“It’s eating the aphid!”

This week, the second graders became entomologists and observed the carnivorous behavior of ladybugs. Students collected aphids from the garden, placed them in a vial with a ladybug, and scientifically illustrated what they witnessed. Many ladybugs chomped on unsuspecting aphids. At the end of class, students released their ladybugs and made a wish as their ladybug flew away. sp15.wk11.2Two classes had the excitement cooking this week. To celebrate Oceans Week, Ms. Threlfall’s class made sushi! Students rolled carrots, cucumbers, and green onions with sushi rice and seaweed. Ms. Romo’s class made a healthy garden salad with apples, carrots, celery, cucumbers, and a honey lemon dressing. Much crunching could be heard. sp15.wk11.3The first graders continued their stint as botanists. Students learned the function of leaves, scientifically drew a plant, and revisited their franken-plants. sp15.wk11.1The third graders learned about the magic of fava beans and how they add nitrogen to the soil. Students brainstormed other organisms that change their environments and then completed garden maintenance.sp15.wk11.4The kindergartners created pond habitats in the garden. Students lined their ponds with mud and rocks, added logs for turtles to warm themselves on, and added floating lily pads to the surface.sp15.wk11.5

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“The sun stole my puddle.”

The kindergartners explored the water cycle in the garden this week! To demonstrate the power of evaporation, each scientist received one vial of water and a piece of chalk. After selecting a prime spot on the ground, students poured their water and then traced their puddle with chalk. Our water experts then played a game where they embodied evaporation, condensation, and precipitation. At the end of class, students revisited their puddles and found that they had disappeared! A few were disappointed that the sun had stolen their precious water. sp15.wk10.6 The first graders continued their exploration of plants. Students either scientifically illustrated the growth of their grass and alfalfa or created franken-plants! To create a franken-plant, students wandered the garden and selected the best roots, stems, leaves, flowers, and seeds for their creations. One student found a ladybug and observed it very closely.sp1.wk10.5The second graders continued their student of weathering and erosion! Our soil scientists implemented a weathering experiment – students tested what happened when water was poured on bare soil, soil covered with sticks and rocks, and soil with plants. Students made predictions, did the experiment, and recorded their results. They found that the plant roots keep the soil from moving.sp15.wk10.4The third graders finished their study of adaptations with a creature hunt in the garden. Students searched under rocks, logs, and in the soil for the critters that live in our garden. Students shared their findings and then brainstormed adaptations each organisms had to survive in the garden. sp1.wk10.7Ms. Romo’s and Ms. Riley’s classes made green smoothies this week! Students blended orange juice, bananas, spinach, and kale. Even though they were green, the smoothies were readily consumed. sp15.wk10.1

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“It has a beaver-like tail for smashing its prey.”

The third graders this week continued their study of adaptations. In small groups, students created nature art creatures that were adapted to particular environments. Examples include a sun dragon that is adapted to the desert, a large furry animal with a beaver like tail adapted to the arctic, and a snake like creature covered in grasses adapted to the grasslands. sp15.wk9.4The first graders continued their observations of plants. Students started an experiment and asked the question “what will happen to their alfalfa and grass plants if they give them a trim?” Students recorded their predictions and will observe the results next week! 

sp15.wk9.3The kindergartners had the chance to make kale smoothies in the garden! Students harvested dinosaur and red russian kale, tore it into tiny pieces, and blended it with orange juice, bananas, and apples. The green color did not deter smoothie consumption. sp15.wk9.5

The second graders dove into the world of soil with an investigation. Students collected all the ingredients to make soil and then recorded their findings on a poster.

sp15.wk9.2Ms. Romo’s class had the pleasure and excitement of popping their own popcorn in the garden! Students watched patiently as the corn kernels sizzled and then starting popping one by one.

The fifth graders began studying plants and made a plant part salad. The student chef’s grated, chopped, and snipped the ingredients for the class salad. The salad dressing was a big hit!Sp15.wk9.1


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“This salad is delicious.”

