The first week of school always brings excitement, a touch of nervousness and possibly tired eyes, but usually not a story of too many zucchinis, especially from 6th graders. Students typically are meeting new teachers, finding their way around unfamiliar buildings and introducing themselves to new friends. From behind the scenes a lot of work and dedication from administration, teachers and staff is going into building new classroom communities that will foster a caring and safe learning environment for all Dexter students.
Community building can take many forms- playing games, sharing as a group, and learning norms of participation. Yesterday, students at Creekside Intermediate School participated in school garden activities that included many aspects of community building. Students from Mrs. Korff’s 6th grade class harvested cherry tomatoes and Roma tomatoes from the Creekside Kitchen Garden. They worked as a team to harvest, weigh and clean over 25 lbs. of tomatoes. During this time, students shared summer vacation memories, home garden experiences and best of all worked together as a kind, courteous and engaged community of learners.
One student told a story of how they grew so many cucumbers this summer, they were in her words, “cucumbered out”.
Another student told a story of cherry tomatoes growing like vines in their garden. Yes- great observation! Some tomatoes are actually vines that will grow indefinitely.
Another student brought up the very prolific zucchini plant- the friend and foe of most gardeners. Friend because they produce so many large and wonderful specimens and foe well, because they produce so many large and wonderful specimens. The student proceeded to tell a tale of neighbors leaving zucchinis anonymously at their house. Other students chimed in and also talked of finding random zucchinis on their doorstep. From there, the tale went on like a game of telephone where students ended with a completely ridiculous and hilarious, tall tale of too many zucchinis.
Time spent in the garden with these students always reassures me that they are well on their way to not only being knowledgeable about healthy eating habits and gardening, but they also are true leaders and community builders. All characteristics of a safe and caring learning environment that they build and lead everyday.
And if you are wondering what to do with all of your zucchini, here is a great resource for zucchini recipes. Or you could always drop off a freshly baked loaf of zucchini bread at a neighbors home with a friendly “Hello”.