Guess I'm going to start a new project....

nikkineel(GA 8/7b)December 12, 2008

I am a 5th grade teacher. Since I don't drink milk, I asked my colleagues to bring in any empty milk jugs or other containers that I could use for wintersowing. Well, they started pouring in and yep, you guessed it, my kids started asking questions. Well, I never can resist a teachable moment sooo... I'm going to have my kids do some wintersowing this year. I was gonna wait until I had more experience but they were just so curious. They even offered to bring me in containers to help.

Now, I'm wondering what I should sow with them. First, I teach 3 classes and would not want to leave anyone out. If I have them sow just one container per group, I would still have 18 containers in all. This could get expensive when buying seed. They probably all need to sow the same kind to prevent any arguing. My next dillema is what to plant. Anyone have any advice for something that I can sow with them that will germinate pretty easily, maybe even bloom before the end of May when school lets out. I was thinking of using the seedlings for math and measurement then allowing the kids to "pot up" some to give for Mother's Day gifts. Any thoughts? Nikki

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token28001(zone7b NC)

petunias, cosmos, and marigolds all reseed for me. Some petunias were blooming last year around the end of May. Need some seed? If so, shoot me an email.

    Bookmark   December 13, 2008 at 10:25AM
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nikkineel(GA 8/7b)

Those sound good. When should we plant? I'm in Georgia. I'm considering having each class plant something different so we can make more comparisons. Thanks for the seed offer. I think I may have enough Marigolds - at least for one or two classes. I don't have any petunia seed. Nikki

    Bookmark   December 13, 2008 at 11:13AM
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token28001(zone7b NC)

I'm on the edge of 7b/8a. Our last frost is around the first of May, with occasional frosts the first week, so about 6 weeks prior to that. As long as you have a good place to put the cups. windows?

    Bookmark   December 14, 2008 at 1:12PM
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bakemom_gw(z6 Central Ohio)

I am emailing you.

    Bookmark   December 14, 2008 at 1:59PM
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kqcrna(z6 SW Oh)

Bachelor buttons and poppies


    Bookmark   December 17, 2008 at 9:20AM
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nikkineel(GA 8/7b)

Thanks for the responses. I have an offer for some of the endangered echinacea seeds which will start a good discussion. I know they won't bloom in time for this year's kids so I will also have them sow some annuals mentioned above.
I received some emails today from my principal wanting to know what math standards this project would be meeting. With no child left behind, kids are not allowed to have fun anymore. Everything has to relate to the curriculum. I'm thinking they will calculate the rate of germination; take measurements; collect, organize, and display the data for the growth etc. - not to mention the educational value of endangered plants and animals.
I have to admit, I am a little discouraged. Research says that students learn best when kids are interested in the topic. I just have a hard time convincing others. In a perfect world, I suppose... Nik

    Bookmark   December 17, 2008 at 6:42PM
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nikkineel(GA 8/7b)

Well after much discussion with my principal, the project is a go! I received a huge bag of the echinacea from bakemom (Karen). Thanks again for helping me out! This will be so much fun. The kids are already bringing in containers. They are so excited and so am I. We'll be doing annuals that I hope will be ready to take home for mother's day gifts. The echinacea will stay in the school garden. I can't wait to post progress pics! Nik

    Bookmark   December 31, 2008 at 8:46PM
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Hi Nik,

From the date of your last post, I imagine your seed project is underway. I hope it is going well!

With my daughter's class, we planted miniature sun flowers (they get 2 feet tall but have full-sized heads) and teddy bear sun flowers, marigolds, and green beans. All of these sprouts went home with the kids by Mother's Day. (We are in zone 5 and we planted in March and April. The flowers all had their first true sets of leaves.) The sunnies went home a week later because we did those as birthday "treats" for my daughter's class. These also worked well, and sun flowers are fun, kid-friendly plants. They are easy to grow and fun to eat the rewards. :) In your zone, you would get some great germination and terrific NCLB data gathering opportunities with all of these. (I hope there will be some changes with NCLB with the change in administration, but that is a separate conversation. :))

Nora Belle

    Bookmark   February 2, 2009 at 12:33AM
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floodthelast(5 N. OH)

Hey Nikki, if you need any marigold seeds let me know. I have plenty to share.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2009 at 8:35AM
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What an excellent idea! I am so happy to hear you got the go ahead to do this. The "no kid left behind" brings up allot of discussions as to whether or not a subject is appropriate to teach. Can drive a person crazy! I could really get on a soap box here about that, but I won't, LoL. Kids need hands on and fun to learn,IMHO. But who am I.
Again, I am SO happy you are doing this!!!

