Like Mycelium in Mushrooms, Progressive Ed Spreads Through Second Grade at Orchard | Chapter 1: Discovery

Like Mycelium in Mushrooms, Progressive Ed Spreads Through Second Grade at Orchard

Chapter 1: Discovery

Journey through the pictures below to see the amazing work our second graders are doing in terms of environmental stewardship. This work IS Progressive education. Teachers know the benchmarks that need to be reached, and they are using the curiosity of their students in order to get there. Each picture below showcases the full integration of this powerful student work. 

Click here to read Chapter 2, which showcases how Orchard students were picked to join a national food waste program with the World Wildlife Fund!

Progressive education tenet: Teachers lead by example, and model a willingness to grow with a deep knowledge of best practices reflecting current research and a passion for learning. 

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    • Social and Emotional Learning:  For many students at Orchard, the woods are like an old friend: one they’ve come to know over countless hours spent trekking along its paths, jumping over fallen logs, and constructing fantastical forts using its “loose parts.”  Building a classroom community using the Orchard woods as a jumping off point just seems, well, natural.
      Forest as Community

      Social and Emotional Learning: For many students at Orchard, the woods are like an old friend: one they’ve come to know over countless hours spent trekking along its paths, jumping over fallen logs, and constructing fantastical forts using its “loose parts.” Building a classroom community using the Orchard woods as a jumping off point just seems, well, natural.

    • Science; Social and Emotional Learning:  At Orchard, we believe in making learning as accessible as possible, which means on any given day, students are exploring many different pathways when learning new concepts and skills.  As the second graders began to learn about the layers of the forest, they acted out the layers of the forest, observed and recorded the layers in field notebooks, and touched as many components of those layers as possible.  And in the end, they all came to see a different perspective of not only the Orchard woods, but of themselves in relationship to those woods.
      Layers of the Forest

      Science; Social and Emotional Learning: At Orchard, we believe in making learning as accessible as possible, which means on any given day, students are exploring many different pathways when learning new concepts and skills. As the second graders began to learn about the layers of the forest, they acted out the layers of the forest, observed and recorded the layers in field notebooks, and touched as many components of those layers as possible. And in the end, they all came to see a different perspective of not only the Orchard woods, but of themselves in relationship to those woods.

    • Science; Literacy; Technology:  Students engage in serious work, even early on in the school year.  On this field trip to Holliday Park, Orchard second graders record their observations of the forest and make quick sketches of what they notice, hear, and smell.
      Layers of the Forest

      Science; Literacy; Technology: Students engage in serious work, even early on in the school year. On this field trip to Holliday Park, Orchard second graders record their observations of the forest and make quick sketches of what they notice, hear, and smell.

    • Science; Outdoor Education:  Since most second graders stand at about the height of the shrub layer in the forest, getting to scale the heights of the trees of the Orchard woods---all the way up to the canopy layer---is not just an opportunity to use our fantastic ropes course: it’s an education in how taking different perspectives can change everything.
      Layers of the Forest

      Science; Outdoor Education: Since most second graders stand at about the height of the shrub layer in the forest, getting to scale the heights of the trees of the Orchard woods---all the way up to the canopy layer---is not just an opportunity to use our fantastic ropes course: it’s an education in how taking different perspectives can change everything.

    • Art-Integration; Science:  Our work is fully integrated into the academic disciplines, which means our students engage in real and meaningful work.  Our second graders worked as scientists when beginning their study of mushrooms: learning how to locate and gather specimens to study, how to classify those specimens, and how to record their findings.
      Mushrooms

      Art-Integration; Science: Our work is fully integrated into the academic disciplines, which means our students engage in real and meaningful work. Our second graders worked as scientists when beginning their study of mushrooms: learning how to locate and gather specimens to study, how to classify those specimens, and how to record their findings.

