Elementary Classroom Programs

nwgatreasures(7)March 12, 2009

This morning I (and another member of our study group) helped 65 3-6 year olds plant an african violet from some mouse ears we had.

The teachers used it as a learning module, we set them up with the baby food jars, solo cups, wicks, gravel, soil, plants, granules, spray and water for the plants. We walked them through the process but did not explain every reason why, just how. We finished treating them, bagged them and left.

We know we will be cuttin' it close for Mother's Day but our goal is to have them with at least the beginnings of some blooms. We'll go back in 3 weeks to check on their status and once established, we'll put some Dyna Grow Bloom to them. Most of the plants had been in bags for 4 or 5 months and have 6-8 leaves on them already.

When the kids take them home, we'll send a handout along with the plants for the moms promoting our study group with some simple directions for violet growth.

I'm wondering who else has done something like this and what words of experience and wisdom might you offer. I already realized several things that we will do differently next time and how to be more organized. I identified what were time eaters (writing the kids name on the solo cup) and what made things run smoother (having several containers of soil, gravel, etc from which to use from and having the plants already pulled apart and identified name wise)

Anyone have some tips to offer? One of the goals of our society was to provide educational and experience opportunities to community members of all ages so others can realize the pleasure from these plants. I started wtih this class this morning because the teacher is a great friend of mine and loves my flowers :) Before we had left, there were 4 request from other people/groups who were there observing something else for the day.

One more question, if it cost about 30 cents per child for supplies, would you ask for reimbursement when you take this kind of program to the classroom or community group? Would you provide the supplies that YOU want and just charge a fee.......or give the group a list of what they need to provide to you and chance it?


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Hi Dora , I think what you and your friends did is just great if I lived near you I would have loved to help. About the guestion I think I would give a list of the supplies they would need and tell them that I would be suppling the baby violets -Terri

    Bookmark   March 13, 2009 at 10:07PM
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Hi Dora,
I agree with Terri, give them a list of supplies to get and be very specific about what you want. You may have to tell them where they can get them though. It's enough that you are supplying the plantlets and the expertise.
Fred in NJ

    Bookmark   March 14, 2009 at 9:22PM
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Hi, Terri,
When I teach I supply all the stuff and don't charge. If I were to charge money, I would tell the primary teacher how much it costs per student, and let her figure out how to get the money, and I would still supply the stuff. That's because it's a lot of specific stuff, it can be hard to find, she may have to buy in bulk ( and so, be more money than you would charge), she might buy the wrong things, and we already have the right stuff. In all, I think it would make your teaching and her life both easier if you bring all that you need with you and let her find the $20 you need.

    Bookmark   March 15, 2009 at 8:17AM
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When brainstorming and moving in the direction of a concrete community plan, we decided that we would charge $1 per person, no matter what age. I designed a "handout" that promotes the program, shows a list of what all the $1/person covers and what kind of set up/prep they can provide to make the event go easier.

It involves a 3 step visit: 1= the day we plant, 2= about 3 or 4 weeks later for a check up and to remove plants from the greenhouse bags and then 2 months later for another check up and to ready the plant for delivery. At the last time, we'll supply a handout with very basic/simple instructions on how to care for the violet and promotion of our study group and a personal invitation to be with us as a visitor at our next meeting.

If it's for a classroom of kids, then the invitation will go to the parents/grandparents.

Since one of our members has over 400 smaller cups of plants that are still in baggies (even after several months), we aren't short on plants at this time. (Now that could change if we did hundreds of people but for now we are ok with plants.) The other day, I pulled 10 plants out of one cup.

We decided to provide all the supplies and charge because we already have to supply the soil mixture and the prepped solo cups/wicks and we thought all or none would be best. Where else could a teacher do an ongoing project for $1/child that would potentially provide years of pleasure?

If the teacher provides a list of the names of the students at least a week in advance, then the cups can be labeled in advance of the event. THAT was what took up the most time. We also know that we will deal with no more than 4 different named semi/minis so that we won't be trying to figure out 10 different plant names.

Once the members of our study group who want to participate in this community program get several times under their belt, the kinks will be worked out and we hope to have found our "groove" and the event will just roll on with ease.

I'm excited about being with kids and adults with this type of event and sharing my love of the plants but more than that - showing them that they too can grow them with success.

Thanks for the feedback,

    Bookmark   March 15, 2009 at 10:05AM
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That sounds perfect, Dora. It is really a delight to get others interested in these plants.

    Bookmark   March 16, 2009 at 5:40AM
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Is there a local violet club that might help with supplies/plants/donations?

When we have newbies here they are in a panic sometimes finding, getting the correct supplies. Like we mention course vermiculite/perlite...well not everyone knows what that is even and finding anything local is likely to be very fine, not course enough. So I would suggest you provide all the materials needed.

If you feel the cost is too much to donate yourself and a teacher or such asks for a program, you can ask if they can help with the cost of supplies, being about 30 cents per child...maybe the teacher can send home a note that they are doing a special project in school and if they could send in a donation...some parents do and some don't. Some teaches get some money for supplies in their class and others spend a lot out of their own pocket, so you need to keep this in mind too when asking for reimbursement.

I think it is a wonderful thing to get the kids and parents intrested in growing violets.

Thats my 2 cents. take care tish

    Bookmark   March 16, 2009 at 12:44PM
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Hi Dora

Your Elementary Classroom Program sounds wonderful. I am wondering if there might be a nursery, greenhouse, or garden center in your area that would be willing to make donations of supplies and materials for this type of project. It might be worth approaching them to see if they would be willing to support something that should be a big hit with so many. They would certainly benefit from having a bunch of new AV growers in their area who will need to purchase supplies in the future.


    Bookmark   March 17, 2009 at 10:24PM
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No such program of donations from local nursery - if you do it for one garden club affiliate, then everyone expects it. They already do our growing supplies for a slight discount.

With everything that we supply along with the visit and teaching experience, $1 per person/student is acceptable. We supply everything, including the loan of growing trays and/or baggies for the green house post potting sessions.

I think the more we do this, the better our tweaks of the program will be.

I appreciate the feedback,

    Bookmark   March 17, 2009 at 11:36PM
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