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December 2012

Amaryllis Project

Students performed the annual "Amaryllis Project" this December.  Each class was given a large amaryllis bulb and planting kit by the PTA.  Students planted the large bulbs and watered them.  Then they waited for the stalk to grow taller and taller.  Then they saw the large bud appear and turn into flowers.  What color would they be?  Every class had different color amaryllis flowers.  Students admired the variety.

Some students and teachers created artwork.  Notice below the lovely watercolor painting of an amaryllis by a mother of Barnard teacher Patrizia Panella.

See below for students handling the large bulbs.


Below see students planting the amaryllis bulb tightly into a clay pot.


See below as student waters the bulb.


Here are bulbs growing several weeks later.  Some bulbs produced multiple stalks.  Some bulbs this year featured doubled blooms with numerous petals.


Students admired the flowers they helped plant and tend.



See below for lovely watercolor painting by Sylvia Borg.



March 2012

Carrot Project

In an entertaining and interactive project at Amy's Greenhouse, children learned a bit about where food comes from and had fun at the same time.

Members of the greenhouse committee planted carrots and beets in  two wooden crates filled with soil.  Delighted students harvested the vegetables and were able to wash the carrots and eat them. 





The warm springlike temperatures also allowed for the children to visit the spring bulbs that they planted months ago.  The bulbs now feature six inch strapling leaves and even some buds.



February 2012 

This fall several classes planted donated spring flowering bulbs in the planting beds surrounding the patio at Amy's Greenhouse. 

Mrs. Carol Kelly gave a 9-11 presentation at Davis Elementary School that included an emphasis on helping others. Davis made a generous donation of $90 to Amy's Greenhouse in September 2011.    Some students gave $1 each.  We purchased 200 bulbs including tulips, narcissus, crocus, irises and daffodils.  In the Barnard thank you to Davis, Barnard invited Davis to Amy's Greenhouse for the Fall Pumpkin Patch event.

For Barnard students this was their first experience with digging and planting.  It was important to learn that the pointy end goes up.  Some children used the bulb planting tools, others used shovels.  Some used rakes to cover the bulbs.  Other children watered the bulbs into the soil.


Ms. Coronios Pre-K class


Ms. Jimenez's K-class


 Ms. Mahoney's 2 Grade class


Now it is February and we have had a warm November, December and most of January.  Our Barnard bulbs are confused and have been peeking their new leaves several inches out of the ground.  On one particularly cold weekend we had a sharp frost.  Millie went out to the planting area and covered the plants with a plastic tarp.

This experiment will hopefully show that our spring bulbs will bloom even if the winter is warm and they start their stalks quite early.


Here are tulip bulbs growing on February 13th, 2012 at Amy's Greenhouse.

            Spring bulbs growing under light snow

   Here are more bulbs sprouting early within the planting beds around the patio at              Amy's Greenhouse.

               Spring bulbs sprouting under snow

            Notice the numerous bulbs sprouting despite the light snow cover.


Amy's Greenhouse chairwoman Millie Radonjic covers one area of the planting bed to protect the early sprouting bulbs from a weekend frost warming.

Stay tuned to see how this experiment works out!

  And here is ..... spring time:




Dear Millie,  
You do such a marvelous job teaching our
young children about the world of plant life. They "grow" under your "light". Thank you,
Patricia Lambert    


In October almost 300 small and large pumpkins arrived at Barnard Early Childhood Center, for the classes and Pumpkin patch. (Read about Pumpkin patch under "events".

Pumpkins are in the classrooms and in Amy’s Greenhouse, where the focus is on science and learning this year.  Like Native Americans using every part of the buffalo, Barnard teachers use every part of the pumpkin and the pumpkin’s life cycle as an age appropriate learning tool.


    Each teacher is encouraged to design a program around the pumpkin.  



 The classes voted on which pumpkin to pick.  Their teacher narrowed down the choices to two pumpkins and students had to articulate why they preferred one pumpkin over another.  Then a show of hands determined the winner.






              Romero's K-class chose their pumpkin.


              Luke would like this one for his pre-K class.


                Jaden picked a pumpkin for his Pre-K AM-class...


                 and Gabriel secured one for Gluck's PM class.








 The classes weighed and measured their pumpkin, and compared the measurements to the weights and heights of students in the class.


On another visit, students carved the pumpkins.  Some students, with adult help, carved out the stem to form the cap.  Other students took turns pulling out the insides of the pumpkin. 


The teachers encouraged the children to use their senses in learning about the pumpkins.   The classes were given pumpkin seeds and taught using a laminated chart how a seed forms a sprout, then a vine, then a flower, and finally a pumpkin in one growing season.


For the Halloween holiday, students decorated pumpkins with kits or paints or in other creative ways.  Some classes will sketch the pumpkins using clipboards.  Last year there was a pumpkin contest for creativity.

Teachers took the pumpkin seeds and pulp in Ziploc bags.  Mrs. Hernandez’s Kindergarten Special Ed class will keep the contents of the Ziploc for several months and watch mold form and study decay.  Mrs. Bailey took her seeds and her children planted them to see the sprouts emerge from the soil.  Other classes will roast the seeds so the children can taste them. 

