One way I help the students learn about plants is to draw and dissect flowers. There is nothing better than a pile of colored pencils and a bunch of white paper and some fragrant flowers in front of you. They pull apart the flowers and I walk around to each student explaining each part of the flower, the stigma, petals, stamen, pollen, sepal, stem, ovaries… I then ask them to tell me all the parts of the flower. It seems to open up parts of the brain to learning through coloring and smell and touch. Its one of my favorite class activities. They all moan and groan and act like I think they are in kindergarten but somewhere along the way silence takes over, pencils scritch and scratch and men ask for copies to mail home. Yesterday, it was pink, fragrant Asiatic lilies to observe.
I ordered a bunch of great gardening movies to show to my students at the prison. Some films were approved to show and some were not. One that was not approved but is really worth watching anyway is THE GARDEN. Its about a 14 acre community garden created on a burned out block in South Central LA, CA after the LA riots resulting from the Rodney King beating verdict. Its an intense and powerful movie about what happens when the land is ultimately wanted back by the developer. Its an inspiring movie about hope, hard work, disappointment and more hope.
After lunch we watched DIRT which is really inspiring and a perfect movie when planning a garden. At first I saw a few eyes roll and heard a couple exaggerated sighs but by the end students said they had really enjoyed it.
We began with a plan and we learn to appreciate the soil and before we know it we’ll be planting peas.