    • Art; Observational Drawings:  Our students receive high-quality art instruction early on in their time at Orchard, which means they can draw on this prior knowledge when observing natural materials and completing observational drawings.  In these photos, second graders use pen and ink and colored pencil to complete two detailed observational drawings of mushrooms: the first a “far away perspective” and the other an “up close” perspective.
      Mushrooms

      Art; Observational Drawings: Our students receive high-quality art instruction early on in their time at Orchard, which means they can draw on this prior knowledge when observing natural materials and completing observational drawings. In these photos, second graders use pen and ink and colored pencil to complete two detailed observational drawings of mushrooms: the first a “far away perspective” and the other an “up close” perspective.

    • Community:  Orchard believes in the power and possibility of children, so it’s no surprise when a group of Multiage Preschool students come to the second grade to teach them all they’ve learned about mushrooms.
      Mushrooms

      Community: Orchard believes in the power and possibility of children, so it’s no surprise when a group of Multiage Preschool students come to the second grade to teach them all they’ve learned about mushrooms.

    • Math; Science:  How do you understand the power of mushrooms? Our students worked alongside our second grade science and math specialist to understand the role of decomposition by watching mold develop on different food items located around the Orchard elementary school.
      Impact of Mushrooms | Mold Labs

      Math; Science: How do you understand the power of mushrooms? Our students worked alongside our second grade science and math specialist to understand the role of decomposition by watching mold develop on different food items located around the Orchard elementary school.

    • Nature as Teacher:  Students are going above and beyond to get the best possible soil samples. This is hands-on learning!
      Impact of Mushrooms | Soil Samples

      Nature as Teacher: Students are going above and beyond to get the best possible soil samples. This is hands-on learning!

    • Science; Math:  We believe our students are capable of incredible things, which is why we believe in letting even our youngest students use real-world tools.  In the top left picture, our second graders use the Munsell Color Chart utilized by actual soil scientists out in the field. The picture on the right showcases the different types of soil around Indy. These were collected by our second graders!
      Impact of Mushrooms | Soil Samples

      Science; Math: We believe our students are capable of incredible things, which is why we believe in letting even our youngest students use real-world tools. In the top left picture, our second graders use the Munsell Color Chart utilized by actual soil scientists out in the field. The picture on the right showcases the different types of soil around Indy. These were collected by our second graders!

    • Literacy; Math; Reflection:  As you can see, this is serious work! As students collect soil, they chart (in detail) their collections to see the similarities and differences.
      Impact of Mushrooms | Soil Samples

      Literacy; Math; Reflection: As you can see, this is serious work! As students collect soil, they chart (in detail) their collections to see the similarities and differences.

    • Science; Hands-on Learning:  Our students aren’t afraid of getting our hands dirty.  Second graders dig deep into the worm compost bin to understand more about the role of worms as decomposers.
      Worm Compost

      Science; Hands-on Learning: Our students aren’t afraid of getting our hands dirty. Second graders dig deep into the worm compost bin to understand more about the role of worms as decomposers.

    • Science: How do you get to study something that naturally grows in a very busy forest? Our second graders decided to take advantage of Orchard’s many compost bins and inoculate a compost pile with some of the mushroom spores they grew in our classrooms.  What better way to limit scientific variables and to see the true power of mushrooms?
      Worm Compost | Inoculating a Compost Pile

      Science: How do you get to study something that naturally grows in a very busy forest? Our second graders decided to take advantage of Orchard’s many compost bins and inoculate a compost pile with some of the mushroom spores they grew in our classrooms. What better way to limit scientific variables and to see the true power of mushrooms?

    • After building a strong community, which led to lots of amazing discoveries in the Orchard woods, second graders found themselves asking very important questions. Some of the questions had a bigger impact than they realized at the time. Stayed tuned as the next chapter explores how Orchard students were picked to join a national food waste program.
      Chapter 2: "What happens if a worm eats too much?"

      After building a strong community, which led to lots of amazing discoveries in the Orchard woods, second graders found themselves asking very important questions. Some of the questions had a bigger impact than they realized at the time. Stayed tuned as the next chapter explores how Orchard students were picked to join a national food waste program.

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