GPISD Outdoor Classroom Newsletter

October/November 2020

Why teach outside?

A study finds that a class outside can help kids be more attentive and focused once they return indoors.

What you will find in this newsletter

  • Garden Maintenance
  • Fall Plantings
  • Upcoming Events
  • NEW FEATURE: Outdoor Classroom/Garden Spotlight
  • The Gnome

Find the Gnome

While reading this newsletter keep a look out for the gnome. He likes to hide! If you find him, click on him to register your readership.

A prize package will be awarded to the campus with the most Gnome registrations each month. Encourage your staff to read the newsletter and use it to grow your campus's Outdoor Classroom!

September Readership Winner

The campus with the most "Gnome" submissions for September was Lorenzo de Zavala. Congratulations!

The campus will receive a prize of fertilizer, push brooms, and buckets to be used in their outdoor classroom.

Share on Social Media!

Whenever you share on social media don't forget to use #gpisdeco. The more you share the more we Sawubona!

Outdoor Classroom Maintenance


What to do If your garden beds are full of weeds?!

  • Bring a grass trimmer from home and get the weeds down to the soil. Dig out any that you can get out!
  • Water the bed really well
  • Cover with plastic and cook it for 6 weeks.
  • After 6 weeks, discard the plastic and pull out whatever weeds you can remove. It helps if the soil is moist.
  • Turn the soil, adding compost if you have it. Plant your fall crops and weed REGULARLY!
  • Sometimes a FRESH START is needed! You may need to level your garden beds and start over.


Fall Vegetables

  • Cabbage transplants
  • Broccoli transplants
  • Leafy Greens transplants
  • Garlic pods
  • Shallot bulbs
  • Beets
  • Carrot
  • Cilantro
  • Collard
  • Lettuce
  • Parsley
  • Pea
  • Spinach
  • Swiss Chard
  • Radish
  • Turnip

Flowers for Fall Planting (not a complete list):

  • Alyssum
  • Asters
  • Marigold
  • Ornamental Cabbage and Kale
  • Pansies
  • Petunias
  • Primrose
  • Snapdragon
  • Stock
  • Violas

Upcoming Events

City of Grand Prairie Trinity Coalition Adopt-a-Stream Cleanup

City of Grand Prairie Educational topics available by ZOOM:

· All things recycling

· Alternative energy

· Interview a heavy equipment operator

· Anti-litter campaigns

· Waste in Place lessons including supplies list for hands-on participation

· Interview with a Solid Waste and Recycling supervisor or manager

· Career Day

These events are scheduled with the classroom teacher and the landfill staff person.

Please contact Amanda Maron, Keep Grand Prairie Beautiful Coordinator

Phone: 972-237-4546

EarthX 2021 Eco-Art Competition:

  • Deadline for Submissions: Monday, January 25, 2021
  • 2021 Theme: No Time to Waste
  • Competition Goals
    1. Give students a voice about how they view the environmental issues in the world in which they live, whether local or global.

    2. Give students a platform to raise awareness about the environmental issues important to them and move others to take action through the creation of their work.
Big picture

Outdoor Classroom Spotlight

This month's 'Spotlight' is Lorenzo DeZavala Environmental Science Academy!

We spoke to Ms. Lissa Hilbert, Environmental Science Coordinator

How many students use your campus's garden/outdoor classroom?

  • Ms. Hilbert: "850"

How often is the space used?

  • Ms. Hilbert: "Daily"

Do you have any tips for maintaining the garden/outdoor classroom?

  • Ms. Hilbert: "Do something every day even if it's a few minutes. Weeds are one of our biggest issues here in the garden area. We have found that weeding every bed every day is one of the ways that we can keep our vegetables and soil in working order."

Do you have any tips or recommendations for getting other staff involved?
  • Ms. Hilbert: "Contests help and just getting the kids excited about what is going on in ESA. When the students are excited, they share with their families and with teachers. We also make effort, especially during recess time, to not only educate students but the teachers, as well. It's a good feeling to know that we not only are educating our students but everyone in our school community too."

How do you integrate other content areas?
  • Ms. Hilbert: "Our wise principal always tells us to start with the end in mind. What is it that we want kids to learn? Having that idea allows us to be intentional in our planning. To integrate what we are teaching with other content areas, we reach out to our IMS, Mrs. Corrao, our Icoach, Mrs. Pacanins, or we collaborate with each other to bring out different ideas that will work. The gardens and our special features allow us to incorporate every content area. I think being open minded and not afraid to try new things will allow you to make integration possible."

What are you MOST proud of when it comes to your campus's garden/outdoor classroom?
  • Ms. Hilbert: "I am most proud of our gardens being an area of learning and a place the kids love to visit. From feeding the fish, to seeing the chickens, to asking so many questions about the beautiful flowers and tall/wide vegetables we are growing, it makes me beam with PRIDE that we are offering students a place that they love and that they love learning about. We have had many students take what they are learning home and teach their families. Our principal, Mary Smith, has shared with us photos of students with vegetables that they have harvested or plants they have grown. Their excitement shows through their photo. Seeing their enjoyment and pride in what they have accomplished, is one of the things that I love about this campus and this job the most."