GreenTown Los Altos

The Los Altos Living Classroom Program Gets the Nod from Acterra


Apr 2011


GreenTown Los Altos gives a green thumbs up to the Los Altos School District Living Classroom Program for winning Acterra’s Business Environmental Awards in the “Environmental Project” category. The prize, announced in late April, rewards “a specific environmental project that has demonstrated significant leadership in a focused area, such as resource conservation, environmental outreach, pollution prevention, or minimizing carbon footprint.”

Kudos to program founder Vicki Moore, Program Director, Mike Sanderson, and Los Altos School District middle school teacher, Courtney Cadwell, who helped develop many of the lesson plans. “As a Living Classroom docent, I know first hand how effective the Living Classroom lessons are in engaging students in garden-based science, social studies and math lessons,” notes Margie Suozzo, Chair of GreenTown Los Altos’ Leadership Team.

Living Classroom lessons are available for all elementary grades (typically there are 4-6 lessons per grade), with new lessons being piloted at the middle school level. Some examples include the following:They cover a range of topics, from science to social studies, using garden-based instruction, e.g.:

  1. 2nd graders, whose curriculum includes studying plant lifecycles, examine wheat in a three part lesson, from seed to pretzel;
  2. 3rd graders, studying the Ohlone, harvest and measure corn, beans and squash produced in a traditional three-sisters garden;
  3. 6th graders sow and grow plants that were critical to ancient civilizations highlighted in their curriculum.

Walt Hayes, Chair of Acterra’s Business Environmental Awards Judging Committee notes that “Our team found this project totally inspiring in all ways, including features like its creativity and comprehensiveness, its integration with state curriculum standards, how its turnkey approach avoids burdening teachers, and the way it achieves all those goals on a minimal budget. ”

GreenTown gives the Living Classroom program our green thumbs up! For more information, contact the Living Classroom program, please contact Mike Sanderson at 650-947-1103.

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