Cabbage patch growers learn at Pike Road School
The kids of Pike Road School’s community 3 could not be more excited about their cabbage patch.
They should, since they’ve invested a lot of their own energy and education into the planting, nurturing and caring of their garden. Even while working in groups inside, their minds wandering outdoors as they created rough drafts of “books” that will be bound and published on how-to instructions for planning a garden, to the growth and life cycle of a cabbage to recipes using the leafy-green veggies.
After being asked what they were working on that afternoon, they explained how they made their cabbages were well taken care of from seedlings to full heads during the winter months, the pests they encountered that tried to eat their precious cabbage leaves and the steps they took to construct durable raised garden beds from scratch.
Students, William Fuhrman, Emma Sherwood, Michael Young, Daniel Jo, Keontae King and Megan Crittenden were one group of several in Maria Franco and Renee Dickerson’s community 3 class who were more than willing to show their prized classroom project.
“He grew them hydroponically, which just means that we gave them water and nutrients inside under colored lights and then moved them to our garden outside,” William said.
Franco and Dickerson love it best when their students take ownership of their education and become hands-on in their learning and then apply that knowledge to things like science, math, writing, reading, engineering and even economics when the children will sell their cabbages at an upcoming market.
Although it may come as a surprise that so many lessons can come from a simple head of cabbage, it is also surprising for two full-time teachers to be teaching the same class. They prefer it that way and their relationship goes back several years when they taught in Tallassee. Both have been teaching for more than ten years.
Upon discovering Pike Road School and their innovative approach to education, known as the Pike Road Way, they both fell in love with the concept and joined. They were randomly paired together and discovered they had similar approaches to the classroom.
“What attracted me the most to come here, which has always been my goal was to teach without a text book. I believe more in the hands-on learning and when it becomes real to them [learners] it become more meaning for them,” Franco said.
“They are just all so eager to share what they know with you,” Dickerson said. “I want them all to have that same desire of learning, not just memorizing – to have them excited and engaged and enthusiastic about being at school.”