The second graders this week celebrated the growth of food in the garden by making a salad. Students harvested greens (red russian kale, dinosaur kale, fava bean leaves, and cilantro) and flowers (borage and pineapple sage flowers) and artfully ripped them into bite sized pieces. After being dressed with balsamic vinegar, honey, olive oil and salt, most students inhaled seconds. They chomped enthusiastically. S15.wk8.1Last week, a different fourth grader class continued their study of food from mission times by making cornmeal pancakes. This week, students discussed native plants and scientifically illustrated plants in our native plant garden.S15.wk7.2 S15.wk8.3Last week the first graders planted grass and alfalfa seeds and learned what plants need to survive (sun, soil, water, and air). This week, the students observed the growth of their plants and scientifically drew and recorded their observations. S15.wk7.1sp15.wk8.2The fifth graders continued their study of water conservation with a conservation challenge: in groups of 7, wash all of their faces AND a t-shirt using as little as water as possible. Students met this challenge and all groups used less than half a gallon of water. Students then brainstormed ways they can conserve water on a daily basis. This week, the students took a break from science and had a work day that included holding the chickens!. S15.wk8.4S15.wk8.5The kindergartners began their exploration of landforms. Last week, students built mountains in the garden and this week students created rivers where the water flowed! S15.wk7.3Stop by the Miraloma to check out our new infrastructure changes! We now have an (almost complete) weather station and a directional sign post! IMG_0450_2 IMG_0452

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“Get in my belly!”

This week the third graders continued their study of adaptations (after starting the class with a quiet nature nap, pictured below). The students transformed into birds and used different types of beaks to capture varying types of prey. Our scientists also created unique birds and highlighted their adaptations. Thanks to the SEPAL lab at SF State for suppling the Bird Beak Buffet kit. sp15.wk5.3sp15.wk5.2The second graders continued their stint as accomplished geologists. Students explored clay – they observed it, experimented with it, and rubbed it all over their hands. Students witnessed small clay particles fly though the air and shook their balls of clay in a water filled vial. sp15.wk5.6The kindergartners searched for creatures in the garden, reviewed the three states of water, and consumed frozen apple juice popsicles. Students found millipedes, slugs, snails, and lots of insects in our garden. sp15.wk5.5The fifth graders furthered their study of water. They learned the definition of the word permeable and tested the permeability of three surfaces in the garden. Our scientists recorded their observations. sp15.wk5.4The first graders reviewed the characteristics of living and non-living things by quizzing their partners on living and non-living items. Students also found one living item to draw like a scientist (realistic art). Students accurately depicted chickens, their teachers, and a variety of plants!sp15.wk5.1The fourth graders traveled back to the times of the California Missions. Students attempted to grind corn to make cornmeal, made butter, and cornmeal pancakes. Each student flipped a pancake and then voraciously consumed them with honey. sp15.wk5.7

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“I want to be a geologist when I grow up.”

This week the second graders continued their study of rocks and minerals. Students sifted pebbles, gravel, and sand and categorized them based on their size. sp15.wk4.5The fifth graders focused on water conservation this week. Students played “the water flows for…” and learned startling facts about water all over the world. Students then created water conservation bookmarks to remind them of the value of water. Thanks to Emma Hodges, the Corps Member at Cleveland Elementary for the wonderful cardsS15.wk4.2The third graders began to explore adaptations. Students camouflaged (and did not hide!) small egg carton pieces to mimic creatures camouflaging in nature. Our scientists gathered leaves, twigs, and soil to best disguise their cartons. One fourth grade class (pictured in the bottom right square) revisited erosion and constructed a river in the garden. sp15.wk4.6One class of kindergarteners celebrated the hundredth day of school by collected one-hundred leaves, sticks, rocks, and seeds! They diligently organized their findings in long lines on the garden sidewalk. After their industrious collecting, the students indulged in their (solid) frozen popsicles to review the states of water. A different kindergarten class made garden tea, watered the plants, and made popsicles to explore the three states of water. s15.wk4.3


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“Yay! We have garden!”

