each pick a colour they want and they each take a colour swatch of their choosing
Have students each pick a SQUARE or CIRCLE shape for their garden
Trace out desired shape for each child (with help of Dawn-Marie and the Teacher)
Have students cut-out a "window" in the front page without cutting to the edge of the page (Scissor Skills)
Have students trace inside of window to copy shape to inside of the booklet
Students then cut-out plant photos from the provided seed catalog (Thanks OSC SEEDS!!!) that belong to the colour(s) they selected and glue them inside the shape or "Garden Plot"
Students had freedom to glue in any desired pattern within their shape
Students got to take home the garden they made and the seed catalog they cut from
Some photos from the class with Grade 1's
*posted with permission*:
THE RESULT (WHAT ACTUALLY HAPPENED):
The Short Presentation was delivered via Google Slides and a Smart Board. We couldn't draw right on the board while a presentation was playing so we used a large sheet of paper instead
When the Grade 1's were asked "What IS a Garden?", these were their responses. Words/Phrases/Concepts that were mentioned more than once are noted in Bold:
• Space with flowersx2 & plants
• Big space
• A grow spacex2
• Sometimes vegetablesx2
• Plant fruits and stuffx2
• Nature like leavesx3 for decoration
• Treesx2 making oxygen for us
• Good for animals
• Box with plants
• Helps people breathe
• Spring & Summer
• Spend time in Garden with family and tomatoes
• Make backyard more beautiful
• Things can die in a garden if you pick them
• Have fun, play with friends
• Water plants
• Smell flowers
• Some plants are poison
• Some plants are spikey, some smoothe
When the Grade 1's were asked "What will you FIND/SEE in a Garden?", these were their responses. Words/Phrases/Concepts that were mentioned more than once are noted in Bold (Prompts: Bugs, Birds(Prompt was supposed to be "animals"), Plants & People):
• Blue Jays x3
• Red birds
• Cardinals x3
• Yellow birds finches!
• Yellow birds
• Black birds
• Roses x3
• Dandelions you blow to make wishes
• Tomatoes x2
• Apple treex2
• Money tree
• People playingx4
• People looking around, exploring
• Flying balloons/kites
• People playing soccer/sports
• People Feedingx2 birds
• People who Guard Gardens
SHAPE & COLOUR RESULTS:
# STUDENTS: 17(group1) + 16(group 2) = 33
SQUARE SHAPE SELECTED: 23 = 69.7%
CIRCLE SHAPE SELECTED: 10 = 30.3%
PURPLE SELECTED: 8 = 24.5%
GREEN SELECTED: 5 = 15%
RED SELECTED: 4 = 12%
YELLOW SELECTED: 0
PINK SELECTED: 11 = 33.5%
BLUE SELECTED: 15%
ORANGE SELECTED: 0
Today's class taught me some lessons and leaves me with some more questions:
The majority of the students today had not cut-out a "window" before. They were proud they learned something new and did it successfully.
Grade 1's have A LOT of energy and get very loud when they are excited about what they are doing.
Personalities are well-developed
I witnessed lots of sharing of plant photos between students (AWE!)
Students would tell other students to look at certain photos on a specific page number
Students were very excited to share stories about their experiences in gardens. I wish I planned for more sharing time.
Below are RESOURCES that I come across - as I come across them
(see previous blog posts for other resources):
Jeanne Sauvé French Immersion P.S. https://jeannesauve.tvdsb.ca/en/index.aspx
Are you teaching garden design to your students?
Are you a parent teaching the concepts to your child(ren)?
Do you WANT to?
I want to hear from YOU! Get in touch!
I'd love to hear your stories, struggles, lessons and explorations in this area.
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