How Gardening Changed our Classroom Community

Building a strong foundation for a welcoming classroom community is imperative to every classroom. As teachers, we all know this, but how do we reach the highest level of a successful classroom community? As individual and talented teachers we all have our different strategies, tips, and tricks. Most of these are activities done in the beginning of the school year. Laying out expectations, norms, routines, and practicing character building skills. However, building a strong classroom community is a year long process, it never stops.

One thing that has helped the community in my classroom is taking part in a community garden. My class and I are fortunate enough to be at a school that has this as a resource.

Visiting the community garden provides an opportunity for our class to work together in a real life situation, plus it gives us an opportunity to be outside! Working in the garden allowed students to work with their hands to produce something tangible such as vegetables and fruits. 

Students always brought out their Garden Journals each time we visited the garden to record progress of their plants. (Yay for informative writing!) 

You can find this Garden Journals by clicking here or on any of the pictures.

These Garden Journals helped students understand the different stages plants go through while growing and having a deeper understanding of the plant life cycle. Students loved seeing and feeling the differences from week to week. They were able to work together and share what observations they made. Ah... students working together.

You can find this Garden Journals by clicking here or on any of the pictures.

Seeing progress in a project students worked on together gave my classroom a feeling of accomplishment. Students were proud not only of themselves, but of each other also.

Not only did students study plant life cycles, but we had to work together to decide where each vegetable would be planted and how to go about planting. This was good review for plant parts and needs. After making a plan, students were able to draw out a map of our garden bed.

You can find this Garden Journals by clicking here or on any of the pictures.

Students were able to record observations at their level. Some students drew all pictures, some wrote phrases, while other students used complete sentences. Again, this was  time students were able to work together and help one another.

You can find this Garden Journals by clicking here or on any of the pictures.

After a week or two of having our gardening routine I noticed a different energy in our classroom. I saw students helping one another, I heard students using words of praise, and I noticed less playground issues.  I attribute this to students being able to successfully work together on a project that was their own.

I would love to hear from you about how you keep classroom community strong through the school year!

Happy Gardening!

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