Woo-Hoo for Nikki


    Bookmark   February 4, 2009 at 2:05AM
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Nikki: I'm dusting off my old professor's hat here, but some thoughts: history: maybe have kids research a little background about certain things you're planting (e.g. marigolds and Native Americans and Mexicans); science: the effect of light on growth, photosynthesis, etc.; English: the Latin or botanical names for some easy plants (e.g. Mary Gold); geography: where do these plants grow best? what climates/temps.states? science: what else do these plants do? (e.g. sunflowers feed the birds, BB's the butterflies, the role of bees and other garden visitors); art: have them glue seeds to construction paper, label them and chart their growth every few weeks by coloring and drawing what they look like at various stages. Have them find pics of the plants in flower and add them so they know the final result. Sort of a garden journal.

Don't even get me started on writing/composition! I could go on forever with ideas....

Anyway, just brainstorming. With more thought, I bet we all could come up with enough ideas to show your principal that this project can impact every discipline.


    Bookmark   February 5, 2009 at 5:16PM
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Sheesh! When did having kids participate in an experiment become so complicated? I remember having a project in grade school where the only criteria was to "grow something". Other kids had their moms buy seeds and potting soil, pots and the whole paraphernalia to grow something. My mom gave me a carrot top (from supper stuff), and told me to put it on a saucer, keep it watered, and see what happened.
Well, that scrawny little carrot top grew amazingly, and put on a better show of "green" than all the other projects where serious coin was spent.
Kinda reminds me of wintersowing.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2009 at 10:54PM
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I hear you. I was a child of the 50's and 60's, and our assignments were no where like this. As a retired college prof, I can tell you that you need to be able to demonstrate objectives, outcomes, evaluation measures, etc. Takes the fun out of stuff, but this is the new millenium.

    Bookmark   February 7, 2009 at 8:27PM
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nikkineel(GA 8/7b)

Hi all! I haven't been over to this side in a while and didn't realize this post had become active again.
YES, the project is underway. We are wrapping up the presowing activities and will get the seeds into the containers next week.
Thanks so much for your encouragement and ideas for subject integration. So far we have taken all of the containers and measured cicumference of the 2-liters. One of my standards is for students to realize the relationship between circumference and diameter (pi). They figured it out for themselves by measuring a variety of containers and seeing how many times the diameter fit into the circumference. We compared class data and they all realized that no matter the size of the container, the relationship was the same. Now, don't you think the kids are going to remember this much better than pen and pencil? Hands-on and driven by natural student interest at the same time - take that NCLB!
Although I only teach the math, the science teacher is teaching about endangered plants and animals and they are planting the endangered coneflower. The language teacher will also be integrating the unit.
For math, the students will measure and record data on a line graph (another standard). The kids are very excited about it. We are going to plant some annuals for quicker bloom, too.
I've already started taking pictures and will have some to share soon.
Again, Thanks for the support! Nikki

    Bookmark   February 8, 2009 at 7:54PM
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shoregrowin(Z 7 DE on the bay)

It will be so exciting for your crew to spy their first sprouts Nikki. When I 'saw green' in my containers, I think y'all might have heard my shouts of joy down there in Georgia! Have fun!


P.S. I have some pics that your class might enjoy. Here are preying mantis babies coming into the world.

Here is a link that might be useful: preying mantis pics

    Bookmark   February 8, 2009 at 10:30PM
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nikkineel(GA 8/7b)

Thanks for the link Shore. I'll show it to my kids. I just wanted to give an update well an almost update. I am finally going to be able to sow with my kids tomorrow. We have done all the activities with the containers and decided to wait to sow until tomorrow. It is 3/13, the day we are celebrating pi (3.14). Since 3/14 is on Saturday, we are celebrating a day early. My kids have been waiting patiently for a month. We've done the research and prep - now comes the real fun. We are planting!!! I am so excited. I'll send the link to the school website where you can view pics soon. Thanks again for the encouragement. I'm sure it will be worth the wait and convincing in the end. Nikki

    Bookmark   March 12, 2009 at 10:27PM
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nikkineel(GA 8/7b)

Update: We sowed our seeds on pi day (March 13, Friday). My kids had a blast! We don't have sprouts yet. The containers are in a shady spot for now. I can't post pics directly (you know, kids, parents, and lawsuits) but there are some pics posted on the school website. We also have a pic on the systemwide website (if you want to check it out, hurry cause they change the pic regularly). The systemwide website is We also have pics on the school website. From the system website, go to schools, Crescent, and then go to 5th grade. The pics are toward the bottom. I know that's a lot of clicking but I did promise pics:) Thanks again bakemom for the seed donation. Nik

    Bookmark   March 28, 2009 at 7:43PM
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