Working in the garden, there are times when I need to have less than 27 children doing one activity. I have been setting up garden times for classes so that there are two or three stations, and the children rotate through them. Most every week, one station has been sketching, and I love looking through the sheets on the clipboard at the end of the day.
Seeing the two images below was a real "Aha" moment for me. A few weeks ago I pinned this on pinterest to do in the fall as a prompt in the garden. As so many things go, I have not had time for it quite yet, and I thought I'd wait until we had more colors to explore. But I didn't need to model transferring color from a leaf to paper : given time and space, the children discovered it on their own. The girl used a pencil to do a leaf rubbing rather than tracing the leaf, which was the prompt, and ended up transferring the color on the other side of the paper.
One second grade teacher was interested in using squash to frame the class' time in the garden, so we did some squash taste testing, non-standard measurement of vines, and a writing/sketching station with the prompt to explore squash in the garden. I love early writing, and these examples made me smile.
I am loving the results that happen when children are given some wiggle room and independence. I'd love to move to a choice based learning model in the garden, where there are stations set up for exploration and learning, and the children choose what they want to do.