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Showing posts from January, 2015

Adventures in 2nd Grade

Last week, I was invited to the 2nd grade classroom in my daughter's school to talk about plants. I love getting kids excited about plants and growing stuff. I decided to come up with something to help the students think about where their food comes from, i.e. which plant parts we are eating when we eat our fruits and veggies and how does it grow? Is it a root, stem, leaf or flower? Having just covered plants in science, they were hip to that jive. And I also wanted to leave them with an enthusiasm for growing some edible plants for themselves next spring and summer.  I started with an exercise that had them cut out pictures of plant parts to build a plant of their own design. The handout is from an awesome lesson book called 'Minnesota School Gardens: A Guide to Gardening and Plant Science', which I found through the Minnesota Department of Ag website. Find more info and resources about the MN Agriculture in the Classroom program, click here .  I encouraged the kids

How Kids Play

I have been thinking a lot lately about how kids play. Specifically, my brain debates the value of fancy, expensive toys and gadgets versus imaginative, 'simple' play. I could open a whole can of worms here about what I think are the goods and bads of each type of play, but ugh, I just don't want to. That's been done thoroughly by others. I'm not going to claim to be an expert on play, but rather, an observant Mom. I will just say TAKE YOUR KIDS OUTSIDE FOR PETE'S SAKE. There. Now you know where my loyalties generally lie. Last fall I took the Girls to a new park called Whitetail Woods  that has an awesome nature play area. No behemoth metal and plastic play structure here, but instead sticks and rocks, water and sand.  It makes me think of the Late Show with David Letterman bits where he periodically brings in a toy expert to show him the newest and best in toys and gadgets, often lamenting that he, as a kid, was just given 'a good sharp stick' to pla