It’s that time of the year when springtime hits and teachers everywhere decide to take on the endeavor of planting seeds with their students of all ages. In theory, it sounds educational and fun, but when applied, it can be… maybe not as fun as you initially thought.
Don’t let that deter you! Here are some tips for planting seeds with your students so they can grow flowers and vegetables!
- Make a list of the supplies you need and get as much donated as possible. If you walk into a local greenhouse and tell the owner about your plans to let your students grow seeds in the classroom, there is a great chance you’ll walk out of the store with free or discounted items to get you started. You can also reach out to parents and other community members to find donations of seeds, soil, and containers for planting. Cardboard egg cartons make great plant starters!
- Prep the students ahead of time as much as possible. This could last for a full week if you need it to! Give them bits of information about planting seeds during class time before you even step foot in front of the planting material. Smaller bits of information is easier for them to take in, plus splitting up the days between instruction and actual planting can be helpful for them in retaining information as well. If you wait to give instruction until right before the planting begins, excitement will take over and they may not be as good of listeners.
- On planting day, take the kids outside if possible. Planting is messy! If weather and other constraints allow, take them outside to plant. If this is not a possibility for you, laying down a plastic sheet for protection over your carpet can also be helpful. Plastic tablecloths from the dollar store work great, or plastic painting drop cloths from a hardware store can be a little more heavy-duty.
- Split into small groups if possible.
- Have a cleanup plan, and communicate this to your class. All ages of students are capable of helping clean up in some capacity. If you divide up the responsibilities before planting even begins and everyone knows how they’ll contribute, cleanup can go much faster and smoother.
- Know beforehand where the seeds will stay in your classroom. If you have a classroom of 25-30 students, their plants are going to take up a lot of real estate! Have a game plan before you even plant on where they will go if you’re not sending them home immediately.
- Set a watering schedule if students will be helping out so that it’s never in question whose turn it is for the day. If the responsibility falls on you, set reminders and alarms in your phone to help remind you to water. The last thing you want are plants that cannot thrive!
- Don’t expect perfection. It’ll be time-consuming and dirty and not everything will go as planned. But roll with the punches and it’ll pay off when those little seedlings start poking through the soil!
Teachers that have gone through this endeavor of planting seeds with their students- what other tips would you add to this list?