Van Dusen – The Garden Classroom Series

Hello classroom gardeners! Thank you for joining us as we kick off another year of garden learning together. You’ll receive a reminder (and a session link) each month from Van Dusen, so watch for that to access the series going forward.

Session One: September 8, 2022

Big thanks to everyone who joined us on the first week back at school! If you couldn’t join us live, you can watch the recording here. You’ll need the password provided in your email from Van Dusen. During our September session, several resources and links were mentioned. You will find them listed below:

Blog posts you may find helpful:

Transition to teaching outdoors

Teaching prep outdoors

What to wear teaching outdoors

School garden weed resources

Playful learning with Dandelions

Playful Literacy Outdoors

Water Cycle Inquiry in the Garden

Resources from our first session:

C2C Fall Conference in Revelstoke- Register Here!

Invasive species council of BC

Westcoast seeds donation request link

Environmental Educators Provincial Specialist Association (EEPSA)

Outdoor Learning Store (purchase field guides and kits for looking closely in the garden here)

Grants for School Gardens

Our next session is scheduled for October 6 with Juliet Robertson! Everyone who attends live will be entered in the draw for a $25 gift card from the Outdoor Learning Store.

Session Two: October 6, 2022

Thanks to everyone who joined us live! If you couldn’t join us, you can watch a recording of our session and the recording of my conversation with Juliet Robertson here.  You will need the password provided in your email from Van Dusen to access.

Blog posts you may find helpful:

School garden soil resources

Fall gardening tasks with kids

How to plant and grow garlic with kids

How to plant and grow broad (Fava) beans

Great anchor texts for seasonal change

Nature inspired anchor texts for fall

Pumpkin inspired STEAM activities

Ten great pumpkin life cycle anchor texts (with decomposition inquiry)

How to grow pumpkins with kids

Halloween pumpkin math

BC school garden grants

Tomatosphere project (links to order seeds)

Resources from our second session:

Juliet Robertson’s website

Juliet’s Math Journalling Document (Shared with permission)


Juliet’s Outdoor Math Teaching Framework (Shared with permission)


Gillian Judson’s Walking Curriculum

Healing City Soils

Soil Kit available from The Outdoor Learning Store

Soil Inquiry Kit

Session Three: November 3, 2022

What a fantastic evening with our colleague Laura! If you missed the live presentation where Laura shared the story of building their school garden in Rossland, you can watch the recording here. You will need the password provided in your email from Van Dusen to access.

Resources shared you may find helpful include:

Remembrance Day in the garden blog post

School garden grant opportunities blog post

Andy Goldsworthy nature art

Robin Wall Kimmerer’s website

Mushrooms of BC website

Link to the Classrooms to Communities website– get on the mailing list for information on next year’s conference!

Link to Purchase Heart of a River- the story of the Columbia River

Thanks for joining us this month! We look forward to hosting Dr. Leyton Schnellert on December 1. See you soon!

Session Four: December 1, 2022

We’ve made it to December and what a session this was! Huge thank you to Dr. Leyton Schnellert from UBC and Kimberly, BC grade 4/5 teacher Laurie Neeve for sharing their wisdom and expertise on place conscious learning in our school gardens. If you were unable to join us, you can watch the recording here. You’ll need the password provided in your email from Van Dusen gardens.

Resources shared you might find helpful:

Learning in Places Power & Historicity Framework

Upstanders: How to Engage Middle Schoolers Hearts and Minds with Inquiry

Walking Field Trip blog post

Clipboards for garden learning

Invasive Species Council of BC

How to Teach Nature Journaling- free download

David Sobel Sky Above and Mud Below book and free webinar

A quick scheduling update! Our January session will be with my teaching partner Sarah Regan who will share her core routines and how she engages with curricular assessment in the school garden. This session was originally scheduled for Thursday, January 5. This date happens to be my eldest son’s 18th birthday, and I am unable to host our learning that night. Thankfully, our hosts at Van Dusen, and our guest speaker, Sarah are able to reschedule to Wednesday, January 4th. I apologize for the last minute change in schedule and hope you will join us. As always, the recording will be available for you to watch if you can not attend in person. I wish you a restful and joyful holiday season. See you next year! Megan.

