The list of things the fourth graders are able to do independently continues to grow, and last week they added “putting together a garden bed” to their list of accomplishments! With quite a bit of elbow grease and cooperation (and virtually no help from me), they figured out how to assemble a 4x4’ garden bed (that was supposed to require a power drill, mind you!). Putting together a garden bed isn’t on the list of state standards, and cooperation and problem solving skills can be hard to quantify - but you know them when you see them, and I saw them that day. Alfie Kohn talks about how student interest should guide what we do with children, and this was a very high interest activity! If I wanted to start listing the benefits of such an activity, I could - and the list would be long - but some of the most important to me are joy, satisfaction (the kind that comes after struggle), and a common goal achieved through hard work, perseverance, and teamwork. The best part for the children was creating an additional space for growing some summer crops: gourds, sunflowers, and a giant pumpkin!
Some of the things I heard as they were working…
"I love working with tools!"
"My dad has tools and he lets me use them."
"I want to do more things like this!"
After soaking our seeds for a few days, we were ready to plant.
We are also continuing to take care of our current crops, which include corn, squash, and beans. We are hoping for a harvest before summer vacation! Fingers crossed for more sun!