Apple This is Lynn Handshy. Lynn teaches first grade at Tularcitos Elementary School in Carmel Valley, California. She writes monthly articles about the major activities and projects of her classroom. We feature those projects here on Leslie's website.

A Time For Planting

By Lynn Handshy

The honk of Canadian Geese flying across the valley on their journey north is our signal that it is time to plant our classroom garden again. As is true with everything else we do in 1st grade, we must first have a plan. Armed with seed catalogs and colorful nursery newspaper advertisers each child researched favorite flowers and drew their vision of what the garden should look like. Together we weighed the relative merits of each flowers selected. Plant height, color, and hardiness were the criterion used for selection. Through a process of elimination and compromise we came up with a "map" of the class garden. Then we made a plan of action.

This is what we will do next:

1. We will prepare the soil by tilling last year's garden plot. This consists of a 2-foot by 38-foot strip along the side of my portable classroom. It faces the playground so many can enjoy the floral display.

2. Our request for worms and composted soil has been generously granted by a local organic garden. The children will "dig in" the new soil and add the worms to do their work.

3. Mammoth Sunflower seeds will be planted against the wall. Medium height plants will be seeded 12" in front of the sunflowers and lupine and California native poppy seeds will be scattered in front. Petunia plants will be planted to add some immediate color.

4. Children will weed, water and watch as the seeds sprout and the plants grow. And, most importantly, they will feel a tremendous sense of pride as their schoolmates admire their garden. *Miss Rumphius' dream is alive and well in this 1st grade class. (Miss Rumphius by Barbara Cooney)

Enjoy the early spring! Lynn

PS: This is Chloe's map of the garden layout. It is beautiful!