Session Five: January 4, 2023

Happy New Year! What a brilliant session we had with Sarah Regan sharing how she prepares and carries out core routines in the school garden! If you missed tonight’s session (and you really don’t want to miss this one) you can view it here. Use the password provided in your email from Van Dusen Gardens.

Resources shared you might find helpful:

Play ideas in the rain

Best books about the rain

David Thornburg discussing classroom design

YouTube video

I look forward to seeing you all again on February 2. We are thrilled to have Janice Novakowski join us to discuss Mathematical thinking in the school garden!

Session Six: February 3, 2023

What a fantastic evening with Janice! If you missed tonight’s session, you’ll definitely want to watch the recording here. Use the password provided in your email from Van Dusen. Session six was all about how we might find and investigate mathematics and numeracy in our school garden, and Janice had ten great ways to do just that.

Resources shared in tonight’s session you might find helpful:

Janice’s blogs: Reggio-Inspired Mathematics and SD 38 Math & Science

Janice’s Twitter Account

Janice on Instagram

Spuds in Tubs (BC AG in the classroom)

Terra Nova Nature Preschool

Finding Wild (great picture book for finding nature in urban spaces)

Gillian Judson’s Walking Curriculum

Lauren MacLean’s Me and My Sit Spot

James Brunt Land Art and his book is here

Andy Goldsworthy’s newest book

Allison Tyler’s Instagram

John Muir free nature journalling download

Digital microscopes for outdoor exploring with children

BC field guides (Trees, wildlife & birds)

Blog posts on this site you might find useful:

How to grow potatoes with kids

Vocabulary vases

Great books for encouraging mathematical thinking outdoors

Thanks everyone for another fantastic and thoughtful gathering! We look forward to seeing you again on March 2. Kristina Carley, a colleague from Burnaby, will share how she teaches literacy tasks in her school garden. Yay!

Session Seven: March 2, 2023

Another brilliant session with practical and thoughtful examples of how we might engage our learners in school garden literacy routines. Thank you Kristina for sharing your work with us! Here is a link to her classroom blog. And here is a link to a site where she worked with colleagues to document a forest inquiry. If you are a teacher in Burnaby, you might be interested in the B-OUT local EEPSA chapter website (and other local chapters might find inspiration here!) If you missed this session you can view the recording here. Use the password in your email from Van Dusen to access.

Kristina shared a LOT of really great resources with us. Here are quick links for your convenience

Book Recommendations:

Braiding Sweetgrass for Young Adults

The Goodness of Rain

Potlatch as Pedagogy

Grass Sandals

My Dog is as Smelly as Dirty Socks

The Best Part of Me


The Whale Child

A Stone Sat Still

Natural Curiosity 2nd edition


Be A Good Ancestor note from Kristina: (This is a beautiful story about loving the land and the ripple effect of our actions. This book is one I meant to share. I highly, highly, highly recommend this book by local Indigenous authors and illustrators to spark deep conversations and cross curricular learning K-7)

Ntakmen Calendar

Blog Posts you might find helpful:

How to grow a butterfly garden

How to build a mud kitchen

How to make a paper seed pot

Other resources and kits mentioned:

Looking Closely Kit for outdoor learning

Westcoast seeds donation link

Gaia Green all purpose fertilizer

Vegano Fertilizer

Lori Snyder

Metro Vancouver Programs & Resources

Take Me Outside


Burnaby Youth Sustainability Network

Thanks everyone! I look forward to seeing you at our next session scheduled for April 13. We look forward to learning all about pests and pollinators in our garden with the brilliant Linda Gilkenson. You won’t want to miss this one! Also a quick programming note, our June session has been rescheduled for May 25, 2023. Update your calendars!

More Resources and Ideas!

Don’t forget to join me on Pinterest for more ideas and resources that support your school garden and outdoor classroom.

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