Monday, March 30, 2009

More Pictures, Now That I've Learned How to Post Them!

What a change, wouldn't you say? Those worms are really busy little creatures!

Here's what our "composting camp" looked like on March 21, 2009, just after I added more shredded paper for their bedding.

One of our very first photos of our vermicomposting adventure, taken January 21, 2009.

Sun Light is Up and Running!

Last Sunday we set up the T5 Sunlight for our Romaine plants. I took 3 plants out of the aeroponic system that didn't look like they were doing so well, and replaced them with stronger looking seedlings. Today I'll be adding more nutrients to the water, so my little Romaine plants (and chives, too) can get a strong, healthy start!
I'm hoping to upload photos today, too, after I figure out how that gets done on these blogs...with any amount of luck, you'll be seeing those, soon!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Happy Spring!

Yesterday we got the aeroponic garden up and running. We placed 7 Paris Island Romaine seedlings, 3Baby Romaine seedlings, and one of chives into their own, separate "net-pots," then filled in the gaps with hydroton pebbles. The pump is nice and quiet; it makes a gentle sound much like the filter of my fishtank, which is probably a good thing--I know my students will miss the koi (and the solitary goldfish) when they get moved back to my pond at home in a few weeks. Hmmm...perhaps I'll just have to get more fish to take their place! Poor things are growing, and getting a bit large for that 10-gallon tank. They'll be happy to make the move to the outdoor pond--and hopefully will be too big for the kingfishers to snag and eat!

The red wigglers continue to munch away quietly in their "worm campground." My students love checking their progress, and now just about all of my students are willing to get their hands right in there and help (gently!) mix the tub contents up every now and then. It's wonderful that these kids can get a summertime experience in the classroom right now, because it's starting to get extremely wet and sloppy outdoors! Oh, well, we're gardeners...we practice waiting all year long, for one thing or another, don't we?! Have a wonderful week!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

More pictures, more activities to share...

This week, we were excited to discover that our Romaine seedlings germinated over the weekend (Saturday morning, to be exact). Now my husband and I are feeling the time crunch to get the aeroponic "tub" ready for the next step of our indoor gardening project! I've taken some pictures, and hope to post them soon.
My classroom gardenia plant had developed a bad case of spider mites, but a good botanical friend of mine has cleared that up (for now). I'd better keep a careful eye on it the next few days, so I can spare the leaves and flower buds (hooray!) that survived the infestation. A huge "Thank you" to my friend Aric for doctoring it up!
Our classroom orchid (the first I've ever owned) continues to bloom profusely, and provide a beautiful, gentle scent throughout the classroom. Since I don't know enough about caring for them yet, I'm planning on visiting the orchid shop in Neenah (where I purchased it from), and the woman I bought it from will walk me through how to divide it and re-pot it. Another learning experience! I always enjoy learning something new.
Our vermicomposting "camp" is really going to town. Our red wiggler worms eat a lot of vegetable scraps, munch on egg shells for "grit," and enjoyed strawberry bits (hulls and "bad" berries) this week. It looks so very different from when we started, when there was only the shredded newspaper, a handful of dirt, and 2 lbs. of worms! They've been extremely busy!
This week, in our classroom, we're starting a unit about taking care of the environment. I hope the kids tie in these science "projects" we've been doing for some time now with the ideals in the unit. We can do many small things that make a large difference.
That's it for now!

Friday, March 13, 2009

Taking lots of photos today...

Today I took a lot of photos, of various classroom activities and ongoing projects. We completed (or nearly completed) our Aboriginal dot art masks today, and I must say, they look FANTASTIC! The kids needed a great amount of time (nearly the entire morning) to get them done, but, I know they've developed a very strong appreciation for the time and talent it takes to create art! Tyler, one of my first graders, said,"I can't imagine how much time it took [the artists] to create the masks we saw on the internet websites!" Many of the kids commented that the venture was definitely a highlight of the week. I'm planning on using photos of their completed masks as part of my SMART board photo powerpoint of "How to Make an Aboriginal Dot Art Mask." Next year's kids, and those that follow in later years, will have a nice array of mask examples to look at: some pictures of masks made by Aboriginal people, and some pictures of masks made by 6- and 7-year olds like themselves!

I also took pictures of how our lettuce is doing (seeds sitting in a warm, moist climate, ready to germinate soon), and I took a few photos of our vermicomposting project. The kids "fed" the worms today--some old lettuce pieces. These kids are really "digging in" to the earth-friendly projects we've started in this classroom! (With BOTH hands!) :)

Looks like I should get a photo of myself taken soon, so I can post it on this site! :) Then I won't just be a shadow blogger! Have a great weekend, everyone!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Starting our Aeroponic Adventure!

Today our class started 48 Romaine lettuce seeds (2 varieties: Paris Island and Baby Romaine) which will eventually go into our aeroponic growing station. We're going to document the progress on this blog; hopefully it gets other people interested in trying out this fantastic no-soil way of gardening indoors!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Hello, I'm New Here...

I've shed my reservations and decided to jump into blogging. Would like to see how this can benefit me in the future...

A bit about myself :)

First grade teacher for the past 13 years/resident of Wisconsin my entire life/graduate from UWEC (go Blugolds), then a master's degree in creative arts from Lesley U./happily married, with 3 kids/love learning new things (thus, this adventure)/enjoy cooking, the arts, gardening, reading, travel/just learning how to blog, twitter, and grow vegetables hydroponically/tend not to re-send the emails that my friends want me to pass on to everyone I know, yet haven't had any "bad luck" befall me because I deleted those emails rather than send them--go figure!