Thursday, 23 July 2020
One thing that went well was to dry and press flowers and then to use them to make a card to take home. We picked the flowers and put them between a folded piece of kitchen roll. Then we left them under a heavy book for a week in the classroom.
When we got them out they had dried really well. The flatter, thinner flowers worked best. We then used PVA to glue them to a card and children wrote messages to someone at home.
Tuesday, 14 April 2020
It is by far the most popular plant I've helped people to grow. All children love it. OK I'm exaggerating, but only slightly. If you've never tasted sorrel it has a sharp, citrus tang to the leaves and children love eating it straight off the plant.
It's also really tough, grows back every year and you can easily take cuttings from it by slicing off a part of the root using a sharp spade. This is best done in spring. Simply replant the part you cut off and in a few weeks you'll have new leaves growing.
Tuesday, 29 October 2019
The garden is often a mess after the summer and needs a good clear out. This is generally a popular job. The greenhouse at St John's gets completely overgrown with plants that have finished growing for the year, including a very prolific grape vine. I've no idea what the hat was all about.
Friday, 20 September 2019
Thursday, 13 June 2019
I've been helping children learn how to cook simple, healthy foods in after school cooking clubs. One thing that crops up is helping children develop skills in using kitchen implements safely and effectively.
One thing I've learnt is that using proper equipment is much safer than equipment that is "for children". A good, sharp kitchen knife is better than a blunt "safer" one as children can cut without straining and pressing hard which is much more likely to lead to slips and cuts. I've found that children seem happier using a knife with a serrated edge as this gives a better grip when cutting.
Having effective ways of explaining something is at the heart of helping people to learn new things. I found "the claw" and "the bridge" good ways to explain how to cut safely. The picture is a great example of "the claw" with the fingers holding the tomato well away from the blade.
"The bridge" involves holding something between thumb and forefinger to make a bridge and the knife cutting down between them.
Wednesday, 13 March 2019
Thursday, 15 November 2018
We used a lot of large sticks that had fallen from trees or were left over from a woodworking project to construct two leaf bins. We simply pushed larger sticks into the ground and wove willow branches between them.
Children love collecting leaves and it is a nice lesson in reusing what is naturally around us.
If you have large trees, don't install planters or a growing area near them. The tree roots take over, the beds get shaded and covered in leaves and sticks during the autumn and winter.