Amy’s Greenhouse again offers a wonderful opportunity for Barnard children to learn and grow. 


Sunprint Project

Three classes (Ms. Calo, Mrs. Ingram and Mrs. Staropoli) participated in the Sunprint Project on the patio at Amy's Greenhouse.  In this project the students arranged leaves on photo sensitive blue paper placed on cardboard.  After the leaves were in place, the children put a clear acrylic rectangle on top of their paper and put it in the sun for 2-5 minutes.  Then the children rinsed the paper in water and put it to dry, shielded from direct sunlight.  The children enjoyed this original project, which had to be executed quickly to work properly.  This made it exciting for the children.  More material are available for other classes.  The project works on an overcast day, but not in rain. 

 Mother's Day Plant Project

Each child at Barnard Elementary (611 students) created a personal Mother's Day plant gift for the Mother's Day holiday.  Each class received a flat of annuals for planting and a pot.  Classes were creating in decorating the pots prior to planting.  The children took special pride in their creations.  We hope that the gift plants brought joy to the families.


          Mrs. Calo's Kindergarten class plants marigolds.


          These children show their begonias in decorated pots.


          Second grade students plant basil and marigolds for their mothers

          with their teacher on right and Millie Radonjic on left.


          Two classmates, in Barnard shirts, show their plants creations.


          Here a class poses for a photo with their gift plant creations.





          For more photos  View Album

Amaryllis Bulb Planting Project 

In the depths of winter here at Barnard, the PTA is sponsoring an ambitious school wide Amaryllis planting project.  Volunteers delivered 40 “Amaryllis Kits” containing a pot, a shovel, a ziplock bag of soil, instructions, sign, newspaper, and large and healthy bulb in a cheerfully decorated white shopping bag to all Barnard classrooms.  Pre-K classrooms got two bags, one for the morning group and one for the afternoon group.

The students are planting their bulbs in their classrooms because they will grow more quickly in the heated classrooms than in the cooler greenhouse.  The children will also be able to witness the dramatic and daily growth of the bulbs and learn more about plant life.  The children will get their hands dirty, as they truly enjoy doing. 

The bulbs will take approximately 6 weeks to reach full maturity and if all goes as planned; the school will be filled with their spectacular display.  The bulbs are a variety of colors including red, pink, white and striped.  Some bulbs are so large they will likely produce two stalks.

The classes have been invited to create art work, photography and/or scientific charts featuring the plants.  We may display the art work as a group or have a contest.  Efforts have been made to increase the amount of science taught with our planting projects, so charting and learning go hand in hand.  We want to encourage that!

Thank you to Amy’s Greenhouse Committee Project Leader Meghan Fullerton and green team – Shirley Marine, Sue Russon, Ms. Deborah Buny, Karen Hessel, and Maureen Gallucci.  Thank you also, to the Barnard PTA for sponsoring this large project.  Thank you to the teachers and administration for their full support, despite busy schedules and hectic days.

            First grade class with amaryllis plant

The photo above depicts Mrs. Staropoli's 1st grade class and their amaryllis plant, which was the first of the 40+ bulbs at school to bloom.


First graders, above, admire their successful project in Mrs. Staropoli's class.


The photo above depicts a student from Mrs. Ingram's 2nd grade class and their amaryllis plant, which was the tallest plant of the project.


The photo above shows the largest amaryllis plant in the school, which was nutured by

 Mrs. Jimenez's Kindergarten class.  The flowers are spectacular.


This white amaryllis bulb (above) was tended by Mr. Barros' Special Education class (left) and Ms. Bartee's AM class (right).  The white coloration was very unique among the other more brightly colored flowers.

Here are photos from Mrs. Manno's class.  This group was especially proud of their gorgeous amaryllis plant.



The Pre-K at Barnard also participated in the project.  There are over 20 Pre-K half day classes at Barnard and each group had a plant.  Interestingly, the pre-K classrooms house two classes, morning and afternoon, though both bulbs were planted on the same day, the plants grew at different speeds.  See below.


Ms.Rosario's (left) and Ms.Ceja's (right) Pre-K classes planted the amaryllis bulbs above.


Ms. Bartee's Class ...............................        Ms. Coronios Class


See Mr.Block's Pre-K flowers before & now...


             Ms. Pizzuti's Pre-K Class .........


Above on the left, Mrs.Connolly's First Grade glass admires  their double stemmed pink amaryllis plant.  On the right above, firls from Ms. Bartee's PM Pre-K class are smiling behind their plants.


Ms.Bailey Second Graders pose with their lovely plant.  Several students are wearing their Barnard t-shirts during this week's Spirit week.


Here are two girls from Ms. Moran's First grade class with their double stemmed red and white amaryllis plant.


Here are two boys from Calo's K class with their spectacular specimen.  The children really enjoyed the project.  The quick growth of the plant was very gratifying.


These three beautiful redheads are Gallucci siblings -- from the left, the youngest is in Mrs. Rosario's Pre-K class; in the center, a sister, is in Mrs. Conlan's kindergarten class; and on the right, a 1st grader in Mrs. Winter's class.  Amy's Greenhouse is so glad to have their wonderful mom, Maureen, as a PTA member and Amy's Greenhouse volunteer.


