Circle of Life ~ Healing Garden
Overview Healing garden metaphorically represents the journey of self-discovery that students begin in their Alternative Program. Students bring back life and beauty to an abused piece of land. In a sense, the project comes full circle by providing students with the opportunity to give back to their community as well as add Science and Math strands to this multi-disciplinary approach. The several phases begin with students studying the land through research on soil biodiversity and making connections between water quality and life. Next, they learn about landscape design, make base maps, and study plant physiology. Researching different plants, they select ideal species. Finally, they prepare the soil, plant perennials and construct a meditation bench. To celebrate their achievements, students hold a Healing Garden opening where they show off their presentation skills and invite the school community and neighbors to smell the roses.
Assessment Evaluation takes place in a variety of ways. Students follow a rubric for journal assessment. Student journals are reviewed biweekly with teacher comments on student participation and team effort. This provides opportunity for ongoing student-teacher dialogue and feedback. Surveys periodically assess student and teacher performance. Additional evaluation occurs during lab checklists and tests.
Software or Materials Used For reports, charts, slide shows Microsoft Office; for documentation: digital camera; for Internet research: Netscape. For garden: planting tools, garden supplies, perennials, herbs, etc. For experiments, see directions & materials cited in Water Wisdom MWRA high school curriculum. For literature see Book List for Healing Garden.
Web Sites Healing Garden Web Sites
Keywords Community Gardens, Environmental Science, Healing Gardens, Inquiry Based Learning, Landscape Design, Perennial Gardens, School to Career
Final Words There 's a wealth of science investigation in community gardening. The first year is difficult but it leads to a legacy in which students take pride. By improving the environment, educating the school community, and including senior neighbors, Healing Gardens address more than one priority area of service learning.
Teacher Tip Make as many connections as you can with area gardening organizations. Not only are they are source of abundant materials and expertise, but their members are great role models for student gardeners.
E-mail contact Alison Hramiec firstname.lastname@example.org
Teacher Bio Alison Hramiec teaches Biology in the Alternative Program at South Boston High School's Odyssey School. Before coming to Boston, she taught for three years in Chicago where she received more than $15,000 in grants to develop community perennial gardens. Under her direction, high schoolers rehabbed a dilapidated greenhouse, grew plants from seed, designed and landscaped school areas. Now, Alison has begun to recreate this model at her School to Career School. Her goal is to create a larger space for students' scientific research. Alison believes in urban at risk students who push her to be more creative and reflective. She also feels lucky to teach in a school that values multi disciplinarian project-based learning as a means to engage students and restructure curriculum.
Subject Areas Biology, Environmental Science
Grade Levels 9 - 12