I really enjoyed reading the story by Susan Sherlock. She
writes about the "Countryard Topiary" that Lima West Middle
School students and teachers have worked on in Lima, Ohio.
What I really enjoyed about this project is that students not
only learned about how to make a Topiary garden and ecology but,
they also learned to work together, communicate, and mentor the
students in the lower grades.
By participating in this lesson students learned that they have
to work very hard to make their dream come true. Their dream
was to make the school grounds more attractive for themselves
and the community.This lesson teaches students that art is not
only what we see in museums and galeries but, that art is part
of our surroundings.
I would make some adaptations for my own classroom. For
example, if the school grounds did not need to be fixed, I would
ask the principal if we could use just a small section of the
play ground to make a small topiary garden. If
I was teaching younger students, I would try to find a
topiary garden in our community and ask to take them on a field
trip. This would be a "hands on" lesson that would really teach
them what a topiary garden is.
I really like the "Making Connections" part on the web page. It
gives us many ideas of how different subjects can be integrated
with this curriculum. I have been thinking about how I would
integrate other subjects and I would integrate math because
this lesson would involve a lot of measuring. I would
also integrate language arts. The students can write about the
progress and changes of their topiary garden. Science is another
subject I would integrate because as the studets work on their
garden, they can learn about the plants and how they survive in
that type of climate.
If any one has any ideas other ideas on how this lesson could
be integrated in elementary schools please write back. Also, it
would be nice to see a picture of the topiary garden in Lima
West Middle School. If you know of a web site that has a
picture of the garden please send me the address.