Updated: Mar 25, 2020
Well this year I'm stepping way out of my own comfort zone and building a garden! A literary garden to be exact. First and foremost, I know nothing of gardening, but that's the exciting part . . . I get to learn, too! This guide is the first in a series, which by the end, will culminate in a complete garden (at our school), with each plant and/or vegetable being connected to a literary figure. NOW THAT'S SOME LEARNING!
In fact, one of the activities has the students correlating the plant's growth process to the steps in the Hero's Journey! There's music correlation, augmented reality, visible thinking routines, and yes . . . growing plants. Overall, I understand that there is no guarantee that the plants, etc. will grow. However, it's important to remember, it's a journey and regardless of the ultimate destination, LEARNING WILL TAKE PLACE for my students.
One may ask "why are you growing a garden in a Language Arts class?" Well, I'm glad you asked. First, let's look at some of the benefits of gardening.
Stress Relief and Esteem Building
Growing one’s own plants and food has been proven to lower Cortisol levels. Cortisol is the “stress hormone” which in elevated levels has been linked to mood disorders, immune system functioning, obesity, memory and learning problems, along with heart disease.
Gardening (as shown in a Stockholm study) has shown to reduce strokes and heart attacks by up to 30%.
Gardening activates hand muscles keeping them healthy and agile through planting, watering, and caring for plants, etc.
Research has shown that daily gardening offers the single greatest risk reduction for dementia, in upwards of 36%. How does gardening offer such benefits? In essence, gardening envelops many of our key functions (i.e. strength, endurance, dexterity, learning, problem solving, and an all-around awareness). Therefore, the correlating benefits are apt to synthesize with our overall well-being.
Kids may have it right . . . it’s fun to play in the dirt! Actually, the dirt on your hands and under your fingernails may be enhancing your immune system! The “friendly” soil bacteria Mycobacterium vaccae — plentiful in garden dirt, can be ingested through inhalation and is linked to easing symptoms of allergies, asthma and psoriasis.
Come back and visit often as I'll be posting updates as to how this works out with my classes.
Step 1 - Plant
Step 2 - Nurture Plant (Water, Light, Shade)
Step 3 - Witness the Beauty of Growth
Beginning the Literary Garden
Visible Learning with the Literary Garden
Keeping Track of the Plant's Growth