Subscribe To Our New Blog!

You can now subscribe to our new blog by clicking the ‘subscribe’ button on the right-hand side of the page. Be sure to do this to prevent missing any new posts! And check out the latest from our kindergarten classes here!

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Our Favorite Leaves!

Check out work from our 1st and 2nd grade students on our new blog platform!

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We’ve Moved!

Our garden is getting a makeover…and so is our blog!  Visit our new page at http://www.educationoutside.org/afy and read the latest post about our garden makeover!

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Garden Party 2015

We had a wonderful time at our year-end garden celebration last Saturday! What a great turn-out!

We made tree-round necklaces…

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Painted insect masks with natural dyes…

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Made seed balls and butter…

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Got our faces painted…

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And ate lots of great food!

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HUGE thank you to all of our parent and staff volunteers, without whom this event would not have been possible: Ken Chiang, Sharon Chow, Jackie Fung, Anni Griswold, Severa Keith, Stella Kong, Deborah Kwan, Daniel Leong, Theresa Leung, Angela Lew, Laura Ling, Michael Logue, Jennifer Louie, Pauline Ly, Charlotte Moore, Ken Pang, Marybeth Pudup, Pam Schute, Lucia Su, Lisa Wan, Wayne Yen, and Kristine Yu.  Thanks also to all of our wonderful student volunteers, and to Arizmendi for the generous donation of bread!

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2015 Field Trip Adventures

We have been fortunate to attend many wonderful field trips this year. For the first time, second grade students visited Slide Ranch!

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First, we all picked nature names (some were inspired by the plants all around us!)

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Then we visited the chickens and fed them treats…

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Next we made bracelets out of sheep wool…

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And then we visited the sheep and goats!

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We learned from experience that goats are herd animals…

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Overall it was a wonderful trip! And, because we ate some sweet berries…

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We were sure to brush our teeth at the end of the day with the “toothbrush plant”!

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Third grade students also went on several fun field trips this year.  In the fall, we made the short trek from AFY to the San Francisco Botanical Garden.

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We visited the Redwood Grove, Children’s Garden and Native Plant Garden.

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In the Native Plant Garden, we learned about some of the ways the Ohlone People used California native plants.  We began by examining tule stems, noting the air channels within the stems that make them light and buoyant as well as the the waxy, water resistant outer coating.  Many students correctly guessed that the Ohlone people used tule stems to make boats.

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We then compared the tule to cattail, which has much different properties.  We learned that the thin leaves were stripped and twisted to make rope and other cordage.

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Then we visited a ceanothus plant, and learned that the Ohlone people crushed the blue flowers and rubbed them in water to make soaps and shampoos.

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Next, we looked at our state flower, the California Poppy. We learned that the roots of this flower contain a pain reliever, and that the Ohlone people mashed the root to apply it to aching teeth.

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On the final stop in the Native Plant Garden, we learned one reason tooth aches may have been common…

_DSC0926 Acorns were the staple food for the Ohlone people, and it’s thought that grinding the acorns in a grinding stone caused small pieces of rock to be incorporated in the acorn meal, leading to cracked and decaying teeth.

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After learning this, every student had the chance to grind an acorn for him or herself.

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The acorns that the students used for grinding came from an oak tree in Sacramento, CA (pictured left, below).  Many students used their sharp observation skills to find acorns that had dropped from the oak trees in the Botanical Garden (pictured right), and compared the two.  

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Finally, we got to taste a piece of acorn bread!

IMG_1018 IMG_1020 IMG_1024The bread was a hit!  As was the park…

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We couldn’t wait to return to the Botanical Garden in the spring! For our second trip, the Youth Stewardship Program showed us around the Stow Lake Boathouse.

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Along the way, we learned about some of the plants in the area and did a little weeding to help clean up the park.

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Looking forward to more fun field trips next year!

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Thank you to the San Francisco Botanical Garden Youth Education Program for the “Native People, Native Plants” field trip guide, and to Slide Ranch and Youth Stewardship Program for the wonderful trips!

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Earth Day is Every Day!

Last month we celebrated Earth Day!

We kicked off our celebration in March with our Cool The Earth campaign. Big thank you to the Lincoln High School students who performed during the assembly!

IMG_1921During the four weeks following the assembly, students made Earth-friendly pledges like taking shorter showers, powering down video games and using reusable water bottles.

Meanwhile in class, K-2 students learned about Earth’s natural resources and sorted different items into three categories: fossil fuels, plants & animals and minerals.

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They decided that some of the objects, like the pencil below, fell into all three categories!

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After sorting the items provided, they searched the garden for other objects to categorize. (Some were quite mysterious!)

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After learning where common materials come from, we learned about where they all go.  First graders learned how landfills are made, and found out what it would be like if we were to turn our beloved sand pit into a landfill.

