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I also believe the concept need not be limited to a fictional neighborhood.
I imagine a variety of communities can be transformed through the creation, observation, and preservation of a garden. The challenge is how to convince members of a community that it is essential and most likely rewarding.
It teaches us that grandeur can be wide as tall. More importantly, can a garden teach people how to be a productive and loving community? In connecting the two texts above, I am suggesting that strong community can be established and perhaps maintained for an extended period of time by engaging participants in real and metaphorical gardening experiences.
First, a community must consider what a garden can teach them. That is the essence of the assignment that follows. To augment the discoveries from the lesson, a new community can cultivate a real garden with their choice of a common crop.
A garden is defined as a plot of land used for growing flowers, vegetables, or fruit, but I imagine the definition could be expanded to include rocks, butterflies, even photographs or words. If what is harvested is nurtured by the community members, the lesson taught should be the same, and positive change should be promoted within and around the community.
Read Seedfolks by Paul Fleischman or another short story or novel in which community building is a strong theme.
For example, ask students to suggest examples of how a garden is patient or tolerant. Using the found poem where students compose a poem using only words and phrases from the text of Seedfolkshave students work in small groups to create an illustrated poem with images suggested from the text to represent each stanza of the poem.
Use the same poem as text for a blank quilt displayed in a common area. The teacher writes each line of the poem on one sheet of paper. Each sheet of paper becomes one square in the blank quilt.
Students, in small groups or individually, then draw images to illustrate each square and the quilt becomes a communal text applying the meaning of the poem specifically to the classroom community.
For example, students might illustrate the tolerance of their classroom community when a new student arrives and is treated with respect. This step of the activity could take as little as a week or as long as a school year, depending on how long it takes the lesson to be learned. Remember the garden is patient.
It works well in conjunction with the cultivation of a real garden, as students return to the original found poem, the original text, and make the connections. Diversity makes the garden resilient.
The garden can teach us to see our own living arrangements as stingy and to understand that his miserliness is why They so frequently fall short of our expectations.
The garden is a community. It is a dynamic alliance of organisms depending upon each other. When too few remain, the community loses its vitality and all perish together. The garden can teach us that our strength is in our neighbors.
The garden is patient. The garden can teach us to save our energies for the opportune moment.HANDOUTS The Pain Paradox Mindfulness, Compassion, and Resilience in Trauma Therapy p.m.
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