This week the first and fifth graders had their first weeks in the garden! Along with the second and third graders, the students returned to the crisp air of our outdoor classroom and helped transform our winter garden with a garden work day. Our students weeded, dug, and had time to free explore in the garden. The student gardeners reaped the reward of their hard work and sampled sweet, crunchy carrots, sour lemons, and cilantro. sp15.wk2.1sp15.wk2.2sp15.wk2.4The kindergartners reviewed different types of weather (sunny, rainy, and snowy) and built shelters that would withstand harsh weather for imaginary animals. One kindergarten played with fake snow made by their creative classroom teacher. sp15.wk2.3

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“This is how it’s supposed to be; kids out learning in nature!”

One wise fifth grader expressed his joy and reverence of a sunset, while sitting with his friends in the Marin Headlands.

Last week, the fifth graders ventured across the Golden Gate Bridge to NatureBridge in the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. The adventurers stayed for two nights and experienced the beauty and calm of being away from the city. Students hiked, frolicked on the beach, used microscopes to observe plankton, and laughed. A lot. Thanks to NatureBridge’s fantastic staff, the dedicated 5th grade teachers, and the selfless parents for making this trip possible! S14.wk1.1S15.wk1.2S15.wk1.3

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“I never thought I’d pick the green things out of food.”

One fourth and fifth grade class transformed the garden into a restaurant. Students chopped, juiced, measured, and harvested ingredients from the garden. Each student assembled their own chard tabbouleh wrap. One student exclaimed in shock that he never thought he’d pick the green things (translation: cilantro, mint, sorrel, and chard stems) from his food. Thanks to the fabulous training from Education Outside that made this recipe possible. F14wk18.5The third graders also honed their chopping skills by making radish salsa. The students chopped, juiced, and crunched their salsa with corn chips. While reviewing the recipe, students labeled each ingredient with its corresponding plant part.F14wk18.3One second grade class braved the cold to cook garden pasta. Students harvested kale, bok choy, and rosemary and ripped them into tiny pieces. What they harvested was then sautéed with onion, pasta, salt, and a squeeze of lemon. Students ate seconds and were disappointed that their were no thirds. Ms. Riley’s second grade class held the chickens! F14wk18.6Two second grade classes closely examined worms on the rainy Monday. F14wk18.1The kindergartners (on the non-rainy days) reviewed the parts of a chicken and had the joy of petting and holding chickens. Some students enjoyed the experience and others shirked away from the birds. F14wk18.4The fourth graders hid from the rain and furthered their understanding of erosion. Students observed a glacier (read: oobleck) slowly erode different substances. They also created erosion comics that comedically depicted the erosion of rocks. F14wk18.2The Miraloma garden wishes everyone a fun and relaxing winter break! See you in the new year!


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“Forces of Nature!”

The fourth graders continued their studies of the forces of nature and their effect on the landscape. One class constructed a river, delta, and and an ocean. The lined their river beds with rocks and watched as the water flowed to the ocean! While constructing, the students collected worms to save them from the impending flood. There were impressed that the ball of worms resembled gillyweed, the magical plant from Harry Potter.F14.wk17.3The other class constructed mountains that faced light sprinkle and torrential downpour of water. F14.wk17.1The third graders continued their study of ecosystems and plants with a lesson on biodiversity. The students played a bingo game and earned prizes (two chocolate chips) for 5 in a row and blackout bingo. F14.wk17.4The kindergartners reviewed the 4 things plants need to grow (sun, soil, water, and air) and planted the wondrous fava bean (it has edible leaves, flowers, and fruits). One class even had time for a seed inspired treat – popcorn. F14.wk17.5


SCHOOL IS CANCELLED TOMORROW (Thursday, December 11th) as a precaution because of the impending storm. The gardeners in the Miraloma garden suggest hunkering down with some tea and listening to the deluge. They also highly encourage sleeping in.

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