Sunday, March 11, 2018

In The Greenhouse

The greenhouse is enormous
 My school is run by a kibbutz. They are an urban kibbutz but the founding members came mostly from farming kibbutzim (pl) and they have continued with their values of being connected to the land. We have a large greenhouse, a large vegetable garden, and we recycle the grey water for cleaning the floors and watering the gardens. (We also have animals but I don't go there.) To be fair, many schools, including DD's, have animals, growing walls and vegetable plots, but ours is on a grand scale and we have projects running with many other schools and colleges all over the city.

Behind the wall in a workshop
They make everything themselves, including the furniture.

There are three fish tanks in the greenhouse.
Right at the back you can see auditorium seating for lectures.
It's also a big thing atm to take the children out into nature for all sorts of core lessons such as art, maths, language, science, etc... It's a nationwide initiative to move away from formal classroom and formal timetabling, to a more holistic learning environment. I don't understand exactly how it works but it involves a lot of beanbag seats on carpets in the classrooms. I watched a video about a maths lesson where they went out and counted the whorls on plants. I get that, and I remember the maths involved from own my biology lessons in school. After that though, I have no idea how you could teach the whole maths curriculum in the park.

A computer and screening room for classes.

Some of the children made this traditional mud and straw wall.
They put in a window, a seat, and a cubby or shelf.
Now they use the window to get into the workshop when it's locked.
We were also encouraged to have English lessons in the greenhouse. We did one lesson at the end of last year where the kids had to go round and find things in the greenhouse beginning with each letter of the alphabet. It was fun for one lesson but what about teaching the Present Progressive. I can't imagine doing that without a whiteboard.

There's also a lab/planting room for hands on projects.

All these plants are watered with drip irrigation
So last week my colleague asked me to join her with a class in the greenhouse. Each pupil made a booklet with different types of simple sentences in singular and plural, positive and negative forms. On each page they had to complete or write a number of sentences. E.g. There is..., There are..., There isn't..., There aren't... and: In the greenhouse I..., ....I don't...,  My friend..., She doesn't..., In the greenhouse I can see..., I can't see..., or In the greenhouse I like..., I don't like..., I want to..., I don't want to..., etc...

These plants are watered with a misting system overhead. 

This area is dedicated to hydroponics
(growing plants in water instead of soil).
It was a very successful lesson. The kids really enjoyed it and the value of practicing all those sentences in a more interesting environment was amazing. It got me thinking how I could perhaps teach the Present Progressive in the greenhouse.

And a wall garden of course.
Each graduating 6th grade class build a legacy for the school.


  1. WOW! I am very impressed - what a beautiful school! I don't think there's anything better than getting children in touch with nature and giving them an understanding of where their food comes from. Some of the schools here in Toronto do have gardens and I know we all went on nature walks - that sort of thing. During "Doors Open Toronto" a couple of years ago one of the places I visited was a downtown high school where the entire roof had been converted into a raised planter garden - hey had even set up a small restaurant on the roof - it was amazing.
    Does DD enjoy working in the garden at her school?

    1. DD says she doesn't work in the garden in her school. They have a number of options for certain lessons but she's not chosen gardening so far. Their vegetable garden is very small compared to the school I teach in. As for it being a beautiful school. LOL, let's just say that apart from the greenhouse, it has a beautiful heart.