“Insert shrieks of excitement here.”

The last week of the school year was filled with kindergartners holding chickens, building fairy houses, and laughing outside.sp15.wk21.1sp15.wk21.2Ms. Riley’s class visited the worms, planted corn and pumpkins, and held the chickens for their last visit to the garden. sp15.wk21.3

Over the past two years I have thoroughly enjoyed working at Miraloma. The students, teachers, and community members welcomed me with open arms, smiles, and a very parched and weedy garden. It has been an honor to be a Miraloma dragon – I look forward to visiting in the coming years! Happy Summer!

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“This is better than junk food.”

The first graders celebrated their last class in the garden by harvesting kale, lettuce, fava bean leaves, borage flowers, and kale flowers to make a garden salad. Students expertly picked leaves without ripping the entire plant from the ground (most times…) and tore the leaves into bite-sized pieces. The salad was dressed with rice vinegar, soy sauce, and toasted sesame oil. Overall, students enjoyed the salad and proclaimed that it was better than junk food (a perfect way to end the year). 
sp.15.wk20.6The second graders concluded their states of matter unit by eating a treat with all three state of matter in one cup – a root beer float! IMG_2008The third graders celebrated their last garden class by holding the chickens and creating nature art. Students delicately held the chickens and fed them sorrel and grasses. A few third graders found discarded rhubarb leaves and fashioned garden hats.sp15.wk20.2The fifth graders rolled out their pizza dough, topped it with cheese, and minced garlic, and herbs. Their chef skills have grown over the past few months and they can be trusted with sharp chef knives. sp15.wk20.5The kindergarteners  and Ms. Riley’s class constructed fairy houses and made green garden smoothies! Students harvested kale, chard, and sorrel. The leaves transformed the pink smoothie (orange juice, bananas, and strawberries) into a greenish drink. sp15.wk.20.1Ms. Romo’s class made a simple veggie stir-fry that required much chopping and harvesting. sp15.20.4The last week of school and the last week of garden for kindergartners is next week! Summer is coming and so is a new person to take over the garden. Keep your ears open for updates about the new Education Outside Corps member.


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“You can’t want the dough. You knead it.”

The fifth graders made herbed pizza dough in preparation for making pizza next week. They harvested rosemary, oregano, and chives and  measured, minced, and kneaded the dough (while simultaneously making puns).  sp15.wk19.4The kindergartners discussed what organisms need from their habitats and created creature habitats in the garden. They collected materials to create shelter and provide food for our garden animals. sp15.wk19.2The first graders created imaginative nature art in the garden. Students invented animals and created mythical creatures – dragons, a pegasus, and a che-wolf (half cheetah and half wolf). When sharing their creations, students had to include where they animals lived, how they survived, and what they ate. sp15.wk19.6The second graders experimented with baking soda and vinegar to observe the three state of matter. In addition, they examined the results of the multi-week decomposition experiment. Students discovered a variety of mold, rotten fruits, and a rock that did not decompose. sp15.wk19.5The third graders completed garden work, organized their garden cookbooks, and ate the pasta they made in previous weeks! sp15.wk19.1The fourth graders made dough that will be used to make squishy circuits. Students measured ingredients and created insulating and conductive dough. Using food coloring, the scientist chefs labeled the two types of dough – blue for insulating and red for conductive. In their classroom, students will create the circuits and observe the flow of electricity. sp15.wk19.3Ms. Romo’s class made strawberry-rhubarb compote and ate it with yogurt. sp15.wk19.7Next week is my LAST WEEK teaching in the Miraloma Garden. Stay tuned for garden celebrations, reflections, and garden transformations.

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“Oh, so you’re a hunter.”

This week the first graders furthered their understanding of teeth by examining skulls. Students examined the teeth of five different animals, recorded the teeth they observed, and made predictions about what food the animals would eat. The skulls came from the Daly Ralston Resource Center not, to the disappointment of one first grader, my hunting skills. sp15.wk18.4The kindergartners drew snails in the garden. Students scientifically illustrated their creature and drew exactly what they saw – capturing shell patterns and slimy tentacles. One snail took a ride on the back of Mr. Snail, our new class mascot. sp15.wk18.1The second graders hunted for solids, liquids, and gases in the garden. Using their scientific skills, students organized their notes in the way that was most logical to them. Having mastered the identification of the three states of matter, students were presented with a mysterious substance. After much deliberation, students determined they goop was both a solid and a liquid! It was oobleck, a non-newtonian fluid. sp15.wk18.3The third graders finished their cooking unit by rolling out and cooking fresh pasta in the garden! Using brute force, our chefs used rolling pins and their hands to stretch pasta dough and then used their knife skills to slice the dough into fettuccine. sp15.wk18.6The fifth graders continued their cooking unit by making fried rice. They utilized their dicing and mincing skills to prepare ingredients. Students also had the privilege of eating (very tiny) eggs from the chickens. sp15.wk18.2Ms. Romo and Ms. Riley’s classes cooked in the garden! Ms. Romo’s class chopped vegetables and made pasta with red sauce, while Ms. Riley’s class made vegetable stir-fry and harvested strawberries. sp15.wk18.5

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“I’m using only my molars.”

