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Discover the NGA Team's Connection to Horticulture

Mike Metallo

Books in Bloom-Our New Garden Feature

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Meet the Creators of Books in Bloom

Books in Bloom authors Mark Lubkowitz and Valerie Bang-Jensen (photo taken by in Bloom authors Mark Lubkowitz and Valerie Bang-Jensen (photo taken by Mark Lubkowitz earned his Ph.D. in Microbiology from The University of Tennessee and followed up with a post-doctoral fellowship in plant development genetics at The University of California at Berkeley. Dr. Valerie Bang-Jensen earned her Ed.D. from Teachers College, Columbia University studying children’s literature, reading, curriculum and teaching.

Mark is now an associate professor of biology, while Valerie serves as an associate professor of education. These two educators are currently working at St. Michael’s College in Colchester, Vermont where they have joined forces and expertise to bring an interdisciplinary garden to life.

Download 3rd-5th grade lesson integrating reading, writing, and gardening (PDF) »

Download 7th-12th grade lesson on the value of gardening and cause and effect relationships (PDF) »

The Teaching Gardens at St. Michael's College in Colchester, Vermont and home to the inspiration for Books in Bloom

Books in Bloom is now a curriculum, get updates and free lesson plans here!


Get a Fresh Start for Your School Garden

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Fresh Curriculum

Food Day is a nationwide celebration of real food and an effort to improve health, the environment, and America's food system. These important topics are essential to our students' futures. On October 24th, concerned citizens will gather across the nation to learn more and become advocates for local farms and eating healthy. Here are five lessons that can be taught in conjunction with your Food Day celebration or as they fit into your regular curriculum. These lessons are targeted at upper elementary to middle school age students, although they can be altered for younger and older students as well. Through these lessons, students will become informed consumers by learning to follow healthy eating goals and find "real food".

Download Food Day Curriculum.

Ridley High School GardenersA new school year brings the opportunity for new additions and approaches for learning inside and out of the classroom. The anticipation of summer can often leave the school garden neglected at the end of the school year, as assemblies and field trips occupy the schedule.

Making Learning Relevant

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A New Look for!

The newly re-launched KidsGardening website provides a thorough and engaging interactive experience for educators, parents, students and anyone else interested in gardening with kids. Our advanced searching tools and improved site navigation brings our renowned lesson plans, activities, projects and content quickly to your fingertips. Start sharing about your own school garden using our new Garden Registry; sign-up and meet like-minded gardeners, share photos, tips and blog about all things gardening. Keep your gardening programs green all year with our grants and awards. New online grant applications are now available saving you valuable time during the application process. Not to mention saving paper and collectively reducing our impact on the environment. Explore our newly re-launched KidsGardening website, and help young minds grow.

Check out these lessons and worksheets to help make nutrition relevant to students.

Food Persuasion Lesson »

Cereal Sleuths Worksheet »

Be Wary of Words Worksheet »

What it Really Means Worksheet »

With time, educators learn techniques for teaching material in ways that will better help students learn. Relating lessons to students’ backgrounds and/or interests is a strategy to help students retain the information because it is relevant to them. This can be challenging with a classroom full of students each with a different background and varied interests.

International Youth Gardening Programs

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Are you interested in integrating an internationally-themed garden at your site? Here is some information about gardens from specific countries to get you started.

International Gardens


Here are some lesson ideas to teach the theme of International Gardening.

Discover the Garden

Research and Design an InternationalGarden

Interested in apply for a garden grant?  50 awards are avaible to any international location. Apply today!


Planting Respect and Harvesting Responsibility

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Westhills Elementary School in Alabama details plans for a Peace Path made with concrete stepping stones to teach students to resolve conflict peacefully.




