Language Arts

Writing in the Garden

Teachers in Grades K-6 are encouraged to consider these “seed” writing topics that can be used “as is” or may be adjusted to fit your students’ writing needs. After viewing these topics, you are encouraged to add your own activities to this site so that we can all take advantage of them!


Daniel Loughran

Supervisor of Curriculum and Instruction

Atlantic Highlands and Highlands Elementary Schools




Use a combination of drawing, dictating, and writing to compose informative / explanatory texts in which they name what they are writing about and supply some information about the topic.


Writing Activity:Tell Me Your Favorite (Using the Senses)

Tell me your favorite part of visiting the garden today.  Was it something you saw? Was it something you heard?  Did you smell something that you liked? Did you touch something in the garden you liked?  Was there something you tasted today?  Use your senses to tell me what you liked best about visiting the garden today.



First Grade

Write narratives in which they recount two or more appropriately sequenced events, include some details regarding what happened, use temporal words to signal event order, and provide some sense of closure.


Writing Activity:Garden Narrative

When we go into the garden today, we are going to do several things, including paying attention to details, measuring things, touching things, and listening to a brief explanation from one of our volunteers about how roots form.  I am going to ask you to keep track of everything you do in the garden today in your Garden Journal, because when we return you are going to write a story that describes what you did, using sequence words such as first, second, third, and last.


Second Grade

With guidance and support from adults, use a variety of digital tools to produce and publish writing, including in collaboration with peers.


Writing Activity:Garden Blog

Today, you and your partner are going to work together to add an entry in our Garden Blog.  “Blog” is a shortened word for “Web Log,” and we are going to use our Garden Journals today to take notes that can be used in our Blog entry when we go to the computer lab after lunch. Make sure you record two or three interesting observations that you and your partner can write about when we are in the lab!



Third Grade

Use linking words and phrases (e.g., becausethereforesincefor example) to connect opinion and reasons.


Writing Activity:Garden Grammar

Grammar is everywhere!  And it is important to consider how our everyday experiences can help us learn grammar!  Today, while we are in the garden, I want you to remember what we’ve learned about “linking verbs” this week.  With your partner in your Garden Journal compose a paragraph about something related to what we observed in the garden today, using at least THREE linking verbs in the paragraph. Be sure to underline the linking verbs in your paragraph.



Fourth Grade

Conduct short research projects that build knowledge through investigation of different aspects of a topic.


Writing Activity:Vegetable Venn Diagram

While visiting the garden today, make two lists: “Vegetables” and “Other Foods.”  Using the facts you’ve learned from your discussion in the garden today about various characteristics or qualities associated with vegetables (such as their nutritional value, colors, tastes, sizes, etc.) compare and contrast these same characteristics or qualities to those of other foods you eat.  How are vegetables “like” the other foods you eat?  How are vegetables “unlike” these foods?   What qualities do these foods share? After creating your Venn diagram, compose a paragraph in your garden journal that discusses how vegetables compare with other foods you eat. If necessary, do some informal research about the qualities of vegetables and other foods that you did not consider today, and then add this research to your diagram.


Fifth Grade

With some guidance and support from adults, use technology, including the Internet, to produce and publish writing as well as to interact and collaborate with others; demonstrate sufficient command of keyboarding skills to type a minimum of two pages in a single sitting.


Writing Activity:The Tiger “Patch”

Using your imagination, collaborate with a partner to write one or two short articles about events that have taken place recently in the learning garden.  Conduct interviews with classmates, teachers, and garden volunteers to get “the scoop” on new and exciting lessons that have been taking place.  Once you’ve gathered your information, publish your articles in a visually attractive online news journal that “tells the story” of the Tiger Patch.



Sixth Grade

Engage and orient the reader by establishing a context and introducing a narrator and/or characters; organize an event sequence that unfolds naturally and logically.


Writing Activity:The Mystery of the Purloined Pepper

Using the skills we’ve been developing in our writing fiction unit, develop a mystery that uses the Tiger Patch – or another interesting garden – as a backdrop.  In your story, be sure to have the garden play a pivotal role in the circumstances that lead to the crime, and perhaps use your knowledge about vegetables, organisms, or gardens in general to help your detective find clues and solve the crime!  For inspiration and guidance, check out any number of Agatha Christie’s novels: she routinely used gardens in her prodigious collection of mystery narratives.