The Monthly Bonus

Every month there will be a fun post to get kids AND families a little more excited and engaged with nature, gardening, cooking, and learning! The monthly topics can range from an interesting gardening or plant fact, a tested & approved recipe to cook with the family, a game or art project related to nature, and more!

June 2021

Garden Themed Yoga with Mr. Mo

Greetings Gatewood Gators for our last Monthly Bonus of the school year! For our June submission we have a special guest: our very own 1st grade teacher, Mr. Mo!

Mr. Mo is a talented yoga instructor and he will be showing us some fun garden themed yoga moves to get our minds and bodies relaxed for the final weeks of school!

If you would like to print off a free Garden Yoga for Kids Poster, visit the site below:

These posters and more fun yoga activities and resources for kids can be found here:

If you ever want to practice these moves in the school garden or just want to take a relaxing body break, you will find The Garden Yoga for Kids Poster and the Pollinators Yoga Poster hanging on the shed by the picnic table!

I hope you have a fun and relaxing time participating in this video!

May 2021

Creating Hammered Nature Art

Greetings Gatewood Gators and welcome to the Monthly Bonus for March 2021. In this video lesson you will learn how to make art using the beautiful colors of nature!

Did you know that the name for the green pigment (color) in almost all types of plants is called Chlorophyll? Chlorophyll not only makes plants green- it helps them survive! Chlorophyll works to absorb light into a plant which (through a cool process called Photosynthesis) turns that energy into fuel (aka food) to keep the plant alive and healthy!

Chlorophyll up close!

Fun fact- Chlorophyll is not only healthy for plants, it’s healthy for YOU! Chlorophyll rich foods like Broccoli, Asparagus and leafy greens help your body grow by providing you with vitamins and antioxidants! Don’t say NO to that Kale smoothie!

Chlorophyll Rich Foods!

In this art project, we are going to be using Chlorophyll in plants- along with other colorful plant pigments- to make art! For those who are interested in impressing their parents using the scientific names for plant pigments, here are the other major groups:

-Anthocyanins: provides some plants their red, purple and blue colors

-Carotenoids: provides some plants their bright red, yellow and orange colors

-Betalains: one type of Belatain provides yellow and orange colors while the other type gives plants a reddish-violet color.

I hope you enjoy scavenging and creating beautiful nature art!

April 2021

Grow Vegetable starts for the West Seattle Food Bank!

*Take-home seed starter bags will be in a clear labeled bin outside the school where library books are returned*

Welcome to the April Monthly Bonus! In honor of Earth Day (April 22nd), you have the opportunity to grow seed starters at your home to donate to the West Seattle Food bank! Not only will you be learning how to grow vegetables from seeds, but you will be supporting the community by allowing someone in need to plant and eat their own vegetables!

The take-home vegetable kits include: Garden Beans, Snap Peas, Kale, Swiss Chard, Lettuce and Sweet Peppers! Please follow the instructional video to see how each seed is planted. Don’t forget to check the soil every few days to make sure it is moist!

*Important Note: Your starts will eventually need to be planted into larger containers to give the roots space to grow. The beans will be the fastest to grow and may need a re-plant after only a week! When you re-plant the start, fill your larger container with soil and create a well in the middle. Use a spoon to gently scoop your start out of the egg carton and plant into the well of your larger container. Make sure to water after planting!

As seen in the example photo below, your larger planter can be anything from a plastic cup to a yogurt or milk container. It does not need to be fancy! Just make sure to punch holes at the bottom of the container for drainage so the roots don’t rot!

If you choose to keep your plant start that is totally OK, but I encourage you to bring them back to the school (once 2-3 inches tall) in order to donate to the West Seattle Food Bank! Please make sure they are labeled when they are returned.

IF all 200 grow kits are used, our school community has the power to grow at least 800 veggie plants for the community!

Please check out the Gatewood Navigator or go to the “Garden Projects and Events” page to learn more about the Earth Day Challenge!

