My students seem to be falling in love with weeds. After reading Weeds Find a Way yesterday, we invited students to be on the lookout for weeds. And this morning while kids were out running laps for Cardio Club, I was presented with more than one dandelion puff–those magical seed pods of childhood. I guess they wanted to make sure I knew how much they loved them!
And I love it when different classroom activities intersect and overlap, creating a deeper learning experience for all of us. Today when students headed out to the garden with our gardening teacher, they went in search of weeds. And while they had weeded the garden beds before, after our reading yesterday and with the gardening teacher knowing that we were learning about weeds, this time they were looking more closely. One student came in from recess with a weed clutched in her fist. She showed me the plant, pointing out what she was as interesting features. She also let me know that she had sketched this plant in her gardening journal.
Student brought a basket full of weeds back to the classroom…and we’ll use them later this week in a science lab about weeds. As I peered into the basket, I was immediately interested in the stickers on the plants that I remember as a child. I have vivid memories of pulling those stickers out of my socks. And of course, I had to grab my phone and take a few shots.
In some ways the topic of weeds has stuck to me like those stickers I used to pull out of my socks. I’m noticing a lot of variety in weeds and find myself wishing I knew more about them. I’m also still thinking about labels and how that influences the way we view and treat those labeled as nuisance or disposable or disgusting or not worth time or energy. This goes well beyond plants. It seems to apply to both living things and inanimate items.
Think about those one-time use plastic bags that many people (me included) use to carry groceries home from the market. We find them everywhere they don’t belong…on the ground, at the beach, on park benches and half buried in the sand. They are seen as expendable, cheap, replaceable–so people are not taking care to keep track of them or even to dispose of them properly.
My city is contemplating banning these bags because of the environmental dangers they pose. How will the ban change the way people see them and use them?
And how does this apply to students? Which are seen as expendable, easy to replace, just a number in the system? Does that change the way they are treated?
I’m glad we are learning about weeds. They are helping me learn a lot about myself.