Today Ms. Gardner's class started gardening. They were enthusiastic learners! We discussed composting: what does into the compost (greens, browns), what else is needed (air and water), what decomposers do the work (they volunteered names of decomposers that they had learned in science-earthworms, fungi, bacteria, pill bugs), that heat is generated by the decomposing process and that the outcome is humus which we add to soil to enrich it.
The kids then had the choice of two jobs: adding greens to the compost bin or weeding an area where the fourth graders are planting seeds of our state flower, the California poppy. They tore the greens into small pieces so they will break down easier. They all should recognize what the poppy looks like since one is blooming in the bed.
Finally, they looked at the earthworms and bugs in the sample of compost which I brought from home. At the end of the morning, some kids added my compost and worms to the 4th grade bin.
It would be great if fourth graders could bring items for the compost bin on the days that they garden. They know what they can bring: vegie and fruit scraps, coffee filters, coffee grounds, tea bags, paper towels, newspaper. I forgot to mention egg shells to them, but they can bring those as well. When adding to the bin, we need to keep an equal balance of greens and browns and keep the bin moist.