Herbal Communications

By Eve Pranis

"My second graders were eager to try raising herbs in the GrowLab from seed," reports second grade Cleveland, OH, teacher Kathy Adler. After choosing cilantro, parsley, lemon balm, dill, mint, or lavender, each small group planted seeds, then researched current culinary uses and other historical uses of its herb. Armed with copious information and tantalizing recipes, the students decided to create an "infomercial" video to broadcast to the rest of the school. Each of five shows, titled Herbal Delights, opened with three "cooks" donning chef's hats who shared interesting tidbits about the historical culinary, medicinal, and household uses (mothers once used dill water to keep colicky babies from crying, for example) of their herb. The chefs then illustrated step-by-step preparation (and eating!) of an herbal delight: dill dip, lemon balm cheesecake, salsa, and peppermint tea were some of the recipes featured.

"The gardening and technology links generated enthusiasm, and inspired students to want to research, find new recipes, and communicate via different media," relates Kathy. "They also got a charge out of taking plants they propagated home to their parents to share their newfound expertise," she adds.

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