It’s been awhile since I’ve done a Top 10 post, but with Earth Day coming on April 22nd, I thought it was time to get back into the tradition. So, here are 10 ways you can celebrate Earth Day with your students:
1.) Watch Magic School Bus – So many of the Magic School Bus movies focus on taking care of the earth, but there are two in particular that I love for Earth Day. One is the Holiday Special and the other is In The Rainforest. My son has them both on one DVD, which I will be borrowing for my students on Earth Day! They give you a great, kid friendly way to look at Earth Day themes – including recycling and protecting the rainforest.
2.) Take a Trip to the Trash – Our society today has a habit of “hiding” the trash, and so kids don’t generally know what happens after they put the trash into the can. Take a field trip to a landfill or a recycling center so kids can learn first hand where the trash goes. Seeing all of the trash together can be a good realization for kids who only see their one little bag as not a big deal.
3.) Get involved in a local Earth Day project – Most communities host activities on, or around Earth Day to “beautify” the earth. Get your class involved in picking up trash or planting trees so that they can get their hands into Earth Day.
4.) Connect with other schools online - Get your class involved in an online project where they can work with other schools around the globe to recognize that protecting the Earth is everyone’s responsibility. Global Teaching Connect is hosting a Getting Rid of Bags collaborative project that you might want to check out.
5.) Read the Great Kapok Tree – If you’ve never read this book – it’s great for talking about the interdependent web of life in the rainforest, and why it is so important to not cut down trees in the rainforest. Mandy Neal of Cooperative Learning has a great freebie to go with this book, that you can read about HERE.
6.) Make do this,not that posters – Talk about the things we should do and the things we shouldn’t do, then let your students create Do This, Not That posters where your students promote good habits for taking care of the earth. Have students hang their posters in the hallway to share what they have learned with others.
7.) Persuade others to act green – Earth day is a great time to work on persuasive writing. Choose a topic – carpooling, bringing cloth grocery bags, taking public transportation, recycling, even something as using reusable napkins could be a great topic for a persuasive writing piece.
8.) Look at Living Locally – If you haven’t read Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver – it’s completely worth the read (adult read, not a kid’s book!). In this book, she talks about living locally – eating food and buying products from within a 50 – 100 mile radius of where you live. This concept has not been explored fully with kids, but it’s a great seed to plant, as a way to reduce oil expenditure (trucks burn a lot of gas when they move those oranges from California to New York). A trip to a local farmer’s market would be a great addition to this type of topic.
9.) Watch Captain Planet – Do you remember Captain Planet? It was a great cartoon series where superheros saved the earth. Pull out this great series to get your kids involved in Earth Day. I can’t find them on DVD – but Amazon has VHS and you can find them on YouTube.
10.) Go Paperless – During Earth Day, it’s a great time to model paperless activities – such as using your blog to submit homework, creating digital presentations instead of making posters, sending E-mails over letters, and doing E-Quizzes instead of written tests. Grab an E-Quiz for Ecology from my TPT store.