Learning New Things

When learning most new things, making mistakes is part of the learning process. What we learn from those mistakes, and how we change or adapt what we do, makes learning possible. This is only so if the environment is safe. I’m sure you’d want to make as few mistakes as possible when learning to fly a plane, for example.

The classroom is a great example where everyone should feel safe from ridicule when a mistake is made. I couldn’t tell you how many mistakes I’ve made already: spelling a child’s name incorrectly on all his labels, mixing up left for right, and the list goes on. I make it a point to let my students know about these mistakes so that they can see that those kinds of mistakes are learning opportunities. I know the ‘failed’ adhesive for 3M and its post-it notes is a very popular story to tell about making mistakes.

For me this year, I know I will learn many new things, one of which is gardening and teaching kids how to garden. As I mentioned in previous posts, I will first rely on our great experts at school, both other teachers and parents. Then I will have to learn by doing with the kids. I also have to commend the authors of the book: How to Grow a School Garden: A Complete Guide for Parents and Teachers. I have learned a lot from them. Unfortunately the copy I’m reading is a public library book that needs to be returned, but the last three chapters are very helpful:

Ch. 8) Planting, Harvesting, and Cooking in the Garden

Ch. 9) Year-Round Garden Lessons and Activities

Ch. 10) A Decade in a School Garden: Alice Fong Yu Alternative School, San Francisco California.

It’s a book definitely worth having in any school resource room. By the way, Barnes and Noble offers 20% off to teachers online as well as in-store, while Amazon still doesn’t offer teachers any discounts. Still, if you can support your local bookstore, please do, they often give similar discounts to teachers.

We were shown some other resources for gardening, and I’ll write about those when I get to them.

Just as a side note, I met someone this weekend working for a philanthropic organization which focuses on agriculture in Africa: Ethiopia more specifically. He was very passionate about the importance of agriculture in our curriculum.

With regards to gardening, I plan on learning much – probably from many mistakes.


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