By now we all know that I don’t have the best track record when it comes to plants. (If you’re feeling really brave,you might want to read “Alas, Poor Charlie!”) But that has never stopped me from trying. And one of my favorite English Learner projects was always the “planting experience”.
The first pictures I can find of English Learner plants lessons are from 2005. That doesn’t mean we didn’t plant anything before that, but that’s as far back as the pictures go.
That year we not only planted plants but we labeled everything. We even made a poster where we glued and labeled different kinds of seeds. We had really gotten into pandas the year before (as mentioned by Foster in “Panda Abroad”). Hence the pandas all over the classroom!We had so much fun creating our plants bulletin board!
Besides planting, we also got into rocks…I’m sure if I thought about it long enough I could find a state standard for that one! (Or not.)
These were our plants from 2008. As usual we labeled everything, and we had a blast planting them outside the classroom.
If you ever want to be in the photos of your projects, just hand the camera over to a (trusted) student. According to the PowerPoint I made detailing “Our Planting Experience,” the photographers were Harry, Itzel, Vianey, Rachhpal and me.
The fun part about planting in 2008 was that the students all got to take their plants home when we left for Easter Vacation. They were so excited! (I don’t know if I can say the same for the plants, though.)
I thought it was funny that the kids didn’t believe me when I told them the beans would sprout if we put them on a damp paper towel.
A few years later the English Learner program changed, and I lost my beginners to the regular Language Arts classes. At that point I began teaching Spanish only, going to two different schools each day. Then in 2015 the ELD program changed back to the “old way”, and I was able to teach English learners only, still at two different schools. So it was back to planting seeds (whether I could find a standard for it or not).
As it turned out, the lighting was better at one of my schools than the other. Below you can see Ekamjot’s seedlings flourishing on the windowsill at one school (top right), but at my other school our seeds barely sprouted and then promptly died off. So we had to go for Plan B. That was me bringing in a lamp from home and some petunia seedlings so they could start over.
So you can see that, at least in a classroom setting, I have had some success at planting.
But for right now, let’s not think about the plants at my house, OK?