  • The first stepping stone should have the following words written on it: “Use an ‘I’ message. Tell how you feel or what happened.”
  • Written on stone number two are the words: “Listen and retell.” Place this stone above stone number one.
  • Place stepping stone number three above stone number two and write these words on it: “Suggest possible solution(s).”
  • Stone number four goes above number three and should read, “Listen and retell.”
  • Place stone number five above number four with the words: “Suggest possible solution(s)” written on it.”
  • Stone six should be placed above number five and should have the words: “Listen and retell.”
  • Finally, stone number seven should be the largest stone placed at the end of the pathway. Written on this stone should be the words: “Agree upon solution. Exit garden in Peace.”

Students facing a conflict with a friend can be guided along this pathway, by the words inscribed on each stone, to come to an understanding. When planning your Peace Path, look for an area of the garden/schoolyard that is peaceful so students won’t be distracted while using the path. Be creative with the placement of the stepping stones. The path could have students wind through trees, circle a bench, or stroll through the garden. Stepping stones can be purchased pre-made or can be made by the garden club using a kit/concrete. Words can be written on the stones with paints and then covered with a clear sealant. Once your pathway is in place, model its use for the students so they understand how this tool can be effective.

Rules for Respect and Responsibiliy in the Garden.

Lesson: Growing Responsible Students (Gr: 5-8)

Lesson: With Respect, We Fit Together (Gr: K-3)


“When I meet a new person, I don’t see race or religion-I look deeper. We must learn to satisfy our conflicts peacefully and to respect one another.” –Muhammad Ali

Rules Keep Us Safe

Grade: K-6

Objective: Students will review the importance of rules and determine the impacts that come from following them.

Time: 30 minutes


Choice, Control, & Change Curriculum: Bringing Healthful Habits to LiFE

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C3: Voices from the Field
“We love C3 because it leads to behavior change, not just knowledge,” say educators from the EAT.RIGHT.NOW. nutrition education program in the Philadelphia school district. “The curriculum is set up to draw in students, build on their personal experiences, and provoke discussion. Students in sixth to ninth grade tend to have more control over their food choices; C3 helps them apply what they learn when they visit their corner stores and fast food places.

“Teachers love the lessons because they are hands-on and don’t just wag a finger at students. Rather, they build knowledge and empower students to make their own choices. C3 is about gaining the ability to make better choices by setting small attainable goals, keeping track, and seeing where you stand – rather than feeling that you have to be perfect or tackle big sweeping changes.”

“C3 helped my students gain a basic understanding of nutrition and how their habits affect their health,” says seventh grade Michigan teacher Aleta Damm. “Students are unaware of the influences on their eating and exercise habits. C3 gives me the vehicle to provide my students with important information in a meaningful way. It involves lots of discussions, sharing of experiences, talking through scenarios, and thinking out loud. The hands-on experiences help students visualize concepts, and there is a lot of personal reflection.

“The activity that used homemade Play Dough to help students visualize how much fat and sugar are in everyday foods was eye awakening for them. We were then able to have some good discussions and we referred back to these often. I hope their experiences will create lifelong habits down the road.”

What influences our food and activity choices? What do we notice about the food labels on packaged snacks? How can we balance the food energy we take in with the physical energy we expend? These are some of the questions that middle school students tackle when their teachers use Choice, Control, & Change (C3), the newest curriculum guide in the Linking Food and the Environment Series (LiFE) published by Teachers College at Columbia University and the National Gardening Association.

Schoolyard Tributes

Memorial Gardens Flourish

One blooming schoolyard oasis offers solace, hope, and healing as it honors lives lost in an urban community. Elsewhere, an annual Memorial Day planting ceremony becomes a springboard for discussing what peace can look like in daily life. Across the country – and beyond – schoolyard and community gardens have been created or enhanced to serve as living memorials to people and ideals.

Exploring Toxicity

Grade: 9-12

Objective: Students will explore and investigate different chemical concentrations to determine the dose-response for seed toxicity. They will gain an understanding of the basic principles of toxicology.

Time: 1 hour, plus time for observing the results of the investigation


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Kids Gardening and the National Gardening Association actively work with schools and communities across the country to provide educational resources and build gardens to promote health, wellness, and sustainability.


Copyright © 1999-2014 National Gardening Association     | &      |     Created on 03/15/99, 

Last updated on 10/21/2014
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