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Moe
 
 
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Moe
 
 
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Earth Day: We need to make a difference!
Old 04-21-2006, 09:22 AM
 
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For years I have incorporated environmental issues into my 2nd grade curriculum. We discuss recycling, saving electricity, not littering.....

Yet, this spring we took our children on a trip to the Gulf Coast, and I found myself appalled at what little is actually being done to help preserve our environment! There was no recycling ANYWHERE in the area at which we stayed. Dumpsters were piled high with plastic bottles, aluminum cans, cardboard boxes, and more was coming every minute! Each morning the beachfront was littered with garbage and a few caring souls were out with their plastic bags trying to pick it up.

The highways were filled with 1000's of semi trucks, all spitting black smog out of their double-smokestacks. At restaurants, the amount of garbage/waste was incredible. At one McD's I asked for a spoon. The clerk handed me a plastic bag in which there was a napkin, wrapped in a plastic sleeve around a plastic spoon that was also in a plastic wrapper. YIKES!!!

As we drove past major cities like Chicago, my sons excitedly looked for the big buildings, only to find the view hazy from brown smog.

I arrived home from our vacation feeling very depressed about the way we are treating our beautiful land/air/water. It has motivated me to incorporate more environmental lessons into my curriculum. I hope my students will then take these good habits (recycling, etc.) home to share with their families.

WHAT ARE OTHER SCHOOLS/COMMUNITIES DOING TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE? WHAT IS WORKING? WHAT IS NOT? HOW CAN WE HELP THE FUTURE OF OUR ENVIRONMENT BEFORE IT'S TOO LATE? Your input is MUCH appreciated!!!


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Suezie Suezie is offline
 
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Destination Conservation
Old 04-21-2006, 10:05 AM
 
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Destination Conservation is one of the programs that our school uses. Google it for many ideas.

You could also continue to encourage your students to look for solutions to some of the things you experienced:

No place to recycle while on holidays? Bring it home with you and use your local depot...

Be an environmental hero and pick up the garbage on the beach...

Write a letter to McD saying how you understand the need to use sanitary procedures but giving suggestions on avoiding the excess plastic around spoons. Choose to write to other companies that seem to use too much plastic/non recyclable material to wrap their products (I'm thinking of some of the Polly Fashion sets that my daughter has recieved)

Don't just have a paper recycling bin in your classroom, have a "reuse" bin for those pieces of paper that have little on them. We use these scraps to write reminder notes, doing math scratch work on, book marks, etc.

When a student asks to throw away an old assignment, juice box, shoebox, etc, I no longer say "sure", I say "put it in the correct bin"

Give them a visual...my grade 5/6 students like this one.... imagine Bambi, Thumper and the rest of their friends with sad faces standing amongst a whole bunch of tree stumps... let's keep Bambi happy!!

Discuss/draw alternate transportation that they could use as adults. Plant the seed now.

Brainstorm ways that "garbage" can be reused.

Look at new technology -- how about those new lightbulbs --might be more expensive but last so much longer --- less waste when thrown away.

Explore the opportunities for recycling in your area (I used the internet, yellow pages, newspaper features, word of mouth). We now know where to recycle old paint, paper, cardboard, milk containers, juice boxes, pop cans/liquor containers, tin cans, old computers/T.V. sets/electronic components, car batteries, regular batteries, clothing, unwanted household items, toys, garden waste, natural Christmas trees, etc.

Teach "respect for the environment", look at native legends in many cultures that emphasize this type of respect.

Do some "Did you know" facts (thinking of all of the Everest expeditions and how there are specific ones just for cleaning up all of the junk left behind by some of the climbers -- oxygen tanks, old supplies, etc)

This can't happen all at once but it's a lifelong topic for the students.
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Thank you!!
Old 04-21-2006, 11:58 AM
 
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What great ideas! It motivates me to know that there are others out there who care. Keep it up!!!
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Spreadin' some reyclable luv!
Old 04-22-2006, 08:41 AM
 
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Hi Moe,

Suezie has some great ideas. As an extension, how about trying to reach out to the community in the areas that you visited and contact some schools in the area to explain what you saw and "wonder" what they are doing to address these issues.

Perhaps your class can engage in letter writing (even pen-pal stuff) with these schools and work as an online collective to clean up the place. Wonder if this sort of clean-up effort can be implemented at a national level... I must think about it.

I find the blatant disregard for the earth troubling too, and came to the conclusion that I had to pipe up a little bit to get things done. What's the worse that could happen? You may even be able to trade some lesson plans in the process.

Good luck. I'm rootin' for ya!
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Old 04-22-2006, 11:44 AM
 
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One of the teachers in our school booked numerous fieldtrips to places that are related to this issue-- water treatment plant, solar house, recycling depot, natural parks.

The most eye-opening was the fieldtrip to the landfill (we used to call it the "garbage dump"). The kids saw all of the things that people throw away and how it goes into the land --- something they had no idea about when asked "Where does the garbage go after you throw it in the trash bag and carry it to the curb?"

Keep this issue on the front burner -- Bambi would be proud!!


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Good for you!
Old 04-22-2006, 04:54 PM
 
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We need more teachers like you, and the general public needs to wake up and start caring more about the environment. I think most people will start doing something about our environmental problems when, and only when, it becomes an expense.

For the past sixteen years, I've been trying to encourage people to reuse and recycle materials to save landfill space by making art from solid waste. As a teacher, I often had to use common, household trash as art materials when I didn't have money to buy conventional supplies.

Ten years ago I expanded "my classroom" when I launched The Imagination Factory on the Internet. Some of the activities include drawing, painting, sculpture, collage, papier-mâché, marbling and crafts, and a special section for holiday art and crafts is featured.

A Trash Matcher helps visitors find appropriate art activities for the solid waste they have available, and the Project Matcher is designed to match many of the site's activities with 4-H projects and those carried out for school social studies and science fairs.

There are numerous links to other art and environmental sites in the Research and Development Department, and Trashasaurus Rex, a giant dinosaur made of solid waste, heads the site's Public Relations Department If you live in North Carolina, you can see the beast at the Rocky Mount Children's Museum.

You will most likely find the Education Department helpful, as it features a discussion of landfills, and it's linked to Trash a Pizza! The activity shows visitors how to make a papier-mâché model of a pizza with solid waste toppings. The pizza is divided into nine segments or categories, and the toppings or trash represent the composition of American landfills.

You can also learn how to make your own Trashasaurus Rex or a smaller version of one, and the America the Beautiful? activity is a good project to do with a large group of students. See the Research Department for many links to other environmental sites. URL address: http://www.kid-at-art.com/. Happy Earth Day!
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Old 04-22-2006, 05:18 PM
 
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Thanks Marilyn for the ideas

I've been teaching 20 years and would you believe this was a favourite topic when I was a child in grade 5. My friends and I made a "Don't Litter" movie that year. We had a great teacher that made us feel very powerful about what kids could do to respect our world and environment. I wonder where he is now???

Thanks for a reminder of your website -- I actually had it bookmarked but forgot about it.
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