Monday, 15 October 2012

Student teachers in the fall garden - 2 recent classes

Friday: First fall rains
"Taking classes outside, even in the rain, teaches differently than if we're just 'fair weather' teachers," Cynthia Nicol encouraged her Problem-Based Learning cohort of student teachers.

And maybe some of us needed encouragement. After months of sunshine, Friday's class in the garden was our first truly fall day of soaking rains.

Beginning with an indoor exploration of mathematics in traditional weaving techniques and a brief trip to the blue whale at the Beaty Biodiversity museum, these elementary math education students were exploring mathematics in the garden - with their boots & umbrellas.

Groups of students spread throughout the garden, searching for 10 plant parts that could reveal mathematical concepts such as geometry, pattern, symmetry, relationship, line, etc. "At first, I couldn't see anything in the garden. It was like I was blind. But now I see these shapes everywhere!"

Monday: Crisp kohlrabi, corn & rain coming
"I had never thought about how many different ways there are to have a garden," one student said as we stood at native plant garden area of The Orchard Garden, talking about the relationship between First Nations people, Chinese Market Gardens, and the myriad ways to experience relationships with the land (including fear & hard work, a couple people reminded us: fear of worms, spiders, and memories of hard, hard work...).

Marny Point's student teachers from the NITEP program came to the garden to learn how to connect gardens to their teaching. Everywhere we moved in the garden, the stories were deeply layered. How are the stories of corn, the three sisters, cover crops, and compost, connected to our classrooms? What can Indigenous languages teach us about our relationships with plants?

"I remember my gran coming to my Grade 5 class. We went out to harvest fiddle heads and then we cooked them. I didn't eat them, though."

"You need to remember that teaching," Marny responded.

Ideas for developing and critiquing and growing both our Native plant garden & Chinese market garden are always very welcome. For more inspiration, watch Cedar & Bamboo.

Thank you, PBL and NITEP program students and instructors. Your sparkling, fresh faces, curiosity, and contagious sense of wonder reminded me - once again - about why I love The Orchard Garden and the work we do. We hope you come again and again. Please contact to arrange a class visit or find out more about our workshop series starting Oct 27, 2012.

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