Each week I facilitate the creation of a community agreement with my group of students. In this particular Communi-Tea lesson, students discuss what community means to them and how they can contribute to our team that week. Students write down a personal skill or characteristic that they identify with on the agreement and later an actionable way to contribute to the community. The final Communi-Tea agreement is a living document that can be adapted throughout your time with your students as the group’s needs change!
The students I have worked with are often drawn to the garden naturally — whether it’s seeing a herb they are familiar with or just the lure of being able to harvest food, the garden is fertile grounds for experiential education. Furthermore, gardens are a great way to support discussions on what it means to be a part of a community. When the students contribute their garden herbs to the pitcher of water it clearly symbolizes group participation. This type of lesson is versatile and is also a great way to gather students together around a table to discuss how they are a part of a community. I will be interested in carrying this idea of gardens as sites of community building with me as I continue to work within garden classrooms.
Communi-Tea Agreement Lesson
Supplies : a large piece of paper that can be decorated with a drawn tea cup for each student and a large tea-pot, colorful markers, pitcher of hot water, cups, and garden herbs.
Ask each student to think about one characteristic or skill that they identify themselves with. Once everyone has contributed, have students gather herbs in their harvest baskets (one cupped hand’s worth of herbs) from the garden to create their very own tea. Ask students to add their herbs one at a time, and as they add their herbs to the Communi-Tea they should say how they are going to contribute to the community during the week. Be sure you add what they say (action) to the tea-pot in the Communi-Tea poster, and their individual characteristic or skill to the drawn tea cups.
Adaptation of the Community Agreement Lesson as found on the IW Wiki http://wiki.islandwood.org/index.php?title=Community_Agreement