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Online teacher builds garden for students

Published: Oct. 2, 2020 at 9:28 AM EDT
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LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - In this edition of Schools Rule, WILX News 10 is highlighting an online teacher who is making sure her students get some real world experience.

Hannah Decker is a Special Education Teacher at Michigan Connections Academy, an online virtual public charter school.

She teachers grades 11 and 12 and is working on a special project for her students right in her own backyard.

“I teach students who are on the alternative track so a lot of the things I do with them are on the life-skills,” said Decker. “One of the things we like to do is following a recipe and making meals.”

So how can you do that while teaching online?

“I thought, what better way than to have a garden of my own where we can use the vegetables from the garden in our recipes and it took off and bloomed from there,” explained Decker.

She just started working on her backyard garden so nothing is planted yet.

“I’ve always wanted to do this but I’ve never had the space. I’ve always wanted to own a home and now I have more space to do that,” Decker explained.

Decker says she will start planting in the spring, but in the meantime, she says students can work on their math skills by studying the garden’s perimeter, practice reading comprehension by studying seeds and veggies and study science by looking at what veggies will grow in their class garden.

“They’re still going to be actively involved even though they can’t be here with me,” Decker explained about her student’s involvement.

She says it is all a labor of love.

“A lot of them are so excited, they’re already talking about different vegetables that they like and so I’m really excited to work with them and get them excited about school,” said Decker. “I’m going to involve them in the process. They can’t be here with me to actually grow the plants but we’re going to work in live lessons and they’re going to be involved.”

As of the start of the 2020-2021 school year, Decker has 16 students from across the state. She says once their vegetables are harvested they will bring them inside for some ‘hands on’ cooking lessons.

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