Sage, rosemary, thyme and basil from their school garden will be turned into pencils, backpacks, notebooks and paper by Bransford Elementary’s enterprising fourth-graders.“Green Thumbs for Giving,” a class project that will benefit needy students, is an example of the Grapevine-Colleyville district’s project-based learning platform that brings together several core subjects in a hands-on way.“We’re working through a program called Connect, and we’re going to sell them [the herbs] and then give them that money to buy school supplies,” explained Natalie Engle, 9. “It’s a fun way to give back to students that don’t have what they need.”Beyond the philanthropic purpose, the students are learning applied math, science, technology and communications, as well as how to pull together the many pieces of a project in a professional manner.The multi-discipline learning platform stresses teamwork and planning instead of class lectures and learning by repetition.Students plan to take donations for the herb packets, which will be handed out to parents on Fridays during pickup times.“It’s mushroomed really quickly,” said Lori Kirkhuff, their math and digital classroom teacher. “Our goal was to raise $500, and we already know we’ll do more than that.”Like any successful enterprise, it has taken months of prep work.“The kids have really bought into it, the concept and the jobs they have,” Kirkhuff said.The herbs were planted from seed during science classes in February as students learned about the life cycle of a plant.Now that the plants are mature, students harvest the fresh herbs and separate them by variety.Nadia Primer’s job is on the production team.“I’m putting the herbs in bags and putting a recipe card on top,” said Nadia, 9.She was surprised, she said, to discover that so many students in her school and community really needed help with basic school supplies.“I like this because this is sort of like a nonprofit organization. We use the resources we have and are taking donations,” said Morgan Drummond, 10, who is on the communications and marketing team. Drummond will be writing press releases and thank-you notes to the businesses that have helped with advice, garden seeds and equipment.Other students have created advertisements for the school newsletter, performed skits to illustrate the need and filmed multi-media movie trailers to document the project from start to finish.“It covers a lot of different subject areas,” Kirkhuff said.
Shirley Jinkins, 817-390-7657 Twitter: @shirljinkins