March 2021

Make Your Own Tea!

Greetings Gatewood Gators and welcome to the Monthly Bonus for March 2021. In a month known for being cold and wet in the Pacific Northwest, it is always nice to curl up with a good book and a cup of tea! In this video lesson you will learn how to make your very own tea using citrus peels. I will also introduce some herbs that are good to grow, harvest and dry for making tea in the future!

The history of tea is an old and amazing one. Historians believe the source of tea came from the Shang Dynasty of China thousands of years ago and was used as a medicinal drink. The earliest credible record of tea dates to the 3rd Century AD! While the British are well known for their tea consumption, they were only introduced to it through trade in the early 16th century. They quickly got to work ordering tea production in India to fill the ever-growing demand for more and more Tea!

Whether it is used as medicine or a refreshing beverage, various types of tea are consumed all over the world. While some countries largely drink one type of tea (for example Green or Black Tea), the grocery stores in your neighborhood offer almost every flavor you can imagine!

My goal is to inspire you to make your very own tea! If you do not have the resources available, I have created some do-it-yourself tea packets using dried mint, nettle and lavender. You can pick up a packet from the Gatewood Little Free Library. Remember that the bags can be composted!

If you want to learn more about the history of tea, check out this Ted-Ed video:

For some tea blending inspiration, please look over the Tea Wheel below:

February 2021

All About Herbs

Hello Gatewood Gators and welcome to the February Monthly Bonus! I hope you enjoy the video about how to harvest, dry and process herbs. There are many ways to dry herbs and you can learn more ways here:

The herbs that I dried and used for the flatbread recipe are:

Oregano: A member of the mint family, this herb has been used for thousands of years in both food and medicine. Fun fact- the Greeks and Romans associated oregano with joy and happiness!

Thyme: Related to rosemary, this herb is part of the mint family and is popular in Mediterranean cooking. Fun fact- back in the day thyme was used for embalming and to protect against the Bubonic Plague! Yikes!

Rosemary: Another member of the mint family (along with Oregano and Thyme), this herb is also native to the Mediterranean region. Fun fact- the first mention of rosemary is found on ancient stone tablets dated back to 5000 BC (about 7,000 years ago!).

Garlic Herb Flatbread Recipe:

I modified a pizza dough recipe that can be found here:

From my experience with this recipe, you will need AT LEAST 2 ½ cups of flour- I usually use a quarter cup or so more.

When you are adding the flour, also add around 2 teaspoons each of garlic powder, dried rosemary, dried oregano and dried thyme. You can always add less/more or experiment with different herbs!

This dough is versatile- you can use it to make flatbread, pizza, bread sticks, calzones, hand pies and more!

For any questions, feel free to email 😊

January 2021

Learning about the Douglas Fir

Hello Gatewood Gators and welcome to the first Monthly Bonus of 2021! This video was filmed in Gifford Pinchot National Forest near the border with Oregon where I talk all about our state motto and the Douglas Fir tree!

For those who watched the video and are interested in more Native American origin stories and literature, here are a couple resources provided by Seattle Public Schools:

Some Indigenous Read-Aloud Books by Grade Level:

The American Indian Resource Library offers a great deal of information and literature which you can explore using the link below:

For more information on the Douglas Fir tree including the origin story with the mice, check out the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Blog:

December 2020

Do-it-Yourself Seed Starters using Paper Pulp!

Have fun WHILE Recycling!

Hello Gatewood Gators and welcome to the very first Monthly Bonus activity! Please watch the video below to try your hand at making your very own recycled paper seed starters to use for spring planting!

Materials Needed: Scrap Paper (newspaper, used printer paper, tissue paper, etc), Warm Water, a Blender/Food Processor (or skip this step and use your hands to process after your paper has a long soak!), and a Muffin Tin (or any small cups, bowls or ramekins for shaping your pulp into a usable container!).

Feel free to email me pictures of the final product to post on the website. Please do not hesitate to contact if you have questions!

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