Saturday, June 2, 2018

The 2018 Marquez Garden Celebration

Our annual garden celebration was held on May 30. Twenty one students in grades 1-5 made presentations to donors, parents, students and guests. The guests included Pacific Palisades honorary mayors, Billy and Janice Crystal and representatives from donor Gelson's Markets. In addition to the presenters, some students were assigned to be tour guides.

First graders talked about growing lettuce in recycled plastic bottles and starting seeds in their salad bed;

Second graders talked about composting, growing salad and salsa gardens and starting seeds under grow lights;

Third graders talked about their butterfly garden and their monarch butterfly chrysalises and butterfly, using grow lights and the Three Sisters Garden;

Fourth graders talked about native plants in our Native American Garden and how the Chumash used them. They showed a smudge stick made from white sage and wove deer grass.

Fifth graders talked about experiments growing wheat as well as growing lettuce that Thomas Jefferson planted when he was alive.

After the presentations the presenters and the tour guides showed people around the upper raised beds, the 3rd grade butterfly garden and the Native American Garden on the main patio.

Prior to the presentations, we were entertained by members of the Marquez Jazz Band lead by Mr. Dane.

Thanks to the parents for the refreshments, and the students and the teachers for making posters and preparing presentations for the event. 

This year 17 classes participated in the gardening program. A new high!

The garden celebration day concluded with a kale smoothie and veggie give-away after school courtesy of Gelson's Markets.


Friday, May 18, 2018

Ms. Chaides' 4th Graders Review Native Plants

This week Ms. Chaides' 4th graders reviewed the names of some California native plants that are used by local Native Americans.

We played a game: I brought in pieces of various plants and asked them to identify them. I also gave hints about others.  I brought in pieces of California poppy, white sage, monkey flower, deer grass and California sagebrush.  I had the students write down the names of the plants on a piece of paper.

I also introduced a new plant, woolly blue curls. Once we had the names listed, I put down identifying facts on the white board, not in order, and asked the kids to match them to the name.
Some creative students also drew pictures of the plants.

I think everyone knows that deer grass is woven to make baskets.  There is a large deer grass plant in front of school and many in the patio native garden. The second easiest plant to remember might be white sage, which is located right outside their classroom and which is tied in a bundle and burned during ceremonies.

At the end of the lesson I served kale chips, an always popular treat. Recipe: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Take 1 or 2 bunches of kale washed and torn in small pieces, place on baking sheet lined with parchment paper, toss with olive oil and salt. Bake for approximately 10-15 minutes until crisp at the edges.

Friday, May 11, 2018

Marquez 2nd Graders Celebrate International Compost Week

This week each 2nd grade class visited the compost bins and added either green scraps or brown scraps to the them. This reinforced the lesson in Compost Stew the book that their teachers had read to them.

We now have two bins in the upper yard area-one is a worm bin and the other is a tumbler. The worm bin seems to be the favorite one for the children to use-perhaps because of the red wrigglers in it. They enjoyed looking at the worms. Many of them enjoyed touching them.  Their "bedding" is primarily strips of newspaper, small pieces of cardboard and dirt.

The composting process reinforces the lesson on decomposers of many months ago. Worms eat decaying plants, all fruits and vegetables that are kitchen scraps, egg shells, coffee grounds,etc. but not dairy or meat products.

The hands-on experience of each child adding something to the bin ensures that they'll know at least one thing to add to the compost bin.

We discussed that composting is a way of recycling food scraps instead of putting them down the disposal or throwing them out in the trash.

Checking out the worms

Thursday, May 3, 2018

2nd and 3rd Grade Garden Club Members Help in the Garden

This week some 2nd and 3rd graders helped weed and plant in the lower garden at their lunch recess. Many kids enjoyed digging up the weeds! 2nd graders planted onion, pepper, lettuce and basil seeds as well as some tomato seedlings in two salsa beds. Lettuce and basil are companion plants for tomatoes.  3rd graders planted Renee's Garden purple pole beans, pumpkins and corn in the Three Sisters beds. These are companion plants that were and are still planted by many Native Americans.

Other students also helped by planting herbs in the sensory bed.  They added chives, sage, and thyme. They also added some scented geraniums.

Thanks to our parent volunteers who helped today!

Monday, April 30, 2018

Ms. Gardner's 2nd Graders Celebrate Earth Week

This week Ms. Gardner's 2nd graders celebrated Earth Week. They planted seeds in recycled egg cartons, composted and planted some more seeds in their raised bed.

The egg carton seed starting project was from Scrapkins. By planting in egg cartons, the children helped the Earth by reusing the egg cartons which will decompose in the ground when they are wet and planted.  The children planted lettuce, carrot and basil seeds in their egg cartons and took them home with instructions for care. They covered the seeds with just a bit of soil as the seeds are small.

In class we discussed that compost helps the Earth by reusing food scraps and items from trees rather than throwing them away.  Compost ingredients are classified as greens (food scraps excluding meat products) and browns (items from trees). Children took turns putting items in the compost bin. They added corn husks, lettuce, strawberries, coffee grounds, coffee filters, newspaper and leaves.

The children planted companion plants of tomatoes in the salsa bed. Companion plants are friends that help the other plants grow well.  They planted lettuce and radish seeds and a nasturtium.  We also looked at the arugula in Ms. Soo's bed and tasted the arugula flowers. They are spicy! Some of the children took home arugula seed pods. They can plant the seeds when they are dry.

Friday, April 27, 2018

Ms. Yoshida's 2nd Graders Plant and Compost

Yesterday Ms. Yoshida's students planted in recycled egg cartons, planted in their salsa bed and composted.

In honor of Earth Week, they planted seeds in recycled egg cartons. We discussed how it's good for the environment to reuse items. Another benefit of the egg cartons is that they will decompose in the ground once the seedlings are transplanted. The children chose between corn, lettuce and carrot seeds.

We used a worksheet from Scrapkins for the activity.

We also discussed composting. Ms. Marie showed the children some of what she composts at home. We compost greens-vegetable and fruit scraps and browns-items that come from trees such as bark, leaves, twigs and paper. We do not compost chicken or beef items. The children had good comments about compost!  Outside the children added vegetable scraps and coffee filters to the compost bin.

The children also planted in the raised bed. They planted tomato seedlings. They also planted carrot and lettuce seeds. Carrots and lettuce are companion plants for tomatoes.

Thanks to members of the Pacific Palisades Garden Club for donating the egg cartons.

Ms. Conn's and Ms. Keller's 5th Graders Plant in their Bed

Today the 5th graders in Ms. Conn's and Ms. Keller's classes planted in the Jeffersonian bed.  We first reviewed the fact that peas were Jefferson's favorite vegetable. They planted peas and tennis ball lettuce. All the vegetables are heirlooms. The heirloom tennis ball lettuce seeds were donated by Seed Savers Exchange. They planted Tom Thumb pea seedlings similar to what we would get from Monticello.  Finally, they planted radish seeds. The goal in planting lettuce and radish seeds is that they will germinate fairly quickly so the students can make a salad before the end of the school year.

A parent volunteer will work to better squirrel proof this bed since squirrels have gotten in recently...