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Growing Poems

Elementary, Middle

Description

Growing Poems encourages students to reflect on their gardening experiences through reading and writing different styles of poetry.  The project offers excellent background information, several supplementary resources and an interactive, online poetry activity where students can post their poems.

Students will develop diverse ways of describing everyday objects, processes and events using their senses.  A reproducible sheet is included for recording of the garden exploration.  The students will discover that they have a unique way of expressing themselves using their own voice in writing.  Gardens will grow in their minds and provide a rich context for exploring phonics, personal expression, parts of speech and figurative language. This teacher and student friendly garden-based poetry project is described in an e-newsletter published by the National Gardening Association. 

General Assessment

What skills does this resource explicitly teach?

  • Writing different styles of poetry and presenting them to each other and posting online for others to read on the interactive website for creating magnetic poetry.

Strengths

  • This is a teacher friendly and interesting resource allowing the students to use their senses to record observations in a garden and then write creative poetry to express their voice and feelings about plant based gardens.
  • Resources are listed, and examples of poets are presented online for students to read and books are also listed.
  • An interesting interactive website allows students to create their own magnetic poetry and post it for others to read.

Weaknesses

  • Working in groups to brainstorm ideas and then pair share reflections would place less emphasis on  teacher directed instruction.

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Themes Addressed

  • Citizenship (1)

    • Ecological Footprint
  • Ecosystems (1)

    • Appreciating the Natural World
  • Land Use & Natural Resources (2)

    • Planting Native Species
    • Sustainable Urbanization

Sustainability Education Principles

Principle Rating Explanation
Consideration of Alternative Perspectives Good
  • The bias is a positive one where different ideas can be discussed in the lessons.  Hands on activities are provided to facilitate problem solving and opportunities for open ended discussion.
Consideration of Alternative Perspectives:
  • Satisfactory: absence of bias towards any one point of view
  • Good: students consider different points of view regarding issues, problems discussed
  • Very good: based on the consideration of different views, students form opinions and  take an informed position
Multiple Dimensions of Problems & Solutions Good
  • The importance of urban sustainability is emphasized in the garden experiences.  Various problem-solving activities are provided and action plans are suggested.
Multiple Dimensions of Problems & Solutions:

Effectively addresses the environmental, economic and social dimensions of the issue(s) being explored.

  • Satisfactory: resource supports the examination of  these dimensions
  • Good:  resource explicitly examines the interplay of these dimensions
  • Very Good:  a systems-thinking approach is encouraged to examine these three dimensions
Respects Complexity Good
Respects Complexity:

The complexity of the problems/issues being discussed is respected.

Acting on Learning Satisfactory
  • Students will observe and record their feelings using their senses in a garden to motivate poetic writing.  Their poems can be posted on a website for others to read.  The interactive website also allows the students to create their own poetry using online magnetic poetry tiles.
Acting on Learning:

Learning moves from understanding  issues  to working towards positive change — in personal lifestyle, in school, in the community,  or for the planet

  • Satisfactory: action opportunities are included as extensions 
  • Good: action opportunities are core components of the resource
  • Very Good: action opportunities for students are well supported and intended to result in observable, positive change
Values Education Very Good
  • Students express their feelings using their voice, based on their research in their poetry writing.  They also read what others have written who also care about this topic of plant based studies.
Values Education:

Students are explicitly provided with opportunities to identify, clarify and express their own beliefs/values.

Empathy & Respect for Humans Good
Empathy & Respect for Humans: Empathy and respect are fostered for diverse groups of humans (including different genders, ethnic groups, sexual preferences, etc.).
Personal Affinity with Earth Good
  • Students explore gardens using their senses and recording their observation.  They also read other authors who write poetry on plant based topics.
Personal Affinity with Earth:

Encourages a personal affinity with -the natural world.  

  • Satisfactory: connection is made to the natural world
  • Good: fosters appreciation/concern for the natural world
  • Very Good: fosters stewardship though practical and respectful experiences out-of-doors 
Locally-Focused Learning Good
  • The gardens they explore are in their own backyards/garden trips planned by the teacher where they can record their observations using their own senses. 
Locally-Focused Learning:

Includes learning experiences that take advantage of issues/elements within the local community. 

