Planning & Planting our Classroom Garden

Outside Teaching Plan (OTP)

Your Name: Mikki vanSummern

Class Grade Level: 3

Class Subject:  Science

Number of Students in the class: 15

Lesson/Project Name:  Planning & Planting our Classroom Garden

A.  Pre-Reflection

1. What are your professional teaching goals

I will become more comfortable in having my students use the outdoors as a classroom.

I will access and students’ prior mapping knowledge to map out where our seeds should go.

I will make time in our busy schedule for students to go out every week to observe their gardens growth.

2.  What are your goals for students going into this?

a.  Students will read the seed packets and think about if they are appropriate for our site and if they are where they should go in the garden.

b.  Students will look at the garden site and think about what factors would impact the plants we want to grow (ie.  spacing and height of plants, the garden’s placement relative to the sun….)

c.  Students will plant the seeds and learn what it takes to care for our garden.


Note: please remember to reference the book you read in your plan!

1.  Materials

a.)  chart paper, seed handout (see below), seed packet, clipboard, pencil

b.) seeds, garden, measuring tape, markers, place to sit,


2.  The Class/ProjectStudents will decide what seeds are appropriate to grow in our outside raised bed garden (see chart attached). They will decide where they should grow them and then plant the seeds in the garden (see sample of students maps attached). They will also care of the growing plants until school is out. Tips for Garden Plots, page 48, from School Enhanced Learning suggests we will observe and take pictures of the plants as they grow for current learning as well as to document what has been successful and what has not been as successful over the years.

a.  Prep before going outside: (60 +minutes/days)Description of prep:  chart paper, a variety of seed packets, handout for reading seed packet, clipboard, pencil

1.  First we had a discussion, which we charted about what things we need to think about when planting a garden. The ideas we charted were: what if it’s still too cold, about bulbs, if the soil needed fertilizer or worms, how will our plants be pollinated, will it get enough sunlight. (see attachment).  About 30 minutes

2. Then students with a partner chose a seed and wrote down information on our seed worksheet about: the growing zone, full or partial sun, when to plant, length of time until harvesting, space requirement, and height.  After we were done we discussed how this information would help us decide where to plant the seeds. About 30 minutes

b. Outside:

We went outside and looked at the garden with the afternoon sun and drew a 4 foot by 6 foot map of our garden.  Sitting on our outside stump classroom we mapped out where we wanted the different plants based on our discussions. About 30 minutes

We are in the process of planting our garden.  The cold weather crops such as peas, lettuce and radishes are in.  We are mapping the garden based on a composite of all of our gardens (see attached pictures).  Sometimes I took small groups out at recess to plant.  Another way to do it is have students do an activity on the stumps, even independent reading, while you take small groups to plant different things.

c.  Classroom follow-up:

Once all the seeds are planted we will observe and maintain the garden until harvest time.  We will take pictures and draw the changes overtime of our plants. We can have discussions about why some plants are growing better than others, how we would do it differently next time.

C.  Reflection: 

The overall lessons of planning and planting the garden went well.   Students loved choosing a seed packet and reading about their seeds.  They also loved going out in small groups at recess and spreading compost over all the schools gardens prior to planting them. The first time we planted some seeds I had the whole class standing around our small raised bed watching as one student at a time pushed in a pea seed. The students had a hard time waiting for their turn.  After that I had them go over on the stumps and map out the rest of the garden while I took a few students at a time to plant seeds.  I found that it is also better to take them out before lunch than at the end of the day when they are antsy and need exercise.  I am continuing to learn about the management of outside lessons!! 

Students loved being outdoors and being apart of growing things in nature. We had planted seeds in under our grow-light all winter. But most had never planted seeds outside before or thought about where they should grow in a garden.  They are quite proud of their work.

Seed worksheet below:

Will These Seeds Work In Our Garden?

Gardeners: ______________ & ________________


Look at the back of the ___________________packet and answer these questions:                               (name of seeds)


Can they grow well here in Maine?

Look at the map:

What zone are we in?  _________________

When can we plant the seeds?  ___________________________

How many days will it be until we can harvest (pick) it?____________

Do they recommend starting them inside?  ________When? __________

So if we can plant them where should they go?

Can they grow in full sun partial sun or shade? _____________________

What space is needed :

between seeds? ______________________

between rows? _______________________

How tall will the plant get? ________________________

Now sketch our garden on the back of this page and put these plants where they would grow best!

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