Vermont School Garden

A visit to a Vermont public school garden through the seasons.


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DECEMBER: ALSO TIME TO ENJOY MAPLE SYRUP ON PANCAKES

Yesterday, the fourth grade classes participated in making and eating pancakes.

stirring batter

stirring batter

cracking eggs into batter

cracking eggs into batter

flipping pancakes

flipping pancakes

This was not so special in and of itself. The special part was that THEY had made the maple syrup last spring as third graders.
In Vermont, when the snow begins to melt and the nights are still freezing but the days are warm, students grow restless to be outdoors. What better way to welcome spring than to discover a few sugar maples on the playground whose circumference was big enough to accommodate some sap buckets? Students drilled holes for the taps, hung the buckets and checked each morning to see whether those buckets were filling with sap. Cold nights and warm days encourage the best sap runs. These lucky third graders had a cook stove in their classroom. While they did their math and reading lessons, the sap boiled merrily on the stove, sending the sweet smell of syrup throughout the school. They hypothesized about the cause and effect of evaporation and sweeter syrup. Did you know that it takes approximately 40 gallons of sap to make one gallon of maple syrup? YIKES, no wonder real maple syrup is so expensive!

sap buckets

sap buckets

first sap

first sap

gathering sap

gathering sap

The thermometer was the final determiner of our finished syrup. These industrious children boiled quite a bit of sap down to syrup. We sent some extra sap home with our principal, Mr. Tullar, who has a sugaring operation of his own at home. He brought us back a couple of more quarts of beautiful maple syrup.
Children also learned how to make maple sugar candy, a tradition that’s been handed down from our Native American forebears here in Vermont. We had a more recent teacher: Doug Harlow from Harlow’s Sugar House.

making maple candy

making maple candy

visiting  Harlow's Sugar House

visiting Harlow’s Sugar House

Hooray for a look back on a full year of cooking and learning!

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DECEMBER: TIME FOR POTATO PANCAKES

GLUTENFREE POTATO LATKES RECIPE HERE

peeling potatoes

peeling potatoes

Grating potatoes

Grating potatoes

Grated potatoes~use them quickly or they'll turn brown or grey!

Grated potatoes~use them quickly or they’ll turn brown or grey!

Measuring and mixing.

Measuring and mixing.

Sizzling potato pancakes

Sizzling potato pancakes

Mr Levy’s class made potato pancake (latkes) this morning, but with a new twist. They were gluten free!

The students listened as their teacher read an Irish folktale by Tomie  Depaola about a character who tricks a giant into thinking he’s squeezing water from a stone. The students later discovered that, although their garden potatoes appeared to be as hard as stones, they actually contained quite a bit of water.

Each child participated in the steps to making one of the best treats of the season: crispy fried potato pancakes with apple sauce and sour cream. Mastery of the peeler and the grater was shared among those who were experienced and those who needed coaching.

The children promised to let me know what the leftover uncooked potato mixture would look like by the end of the day. Mr. Levy set it on top of the refrigerator. Their predictions were interesting.

Measuring and predicting conversations abounded. As part of their diversity unit, students heard the story of the symbolic importance of lights and latkes to Jewish people world-wide at this time of year. While the latkes fried, their golden color helped us all to connect to memories of longer sunnier days.


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PUMPKIN PIE TARTLETS

On Monday Mrs. Perry’s first graders made pumpkin tartlets in cupcake tins.
They used the pumpkin that they had cooked down earlier in the fall…the
same pumpkins that they harvested from our school garden back in October! (See November blog entry.)
In teams, the students followed the recipe for the tartlets.

rolling pie dough

rolling pie dough

They carefully
rolled out the pie dough and added the filling.

pricking pie dough

pricking pie dough

If you would like to try our
recipe for pumpkin tartlets look below !

finished pumpkin tarts

finished pumpkin tarts

PUMPKN PIE TARTLET RECIPE