  • Satisfactory: learning is made relevant to the lives of the learners
  • Good: learning is made relevant and has a local focus
  • Very Good: learning is made relevant, local and takes place ‘outside’ , in the community 
Past, Present & Future Satisfactory
  • There is no study of the past in these plant based projects and the present is only what they are taught, however a positive vision for the future can arise from the students using their voice in their poetry writing.  Reading other poets work on this topic who have a vision for the future can influence the students.
Past, Present & Future: Promotes an understanding of the past, a sense of the present, and a positive vision for the future.

Pedagogical Approaches

Principle Rating Explanation
Open-Ended Instruction Good
  • Students read, learn and write different styles of poetry.  They brainstorm their ideas and use their senses to record their observations.
Open-Ended Instruction :

Lessons are structured so that multiple/complex answers are possible; students are not steered toward one 'right' answer.

Integrated Learning Good
  • The objectives are to write poetry based on the students using their senses after exploring a garden.  Science and Health as well as Language Arts learning are integrated into this project.
Integrated Learning:

Learning brings together content and skills  from more than one  subject area

  • Satisfactory: content from a number of different  subject areas is readily identifiable
  • Good:  resource is appropriate for use in more than one subject area
  • Very Good:  the lines between subjects are blurred 
Inquiry Learning Good
  • Exploring the garden, using their senses to record their observations and feelings to be used in their creative poetry writing.  Also the students get an appreciation and ideas from reading other author's works.
Inquiry Learning:

Learning is directed by questions, problems, or challenges that students work to address.   

  • Satisfactory: Students are provided with questions/problems to solve and some direction on how to arrive at solutions.
  • Good: students, assisted by the teacher clarify the question(s) to ask and the process to follow to arrive at solutions.  Sometimes referred to as Guided Inquiry
  • Very Good:  students generate the questions and assume much of the responsibility for how to solve them.  . Sometimes referred to as self-directed learning.

 

Differentiated Instruction Good
  • Activities are structured in such a way that diverse learners can be accommodated.  The students use their own ideas and material based on their senses and research to write their poetry.  Also the interactive magnetic poetry activity helps to facilitate a range of learners. 
Differentiated Instruction:

Activities address a range of student learning styles, abilities and readiness.

  • Satisfactory:  includes a variety of instructional approaches
  • Good: addresses  the needs of visual, auditory &  kinesthetic learners
  • Very Good: also includes strategies for learners with difficulties
Experiential Learning Good
  • Students research in a garden using different senses and recording observations. 
  • The students listen and read various styles of poetry, and learn how to use voice which is one of the areas in six traits of writing.
Experiential Learning:

Authentic learning experiences are provided

  • Satisfactory: learning takes place through ‘hands-on’ experience or simulation
  • Good: learning involves direct experience in a ‘real world context’
  • Very good: learning involves ‘real world experiences’ taking place’ beyond the school walls.
Cooperative Learning Satisfactory
  • Students work in pairs for part of the project, individually and as a large group.  No cooperative skills are explicitly taught and practiced.
Cooperative Learning:

Group and cooperative learning strategies are a priority.

  • Satisfactory:  students work in groups
  • Good: cooperative learning skills are explicitly taught and practiced
  • Very Good: cooperative learning skills are explicitly taught, practiced and assessed
Assessment & Evaluation Good
  • Students reflect on the written poetry by other authors and also on their own research and experiences using their senses.  The completed poems demonstrate what the student's have learned, recorded and written.
Assessment & Evaluation: Tools are provided that help students and teachers to capture formative and summative information about students' learning and performance. These tools may include reflection questions, checklists, rubrics, etc.
Peer Teaching Satisfactory
  • Students share their work with each other and also with the world when they post their work on the internet, the website for interactive magnetic poetry writing
Peer Teaching:

Provides opportunities for students to actively present their knowledge and skills to peers and/or act as teachers and mentors.

  • Satisfactory: incidental teaching that arises from cooperative learning, presentations, etc.
  • Good or Very Good: an opportunity is intentionally created to empower students to teach other students/community members. The audience is somehow reliant on the students' teaching (students are not simply ‘presenting')
Case Studies Poor/Not considered
  • No case studies are provided in this resource.
Case Studies:

Relevant case studies are included.  Case studies are thorough descriptions of real events from real situations that students use to explore  concepts in an authentic context.

Locus of Control Good
  • Students choose a style of writing after reading and listening to other poets' work. 
  • Students choose to write in a style they want and they choose feelings to express from their sensory experience in the garden and recording of observations.
Locus of Control: Meaningful opportunities are provided for students to choose elements of program content, the medium in which they wish to work, and/or to go deeper into a chosen issue.