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VALLEY FOCUS | Granada Hills

Garden Generates Learning Experience

June 13, 1998|TOM SCHULTZ

By the time students released celebratory balloons Friday to dedicate a new "Garden of Dreams" at Granada Elementary School, cucumbers, tomatoes, lettuce and an assortment of other vegetables they planted had taken root and begun to pop through the soil.

The brainchild of third-grade teacher Mark Ellis and second-grade teacher Barbara Winters, the garden area--tucked into a corner of the Tribune Street campus--also boasted sunflowers, their stalks awaiting flowers, and more than 60 beaming students and parents.

"This area was just flat and there were weeds," Ellis said. "It hadn't been worked as a garden for seven or eight years."

About 40 students spent the spring preparing the garden, comprising 12 4-by-8-foot planted boxes, while learning about nutrition, digestion and how plants and animals symbiotically support life, Ellis said.

Parents and the California Landscape Contractors Assn. provided supplies and labor to aid the effort, which most of the students called a great way to learn and have fun.

Eight-year-old Dave Ventura, a third-grader, was looking forward to the cucumbers and watermelon. "They taste good."

But 9-year-old Max Breaux said the prospect of spinach had him a bit worried.

"I don't like it," Max said. "Don't want to eat it."

Ellis coordinated the filming of a video about the project, which received a "special recognition" award from the California State Media and Multi-Media Festival, competing with entries from across the state, Ellis said.

Students also will accept a Video in the Classroom Award today in an annual event sponsored by the Los Angeles Unified School District and KLCS-TV Channel 58, Ellis said.

"This year I learned that making a movie isn't easy," said third-grader Nillie De Grakovac, 8, "but it sure is fun."

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