Monday, April 2, 2012

Planting Seeds

This is not really reading-related, but is just plain fun. In my first five years of teaching, I taught in one of those modified open-space schools. As the new teacher, I had the interior room with no windows. So now that I have windows, I make good use of them! Springtime isn't springtime unless I have seedlings in the windowsill and tadpoles in the aquarium.

Planting seeds is really quite easy, even if you don't have a green thumb. I like to buy one of the seed starter kits. The kids love to watch as the pellets expand with warm water.

I label it like a Battleship grid so that everyone can easily find their plants. This also helps them to practice using a grid system.

I can't ever get just one kind of seed. I've had good luck with zinnias, nasturtiums, and basil. These all have very different looking seeds, which leads to discussions--will the biggest seed sprout first? Why do they look so different? I always plant some extra seeds in case there are some that don't grow, and for those students who want to take home an extra plant or two for other special people in their lives.

We keep track of the growth of the seeds on a chart. The basil sprouted first, but the nasturtiums are the most impressive. The zinnias don't look like much at first, but they are my personal favorites for their cheerful summer blooming.

To keep the plants from getting too leggy, I rotate the container every few days. Kids go over and check on their plants every day, talking about how they have changed and which ones are doing particularly well. Once the initial planting is done, I don't have to do much besides the rotating--the student with the naturalist job for the week waters each day, and the kids are happy to check on their seeds each day.

In about three weeks, they'll be ready to transplant into cups that will be decorated and taken home. That will add a bit of clutter to our windowsill--already crowded with my geraniums and two student terrariums--but that's what windowsills are for, right?

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