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Greening School Grounds (ebook)


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Tim Grant and Gail Littlejohn (editors)

Greening School Grounds: Creating Habitats for Learning, Toronto: Green Teacher, 2001 first edition, 2015 (ebook)

ISBN 978-0-9937753-5-2, 136 pages, Grades K-12.

Schoolyard “greening” is an excellent way to promote hands-on, interdisciplinary learning through projects that benefit schools and increase green space and biodiversity in communities. In this popular anthology from Green Teacher magazine, readers will find step-by-step instructions for numerous schoolyard projects, from tree nurseries to school composting to native plant gardens, along with ideas for enhancing learning by addressing the diverse needs of students. Among more than a dozen schoolyard habitat options presented, the guide includes detailed articles on rooftop gardens, far-north gardens, desert gardens, butterfly gardens, ponds and prairie restorations. For project planners, there are practical tips on minimizing vandalism, maximizing participation and raising funds. And for teachers, there are dozens of outdoor classroom activities and curriculum links, a bibliography of learning resources, and up-to-date listings of funders and training organizations. Greening School Grounds is a compendium of the best schoolyard greening articles and activities from Green Teacher.

If you are interested in purchasing copies of the ebook in bulk for your classroom, nature center, organization, or school district, special discounts apply.

Single Copy $9.99

2-10 copies $7.99

11-50 copies $5.99

50+ copies $3.99

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What people are saying …

“This comprehensive resource draws on expertise from across the continent to provide all the information you’ll need to jump into a schoolyard naturalization project of your own. Grab the paper and pencils and start planning!” – Barbara McKean, Public Programs Coordinator, Royal Botanical Gardens, Hamilton, Ontario, and author of several books on wildlife and wildflowers.

“If you are greening a school, Greening School Grounds is an essential reference. It is wide ranging, readable and realistic.” – Mary Rivkin, Associate Professor of Education, University of Maryland, Baltimore County, and author of The Great Outdoors: Restoring Children’s Right to Play Outside.

“Greening School Grounds prepares teachers to take full advantage of their schoolyards by offering advice from successful habitats for learning around North America.” – David Wicks, Coordinator, Center for Environmental Education, Jefferson County Public Schools, Louisville, Kentucky and Year 2000 President, North American Association for Environmental Education.

“A must have for any educator’s bookshelf.” – Cheryl Dixon, Education Coordinator of the National Wildlife Federation, Northwest Natural Resource Center, Seattle, Washington.



by Tim Grant and Gail Littlejohn

Pedagogical theories come and go, but everywhere and always it is innovative and energetic teachers who are the real ground breakers in education. Never has this been more literally true than during the past few years as teachers and students across North America have begun to break ground for greener schoolyards. Tilling the soil, planting a seed, creating a nature trail, feeding the birds — it all seems slightly anachronistic at a time when the real, serious purpose of education, we hear, is to prepare young people to compete in a high-tech, global economy. Of course the real purposes of education are both broader and deeper than this, and as many writers in this collection point out, a great many of them can be met in an outdoor classroom This book is not a dig-it-and-seed-it planting guide for schoolyard sodbusters, although it does offer much practical how-to advice. Rather, its aim is to guide teachers through all phases of a school grounds project, from developing a rationale that will win the support of principals and administrators, through redesigning the grounds, to tapping the rich potential of the schoolyard as a place for hands-on, multidisciplinary learning. The organization of the book mirrors this process. The Perspectives section helps readers develop a cogent argument for undertaking a school greening project; it does so, in part, by pointing to research that overwhelmingly supports the view that such projects offer substantial intellectual, emotional and social benefits to children. The Getting Started section gives advice on organizing a project team, developing a collective vision, and getting the support of volunteers and funders. The middle three sections form the heart of planning and implementation, offering design suggestions and how-to advice on a variety of projects from natural wetlands to butterfly gardens to tree nurseries. Finally, the largest section of the book, Learning in the Outdoor Classroom, is devoted to the myriad and multifaceted educational uses of a school nature area. As a whole, the book reflects the expertise of more than 40 authors and 75 reviewers, many of them North American pioneers in schoolyard greening. As one might expect, their ideas are creative and often ambitious. Yet any project that aims to beautify and diversify a beast as big and bleak as the average schoolyard will take time, energy, enthusiasm, and usually money — in other words, all the personal resources that tend to run dangerously low on Friday afternoons. That is why, again and again throughout the planning of this book, the voices of the experienced have urged and reminded us to “tell teachers to start small.” And so we do, hoping that this book will inspire grand plans but at the same time provide the direction and tools to begin the journey in small, manageable steps. No matter how modestly you begin, you will be enriching young people’s lives, strengthening your community, and adding your vision and voice to the most vibrant educational movement currently underway on this continent.

Table of Contents




Transforming School Grounds by Ann Coffey

How Schoolyards Influence Behavior by Edward Cheskey The Pedagogical Potential of School Grounds by Anne Bell

Sowing a School Garden: Reaping an Environmental Ethic by Janet Pivnick

Getting Started

Maximizing Participation: Go Team! by Stephanie Stowell

Funding Schoolyard Projects by Marilyn C.Wyzga

Ugliest School Yard Contest by Tim Grant and Gail Littlejohn

A Step-by-step Planning Guide by Miriam Mutton and Debbie Smith

School Grounds in a Box: Model-making and Design by Ann Coffey

Greening High Schools: Leaping Subject Barriers by Barbara Kerby and John Egana

Greening the Grounds

A Diverse Dozen: Habitats for Healthy School Ground by Paul E. Knoop

Rethinking Tree Planting by Henry Kock Natural Wetlands and Retention Ponds by Jackie Oblak

Bringing Back the Prairie: Ecological Restoration by Molly Fifield Murray

Desert and Dryland Gardens by Janet Fox

Creating a Schoolyard Tree Nursery by Cathy Dueck Rooftop Gardens by Monica Kuhn

Attracting Wildlife

Whatever Happened to the `Wild’ in Kids’ Lives? by Edward Cheskey

The Foundation of Habitat: Native Plants by David Mizejewski

Amphibian Oasis by Heather Gosselin and Bob Johnson

Avian Attraction by Ken Quanz and Edward Cheskey

Projects for the Birds by Steven Uriarte Butterfly Gardens by Kim Denman

Enhancements and Safety

Benches, Bridges and Other Beautiful Things by Gary Pennington

Sun Shelters: Respite from the Rays by Drew Monkman

Schoolyard Ponds: Safety and Liability by Sharon Gamson Danks

Discouraging Vandalism in Schoolyard Habitats by Beth Stout \

Composting at School by Rhea Dawn Mahar

Learning in the Outdoor Classroom

The Panther Patch: A K-6 Gardening Plan by Janice Hanscom and Felicia Leipzig

Creating a Field Guide to Your Nature Area by Bruce R. Dean

Learning Links for Elementary Classes by Jeff Reading and George Taven

K-12 Activities for the Outdoor Classroom by Char Bezanson, Craig Johnson, Bill Lindquist and Nalani McCutcheon

K-12 Learning in a Schoolyard Prairie by Robin Greenler

The Abundance of Nature’s Imagination by Karen Krupa

Math in the Schoolyard by Char Bezanson and Judy Killion

Exploring Food and Culture through Gardening by Nicole Thibault

Tips and Tricks for Taking Kids Outside by Nalani McCutcheon and Andrea Swanson

Service Learning: Connecting Classrooms with Communities by Mary Haque

Project Support and Resources Index Curriculum Index


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2 Comments Post a comment
  1. Deepa #

    Can i get summary of the book greening school grounds by tim grant and gail lttlejohn

    November 7, 2016

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