The first graders explored their teeth this week. Students learned the functions of incisors, canines, bicuspids, and molars and tested their teeth by chomping on some snacks. Students recorded the teeth that they used and shared their discoveries with their neighbor. Upon finishing their snacks, students constructed fairy houses. sp15.wk17.6The second graders began discussing solids, liquids, and gases. After playing a game about the three states of matter, students observed raisins in a cup of club soda. The gas bubbles in the club soda adhere to the (solid) raisin and cause the raisin to float and then sink when the bubbles pop. Students recorded their observations and explained why this phenomenon occurred. sp.15.wk17.7The third graders harnessed their Italian cooking skills and made pasta dough. Students measured, whisked, and kneaded their dough. Next week, students will roll out the dough and slice it into fettuccine. sp15.wk17.1The fourth graders learned about rocks and mining. One class, under their guidance of their classroom teacher, sang the rock cycle song and then observed and scientifically illustrated rocks. The other fourth grade class (using cookies baked by Ms. Threlfall) were given the task of mining the chocolate chips and garbanzo beans (they were cookies with a twist) without destroying the integrity of the cookie. Students concluded that mining, both in baked goods and our environment, can be destructive. sp15.wk17.4sp15.wk17.2The fifth graders (and Ms. Riley’s class) made garden spring rolls. The dipping sauce was a hit.  sp15.wk17.3The kindergartners began their observation of snails! Students learned the parts of a snail and examined the movement, shape, and ever interesting tentacles. At the end of each class, the students celebrated their snail knowledge by learning the snail handshake (pictured bottom right). sp15.wk17.5

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“This is the best yet.”

The third graders put their chef skills to use and made fried rice! Students chopped, diced, and minced ingredients. They discussed why certain ingredients are added to the pan earlier than others, properly organized the ingredients in their cooking order, and used the stove to cook. Many students regarded this as the best recipe to date.sp15.wk16.2The fifth graders continued their cooking unit by making black bean salsa. Students reviewed the sizes of diced and minced ingredients. They successfully used sharp knives and created delicious salsa. Students celebrated earth day by coloring the earth and listing the reasons they appreciate our planet. Stop by our board in the hallway and take in how much Miraloma students love the earth. sp15.wk16.7The first graders continued their study of plants by dissecting a seed. Our botanists found the plant embryo, the food storage, and the seed coat. Upon finishing their dissection, students created fairy houses. sp15.wk16.9The kindergartners celebrated earth day by creating garden bling and sharing why they love the earth. Students used flowers, leaves, sticks, and masking tape to create natural fashion statements. sp15.wk16.5The second graders observed the growth of their radish seeds and celebrated earth day by planting succulents, making garden bling, or roasting carrots and broccoli! In addition, Ms. Riley’s class assisted in watering the garden and Ms. Romo’s class made another delicious garden treat – oatmeal with raisins and walnuts. sp15.wk.16.8Thanks to all the of participants in Bike and Roll to School Day last week! We moved en masse and transported ourselves to school.sp15.wk16.3The fifth grade Girl Scouts spent their Thursday afternoon in the garden and made succulent gardens. Students took plant cuttings and used googly eyes to add character to their creations. sp.15.wk16.1

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“The corn adds a bit of sweetness to the salsa.”

The kindergartner entomologists searched in the garden for creatures. Students found a range of animals – from insects to non-insects. They searched under logs, in plants, and in the soil for an living thing. After collecting, students categorized their discoveries as insects or non-insects.sp15.wk15.7The first graders either began or examined their plant part planting experiment. Students also planted (and spread aged chicken manure while protesting loudly) and built fairy houses. Students strengthened their motor skills by carrying rocks, sticks, and bricks. They created fairy houses, hotels, canopy beds, and a fairy landing pad (because, as we all know, fairies fly and need a place to land, just like helicopters).

sp15.wk15.4The second graders examined their decomposition experiment after one week. There were cries of disgust upon examining the moldy banana and apple. From there, students discussed the necessity of seeds and planted a variety of seeds in the garden.

sp15.15.6The third graders practiced their knife skills by dicing and mincing ingredients for black bean salsa. To perfect their knife skills, the chefs practice cutting fava bean leaves. Once they mastered the size of their dices (about the size of a bean) and minces (about the size of a grain of rice), students minced cilantro and green onions and diced tomatoes.


