Since you asked … Yes, my students are learning about plants. Some days I am reminded that my enthusiasm is contagious. Weeks ago, I brought a hyacinth vase into the classroom with a dull, gray bulb perched just above the waterline. When I toured the room with the vase, even I was not impressed. The glass container went atop a high shelf, away from the reach of curiosity.

We’re learning about months of the year, days of the week, etc. I couldn’t help but give an overview of the crops that grow in this area and the work farmers do each season.

I spent 17 years writing about local farming, and I’ve toured most local crops during most seasons. It would feel like a shame to let all of that information go to waste.

When I described spring, I talked about the small planes twirling through the sky, flying low above six inches of water. Ripples spread across the smooth surface of the flooded fields; rice scattered like a hard rain. The descriptions of autumn included trees shaken by vehicles that looked like they should be on the moon. I described the lobster-like claw and how nearly every nut falls to the ground in seconds. These kids may not have seen local farming in action, but they certainly saw it in their imaginations.

When we worked on an art project — the life cycle of a sunflower — it was hardly a stretch to revisit the hyacinth bulb, still unimpressive, but now with roots growing into the water.

The children appeared mildly interested, and I tucked the vase away, again in plain view.



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