OK, I’ve finally gone through the stash of books brought back from February’s workshop, the ones not checked out of our Lending Library, and it’s good to see our teachers are using the resources at their disposal to develop some great projects!

If you’ve found a book especially helpful, feel free to review it, either on Amazon or on Barnes & Noble. If you send me your review link (or e-mail your review), I’ll share it with other Discovering Place participants on our blog, even if it’s only a sentence.

To help you plan ahead, here are some books we’ll be bringing to the next workshop. Just shoot me an e-mail if you want to check out books;  I’ll set them aside for you. I’m linking these, when possible, to book reviews.

– Elizabeth

  • The Growing Classroom, by Roberta Jaffe and Gary Appel. This book’s copyright date is 1990, but there are lots of good lessons (which appear intended for younger students), ranging from observation to amino acids to responsible consumerism, which were uncovered by scouring the country for the best of the best in garden-based science. Could be helpful for garden projects.
  • Teaching Green, The High School Years, Hands-On Learning in Grades 9-12, by Tim Grant and Gail Littlejohn. Published in 2009, this book lacks reader reviews but has lots to offer. The 8-step process to creating environmental projects (pages 12 – 17) will be beneficial to teachers as they begin expanding on, and narrowing down, the ideas currently being developed. Along with inspirational and educational sections (Discovering Lake Management, Carbon Cycle, Science on the River, Measuring your School’s Ecological Footprint, etc.), the book contains an especially helpful section: Making Interdisciplinary Connections.  Note: Our library also has elementary and middle school versions of this book.
  • The Great Neighborhood Book, A Do-it-Yourself Guide to Placemaking, by Jay Walljasper. Remember Matthew Washington, the amazing New York speaker from our December dinner? One of Matthew’s passion is something called placemaking, which focuses on creating places where people want to gather. We love the garden and environmental projects that teachers are planning, but one of our aims is for our projects to benefit the community. This is an easy read, full of inspiration to help you build elements into your project to elevate it to something really special.
  • From Seeds to Stories, the Community Garden Storytelling Project of Flint, by the Flint Urban Gardening and Land Use Corporation Prevention Research Center of Michigan. It’s helpful to know what others have done. It’s wonderful to see local photos. And it’s heartwarming to learn how these efforts have been transformational for people involved. I especially love the story of two young ladies involved in  the East Bishop/East Flint Park Block Club, who were on their way to being enemies until paired in a garden workgroup. Sadly this book is now out of print, but you can borrow it from us. Click here for a more extensive description of the book.
  • Digging Deeper, Integrating Youth Gardens Into Schools & Communities, by Joseph Kiefer and Martin Kemple. This book strikes me as a very practical read for anyone planning a school garden. Chapter 1 starts with five questions to consider when starting a youth garden, Chapter 2 covers building your team and defining the type of garden based on needs, along with theme-based schedules. The book also includes garden design ideas, plans for building a composter,  advice for kickoff events, seed-starting tips, information on planting and weeding, a sample sheet to track garden data, summer activities, worm composting, recipes and activities such as dissecting flowers, making a five-senses vegetable book, and more. There’s even an advanced section on marketing specialty products to sell from the garden.
  • No Student Left Indoors: Creating a Field Guide to Your Schoolyard, by Jane Kirkland. This book completely outlines – in six easy steps – how to do a great, engaging, potentially  multidisciplinary project with your students. Not only can it be used to create an extensive inventory of your schoolyard, you can use it for a mini-project, to create a small guide booklet showing the plants you find or birds you observe. If you’re interested in including birds in your project, you’ll especially like this book, since birds are used as an example.

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