These are teaching charts that Ms. Varela's used to teach her Special Ed. Kindergarten / 1st Grade class about how to grow the plant and then it's structure.

Children Growing Lettuce for Staff Appreciation Luncheon

In February and March the Greenhouse Committee sponsored a LETTUCE PROJECT.  First and Second Grade classes are grew lettuce to be served at the Staff Appreciation Lunch on Wednesday, March 11th, 2009.


Each participating class planted a container of lettuce in their classrooms.  We took advantage of the warmer indoor temperatures for the seeds to sprout.  Because lettuce grows best in cooler conditions and is a popular indoor crop, the pots were moved to the greenhouse after germination for the bulk of the growing cycle.  The lettuce took approximately 45 days to reach maturity, as written on the seed package.


Each child that planted lettuce used a special seed planting device (called the "Pro Seeder" ) that has a needle and squeeze ball attachment.  This apparatus requires keen eye hand coordination and allows the child to pick up one seed for planting.  The seeds are very small.  Every child mastered the device.  They enjoyed the challenge and looked like little scientists.

            Sue Russonhelping George wtih Pro Seeder


In 3 to 10 days, some children came back to the Greenhouse to measure the sprouts and thin the plants - the lettuce will be about 2” tall.  Sue Russon, parent project leader, made occasional visits to check on the progress of the crop.  


Suggested lesson plans around the Lettuce Project focus around nutrition for the seedlings, the progress of food from farm to table, workers who grow and prepare our food, and writing letters to ask for feedback from the staff about their salads (did they enjoy the taste, color, etc.)


Sue Russon is the parent sponsor for this project along with Karen Hessel and Millie Radonjic.


       Test tray of lettuce on day 17


Here is PTA parent, Liz Weingast, presenting principal, Ms. Lambert, with a bowl of lettuce grown by the Barnard children and read a letter aloud.  (Click here for the letter.) She was delighted by the success of the unique project and carried the bowl around to each table to share with the teachers.



Daffodils at Barnard - November 2008

Barnard has accepted a donation of 250 premium daffodils bulbs from Superintendent Organisciak, that he purchased personally.  These daffodils will include Barnard Elementary in the citywide daffodil project that started last year when thousands of bulbs were planted throughout the city. 

This project originated from The Community Fund for Civic Beautification (CFCB) to create a partnership between the private and public sectors to support New Rochelle’s revitalization.

The Amy’s Greenhouse committee asked for teachers to volunteer their classes.  The response was very positive with Mrs. Winters, Mrs. Manno, Ms. Flesdrager, Ms. Coronios,  Ms. Hernandez, Ms. Staropoli and Ms. Pinn, Ms. Calo, Ms. Connolly signing on.  The children are learning how to use two different types of bulb planting implements.  They are learning to plant pointy side up.  There is a model of a flowering daffodil bulb in the greenhouse for review.  Each child is planting one bulb.

Millie has blocked off different areas around the greenhouse patio perimeter.  The bulbs are being tightly planted in their beds to create a spectacular show in March and April.  Wait and see!

  Millie planting daffodils with children 

   Special thanks to greenhouse daffodil volunteers: Mary Applegate (photo on right),

Sue Russon, and Maura Galucci.  Thanks also to Gosha, Philips mom from Ms. Bartee's Class.


The photo about shows Ms. Calo's kindergarten class after they have planted their daffodil bulbs.


The photo above shows Ms. Pinn's Kindergarten class planting daffodil bulbs with a planting device.  Each child planted one bulb. 


           Gardeners from Ms. Winter's First Grade Class planted daffodil bulbs too.

Daffodils at peak on Earth Day, April 22nd, 2009



Avocados at Barnard

Thanks to the donation of avocado seeds from a local Mexican restaurant, each child in Mrs. Connolly’s 1st grade class planted their own avocado tree in Amy’s Greenhouse.  The children inserted three toothpicks into the midsection of the large seeds and placed them the seed on a clear plastic cup filled with water.  A root should appear in 3-4 weeks, if all goes as planned.

Greenhouse volunteer and class parent, Mrs. Hessel taught the group a lesson on seed dispersion.  She brought her “seed collection” in a large cardboard box.  She showed how some seeds are wind dispersed and they have feathery features for flight.  She showed a berried branch and explained that birds eat the berries and disperse their seeds.  She showed pine cones, and flower seeds and discussed other methods of dispersion. 

The class enjoyed viewing a cricket that Mrs. Hessel collected that morning and brought in a clear container.  She explained how some people study everything about bugs -- where they live, what they eat, and how they lay eggs. And these people go to college for that and become bug experts.  She asked if anyone wanted to have that career.

Mrs. Connolly read the class a wonderfully illustrated on-topic book about the life cycle of the sunflower.  Earlier in the day Mrs. Connolly and her class made guacamole dip and enjoyed chips and salsa.  Special thanks to Mrs. Applegate, Alexander’s mom, for her help on this project.

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