Category Archives: Compost
Check out my great find at my local Big Lots store… I was able to get this greenhouse for $30! It has four shelves and doubled our growing space! I let a teacher down the hall borrow my two shelf model so she could grow some plants of her own. There was also a walk in greenhouse model available for sale and if I would of had a place to put it, it would of been mine!
In keeping with the green theme here, we (the kids and I) decided to use as many recycled containers as possible to grow our seeds in. We used both halves of a cardboard egg container, complete with egg shell half cups! We also used a plastic cupcake tray that one of my students brought her birthday cupcakes in last week. We used some old cookie sheets I got at the Goodwill Outlet Store for way cheap as trays to put our containers on.
Last week I used this great idea from my friends Steve and Amy Smith (Thanks guys!!). My kids decided to call it the Great Worm Experiment of ‘010. They all call 2010 ‘010 because all the years before them were called something with an ‘0! 😉
We began by discussing, no wait, they began discussing worms when they came in from recess last Monday. They wanted to know why after it rains there are so many worms on the sidewalks. So we did a test to see if we could find out. We took some of the worms out of our compost bin and used them as guinea pig worms. We covered half of a cookie sheet with a wet paper towel and half with a dry paper towel and did several trials to determine what the worms liked best.
The worms seemed to be undecided, half were inclined to go to the wet side and half on the dry side. We decided to make it more like a rainy day, soaking the paper towels with a watering can.
More of the worms headed for drier ground this time. We then talked about why the worms might like it a little drier, but not completely dry. Some of the kids said we should think about where they live, in the soil where it’s kind of moist all the time, and that led to determining if they liked dark or light better. We again checked our compost bin and did not see any worms crawling around on the surface and when we mixed the soil we saw the worms dive for the darkness. Just for the fun of it, we tried it with our worms we had out of the bin.
Most of the worms went under the paper or under a paper towel. Then we wrote about it:
I’ve had several questions about composting in the classroom and since our red worms just arrived on Thursday I took several pictures of us putting it together.
First you need a sturdy container. I wrote a grant through DonorsChoose.org and had it funded to get mine. I have read about others who have used those large plastic storage containers and drilled some holes into the top of the sides (but not too big or your worms will escape–think thumb tack sized holes) for ventilation.
Here is a picture of my bin:
It does have a lid, but it is not on in this picture.
To set up your compost bin, you will need some soil (with no additives at all). I used Miracle Grow Organic Potting Soil (no white fertilizer beads). You will also need some leaves or grass/flower clippings and a little bit of “food” (orange peels, coffee grounds, egg shells, bananas, apples, etc.), anything organic–no meats and no dairy (ever!!)
Put the soil in the bottom of the bin and cover with leaves/grass clippings. Mix well. Add your redworms (no earthworms, red worms…you can either get them from a fishing/tackle store or I get mine from Carolina Biological Supply).
Add the worms:
Add your food for the worms. They will all quickly dive for darkness!
Each time you add new food (gradually increase the amount so you do not overwhelm them!), make sure you mix it in or you will get fruit flies (ask me how I know!!). If you do happen to get fruit flies, cut sheets of newspaper (black and white only) into one inch wide strips and cover the remainder or the space between the compost and the lid. Leave the bin closed completely for one to two months and that should take care of the problem.
I use a shovel to mix and the kids usually do that after I have shown them how. I think it’s also important to read some great books that go along with composting, so the kids can see what it happening below the soil:
I’m not an expert on Composting, but this is what has worked well for me! There is a great book called “Worms Eat My Garbage” that you can get and there is a teacher’s guide available by the same author for use in the classroom.
I’m tagging this post with “compost”. If you click on the blue tag below, it will show you more things we have done with the compost bin.
We’re enjoying our Spring Break so far and this year, it’s truly going to be Spring like weather!! 🙂 80’s by Friday! 🙂
I don’t have much in the way of new things to share with you, I’ve been working on making some new cards in my free vacation time and you can check them out here. If you’re interested in purchasing any of them or becoming a Stampin Up! demonstrator and earn some easy extra money…shoot me an e-mail and let me know, or if you would like to purchase some of your own materials or a kit with pre-cut materials, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org!!
Today we took a trip to the zoo and saw the most adorable baby goats…they were born yesterday (March 29th). Two mommies gave birth and they each had 1 girl and 2 boys, so triplets for both!
I think I need a Meerkat as a pet!! 🙂
Dog Sharks you can pet in the tank…not for me! 🙂
I received some more books from the last grant I posted on DonorsChoose.org:
Here is a picture of the Mayor of Indianapolis visiting my classroom:
There are about 60 pictures I could post, but most of them show my kids faces, so for security, I don’t want to do that, but just know that we had the best time with the Mayor! He asked lots of questions about our compost and what we were doing to help keep our community green and our Earth healthy! The children did an AWESOME job answering all of Mayor Ballards’ questions and they were far less nervous than I was!