First they dug a hole to bury the trash…

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Then we emptied our black bin into the hole (to the tune of many mouths squealing “eeeewwwwwww!”)  It was not a pleasant visual!  We all agreed that we wouldn’t want to turn our sand pit into a landfill, and pledged to reduce our waste.  Then everyone helped sort the waste and clean up the sand pit.

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Meanwhile, third graders learned how human behaviors affect living things on Earth.  First, they learned how other animals change the environment.  They listened to a story about beavers, then acted as the beavers by building dams!

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They poured water in the “rivers” that they’d built and observed how their dams affected the flow of the water…

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Then imagined how this would affect the other plants and animals in the environment…

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And recorded what they learned from the activity in comic strips!

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We all agreed that, like beavers, humans can also change the environment.  We read the book, “Is this Panama?” by Jan Thornill, about a Wilson’s warbler making his first migratory journey to Panama…  17318573Then all of the students turned into Wilson’s warblers on their own migratory journeys!  They started in Canada…

IMG_2033 Then hopped their way to Panama!

IMG_2060We played several rounds.  After each round, human activity changed the environment, destroying some of the warbler’s stopover points.  Sidewalk squares marked with an “X” were stopover points that had been destroyed, so students could no longer land in those squares on their way to Panama.

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Our population of Wilson’s warblers slowly declined, until there were so few stopover points, no one was able to survive the journey!

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After playing the game, students recorded the results in their science notebooks.

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All K-3 students wrapped up the Earth Day unit by making Earth Day flags.

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Parents Jackie Fung and Raelynn Hickey generously donated their time to attach all 264 flags to string so we could display them.  Big thank you to both of them!  The flags look great in our garden!

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Kindergarteners continued their Earth Day celebration by releasing monarch butterflies!  Ms. Chiu-Sakamoto generously donated caterpillars from her garden.  The students observed the caterpillars as they turned into chrysalises, and finally, into butterflies!

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It was very exciting watching them fly away!

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One even stayed with us for several minutes.  Many students declared, “It’s because it likes us too much!”

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We celebrated the butterflies with a garden snack.  Students made “caterpillars” out of Cheerios, then stuck them to sorrel leaves with honey.

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After making the caterpillars they wrapped them up into chrysalises and ate them!

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4th and 5th graders were not excluded from the Earth Day festivities- they celebrated by making recycled paper!

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They pressed pulp (newspaper + water) into shapes…

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Then added flower petals for decoration. Some also added flower seeds with plans to plant their paper later!

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On April 22 (Earth Day!) we had a bike/roll/walk to school day (Congratulations to Ms. Chow’s class for winning the Golden Sneaker Award!)…

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And also announced the results from our Cool The Earth campaign.  Our students made 1,621 Earth-friendly pledges, saving 1,084,541 pounds of carbon!

While celebrating on April 22, one student asked, “Isn’t every day Earth Day?” Here at Alice Fong Yu, we definitely believe this is true! All year we’ve been learning ways to help protect our planet, with help from SF Environment.

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They presented two great assemblies (“Our Water” and “Food to Flowers”) and trained our compost monitors.

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Our compost monitors have set an example all year, and everyone has done a great job taking steps to protect our planet.

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Thank you to SF Environment for helping our school celebrate Earth Day every day!

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Bees + Flowers + Pollination = Honey!

We were fortunate to work with the Planet Bee Foundation again this year!

IMG_7340_MG_6591 copy     Their team taught several wonderful pollination lessons to our kindergarten, first, third and fifth graders. Kindergarten and first graders enjoyed observing a frame from our school’s bee hive…

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And had fun identifying the different parts of dead bees.

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Then they learned the basics of pollination through a fun game.

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Each student received a pipe cleaner bee, and searched the garden for flowers to pollinate.

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After finding a flower their bees were covered in pollen…

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Then they returned to their “bee hive” (egg carton) to deposit the pollen into cells.

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Second graders played a different pollination game from the wonderful “Garden at School” blog.  Ms. Lam and I wore flower signs around our necks with bags of “pollen” (orange or purple cotton balls) attached.  The student “bees” visited one flower for a sip of nectar (apple juice), then took some pollen  with them as they left.  Then they visited the other flower, where their pollen “rubbed off,” successfully pollinating both flowers!

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After acting out pollination through this game, the students recorded what they learned in a comic strip!

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Third and fifth graders also looked at the observation hive and learned more about the honey bee life cycle…

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While our middle school Green Club students extracted honey from the frames!  They scraped off the wax…

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Then strained the honey over the weekend…

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And finally, we put the honey in jars!  We had enough honey for every student to take one home (and then some!)  It was delicious!

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Big thank you to Planet Bee for all that they did for our school this year! If your school is interested in having a Planet Bee workshop or hosting a hive, apply here!

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