Classroom composting continued

A grade 1 class' compost set-up.

A grade 1 class’ compost set-up.

Classroom composting at Blake is off to a great start! After doing the intro lessons and getting all of the classes equipped with classroom compost kits in December, I really haven’t had to be involved in the daily composting routines. It’s really great to see how quickly it’s become a part of the regular classroom routine. I left it for the teachers and classes to figure out their own compost bucket emptying procedures, so they could all find what worked best with their schedule and group of students. As I think I wrote in my initial description of the classroom composting, we decided that Kindergartens and grade 1s would not take out their own compost, while older grades would have pairs of students emptying the buckets into the outdoor compost bins. Well, I found out last week that a couple of older classes have taken the initiative to pair up with a couple of younger classes to take out their compost for them. This made me super happy! It’s really exciting to see teachers and classes caring enough about this project to figure out ways to make it work smoothly for everyone.

A kindie class' compost posters.

A kindie class’ compost posters.

The sorting seems to be going super well too! There’s still a bit of compostable material going into the classroom garbage cans, but not a lot. And the stuff that’s going out into the compost bins has been super well sorted! I’ve found a couple of crackers here and there, and a couple of cupcake wrappers, but only very minimal amounts of stuff that shouldn’t be in there. Every time I open up the compost bin, I see tons of banana peels, apple cores, orange peels, etc.! One thing that is a bit of a problem is that there are often barely-touched (or even totally untouched) apples, banana halves, cucumber slices, etc. that do end up in there. So food waste is definitely something that still needs to be addressed. There are also lots of compostables from the breakfasts and lunches going into the garbage, but we haven’t yet started any composting for those programs – I wanted them to become really comfortable with sorting compost in the classroom before expanding to other sites in the school. It was also cool to find out that the women who run the snack programme have been composting their fruit and veggie scraps! Overall, we’re off to a great start with the composting!

I was also really happy when a couple of student teachers who are working with grade 1 classes decided to take on running a compost survey with the whole school, to use it as the culminating activity for the data management unit they were doing in math.  One of the student teachers and I compiled the survey, and the rest of it was their own initiative. They gave each teacher in the school a class set of the surveys, which were then completed in class and returned to the grade 1 classes. The grade 1 students then charted the results, which are now posted on one of the first floor bulletin boards in the school. I also noticed that some grade 6s got involved with the charting. Really cool to see the compost project taking on a bit of a life of its own, with teachers/student teachers using the project to make their own curriculum-linked activities.

Happy growing (and composting)!

Grade 1s graph the answer to the question "Do you know what composting is?"

Grade 1s graph the answer to the question “Do you know what composting is?”

Grade 1s graph the answers to "Do you know what happens to food in the compost bins?" and "Do you know what goes into the compost bin?"

Grade 1s graph the answers to “Do you know what happens to food in the compost bins?” and “Do you know what goes into the compost bin?”

Grade 6s graph the answers to what students think can go in the compost.

Grade 6s graph the answers to what students think can go in the compost.

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