The fifth graders followed in the footsteps of the third graders and made stovetop granola.sp15.wk15.3Ms. Romo’s class made delicious black bean soup and Ms. Riley’s class also made granola!


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“My insect has an insect on it!”

This weeks the kindergartners flew into the study of insects by making edible bugs. Students used a variety of ingredients to create accurate insects that contained a head, thorax, abdomen, six legs, and two antennae. Wings were optional. After sharing their insect with their classmates (and after it was drizzled with honey), students voraciously consumed their bugs.sp14.wk14.4The first graders either planted potatoes, set up a plant part science experiment, or observed worms on the rainy Tuesday. For the experiment our scientists took three parts of a carrot –  root, a stem and a root, or stem and leaves – and made predictions about plant growth and planted them in the soil. sp15.wk14.1 The second graders began a decomposition experiment. Students observed five different objects and predicted how they will change over time. To celebrate the rain (and the poor drainage of the garden pavement), students created boats that sailed across the massive puddles.sp15.wk14.2The third graders continued their cooking unit by honing their knife skills. Students practiced using the claw (to protect their fingers) and the bridge (to hold food steady while it is being chopped). The chefs used sharp knives (as well as butter knives and a giant lettuce knife) to prepare a fruit saladsp15.wk.14.3Ms. Linder’s fourth graders completed an architectural engineering challenge. Using trays of jello, 60 toothpicks, and 60 marshmallows, her students created earthquake proof structures. Students designed their blueprints in class and then created their slightly sticky three dimensional structures. This STEAM* projects was implemented by Ms. Linder – I provide the space and she charged ahead. sp15.wk14.5The fifth graders and Ms. Riley’s class both cooked! The fifth graders made honey yogurt dip and Ms. Riley’s class made miso soup. sp15.wk14.6*STEAM: science, technology, engineering, art, and math.


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“My stem has all these little lines inside…”

The fifth graders furthered their understanding of vascular plants with a stem exploration. Students closely examined celery that had sat in food coloring. The students peeled back the layers of plant cells to discover the colored plant xylem. After their stem dissection, students forayed into the garden to collect flowers to create necklaces, bracelets, and crowns from flowers (otherwise known as flower bling).sp15.wk13.4The kindergartners took their understanding of natural resources to the garden! Students brainstormed natural resources that can be found in the garden and then created structures using those materials. These architects constructed restaurants, airships, fairy houses, and bug traps. sp15.wk13.3The first graders revisited their celery experiment to find the same results as the fifth graders! In addition, they observed the growth of the garlic bulb and planted tubers – a modified stem. sp15.wk13.1The second graders either chopped and harvested their way to a delicious salad or helped beautify the garden with a garden work party. During the free explore station at the work party, some students created a drum set and played rhythmic garden jams. sp15.wk13.6The third graders honed their measuring skills and made stovetop granola in the garden. The chefs carefully measuring, stirred, and did not burn (!!) their granola. The students also wrote recipe reviews for the previous week’s honey-yogurt dip.sp15.wk13.2Ms. Romo’s class harvested leeks, kale, and rosemary from the garden and made garden pasta. Students wolfed down the pasta. Ms. Riley’s class made a delicious garden salad.sp15.wk13.5NATURE ALERT: I highly recommend heading to the coast to search for whales! The gray whales are migrating north and are close to the shore. Last Wednesday, I spotted at least TEN whales at the aptly named Gray Whale Cove. Check them out!


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“The slug is escaping!!!”

The second graders searched for decomposers in the garden. Students lifted rocks, split open dead logs, and dug into the soil on the hunt for organisms breaking things down. Once collected, the students observed the behavior of their creatures and shared with their classmates.sp15.wk12.3sp15.wk12.2The first graders continued their analysis of plant parts. Students closely examined stems in the garden during a stem scavenger hunt. They also set up a celery experiment to see what happens to stems that sit in colored water.sp15.wk12.1The kindergartners experienced the joy of ladybugs. Our garden scientists observed ladybug behavior, fed them aphids, and then set them free in the garden.sp15.wk12.7The third graders began their cooking unit by making honey yogurt dip. Our chefs followed a recipe, measured the ingredients, served their classmates, and all feasted in the garden. They even took the time to wash their own dishes. sp15.wk12.4The fourth graders made sushi to celebrate their study of the kelp forest. Students used garden flora to decorate their sushi rolls.sp15.wk12.6The fifth graders acted out the basics of photosynthesis, scientifically illustrated plants, and set up an experiment.sp15.wk12.5Ms. Romo’s class made fried rice! The students harvests, collected an egg from the chickens (!!!), and ate their creation. sp15.wk12.8

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