Keeping a Garden Journal
Atkinson third graders keep garden journals for one year, recording observations from both the Wildlife Habitat Garden and the Multicultural Garden.
In the Wildlife Habitat, each student chooses one plant to watch all year. Observations take place throughout the school year, once every two weeks for about 20 minutes. Students are taught to take temperature, to measure and record growth.
Students are provided with digital cameras to record photos of their plants and facilitate discussion of what they notice and record. They share and compare notes, ask questions.
By sharing journal entries, the private act of journaling in the garden becomes social. Journals can be catalysts to turn personal discoveries in the garden into exciting community experiences.
There are no set rules on how to keep a garden journal. The best advice is to record in it often and make it useful. Make it your own. A garden journal is a place to:
- Make sketches, take notes, ask questions and design experiments.
- Make predictions, measure and record changes; compare the growth patterns of different plants.
- Write poetry, short stories.
- Gather recipes.
- Insert pictures of inspiring gardens.
- Keep notes on garden cycles: dates of blooms, last year’s frost.
- Keep records on the exact names of plants or develop a monthly maintenance calendar.
- Plan and dream.
Join a long tradition of artists, scientists and experts recording observations in journals.
A great resource: The Nature Connection: An Outdoor Workbook for Kids, Families, and Classrooms, Clare Walker Leslie: Storey Publishing, ©2010.