Sunday, April 17, 2016

What Are You Doing for Earth Week?

Happy Spring! I can finally say that as here in Michigan we actually have spring weather– hard to believe just a week ago we had ice and snow! What great weather we're going to have for Earth Week. Never heard of Earth Week? Well, Earth Day has lovely timing this year falling on Friday, so I am using the whole week to focus on ecology and nature, culminating on Earth Day Friday.

There are so many great Earth Day activities to find online that it is hard to narrow down the list to just the things you can do in one week. There is already a lot to focus on in the classroom with our district computer testing around the corner and several units left to teach. And I have a new student starting Monday– one with no English yet. Yep, I'll be busy... but not too busy to fit in some great science and share some easy ideas today. I think these will be just enough to go along with the teaching I'll do about caring for our earth. I am linking with Five for Friday, and Show and Tell Tuesday, and Small Victories, too, so more than just my regular readers find some ideas.

1.  I'll start the week by teaching the kids one of my favorite simple songs which very nicely launches our ecology discussion. I'll also put it in our pocket chart to be used as the week's poem, too. It's sung to the tune of "The More We Get Together."

Reduce Reuse Recycle
Recycle Recycle
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
It's easy to do.
'Cause your trash and my trash
Make up way too much trash
Reduce Reuse Recycle
It's easy to do.

2.  I always think it is important to do a little planting for Earth Day, and because I want fast results before summer break, growing grass is a good option. This year we are going to make caterpillars. I found the idea at Parent Map. You can click on the photo to go to the site.

This little creature is easy to make from an egg carton, soil, seed, and pipe cleaner. I might have the kids draw a face and little black dot feet along the bottom with Sharpies as caterpillars do have a face and many feet. I'm going to keep the grass caterpillar swarm... hmmm, swarming caterpillars is an odd notion, isn't it...  along the window ledge with some plastic shot glasses. No, the shots won't be for the kids, but for the grass. Over the years I've found that kids do a better job of watering their projects if they have just a small container to hold water– less overwatering and less mess. And they can do it every day when they first arrive as those little bits of soil will dry out fast. We're going to put together the caterpillars on Monday so there is a chance we will see some sprouting seeds by Earth Day, and if not, certainly by Monday of next week.

3.  Check out this great video of an activity that includes drawing, math, fine muscle practice, science, and even secret messages! It has very well done instruction that starts by showing how to draw a flower using a compass. You wouldn't have to use a compass but my guys will love that part. If you don't have any compasses you can borrow from upper el classrooms. Kids then color and cut out the flower– cutting has been a huge challenge this year for some of my littles. Very regular cutting activities incorporated into every week is paying off though ,and they are all getting it now. Then when those flowers land in water–Voila– they open. So simple but so neat. You can reuse them or even put in secret messages. I KNOW this will be a hit.

4.  I'm going to do a variation of this art activity.

We will use flattened circular coffee filters with blue and green bingo markers to approximate land and ocean. I haven't decided yet whether I'm going to paint the kids' hands black to stamp a hand print, or have them trace their hand on black construction paper and cut it out. Might depend on time this week as the hand stamp would take less time for the activity, but would involve me more. I've done these before both ways and they turn out really nice either way, especially if you put them on the window for the sun to shine through. The pledge is a good idea as an end of week activity to wrap-up our learning on ecology. You can click to see the SmileBox where I got these photos... if I could only remember to take photos of my own classroom when we are in action. I'm getting better at pulling out the camera but I still get too wrapped up as teacher to be a regular photographer.

5.  And no teaching is complete without BOOKS! Here are some I'll use this week.

This one is funny and my kiddos love Charlie and Lola.

I love this one– it lets kids know just how useful a tree is, not just to us, but to many creatures.

And of course we'll be reading The Lorax by Dr. Seuss.  I also have it on a DVD that we'll enjoy.

I've been saving this little word family writing project for this week. It comes from School Time Snippets. Click to see.

And for fun we'll go around as the Lorax with the help of these mustaches.

DH Jonathan drew these up for me. If you run them on cardstock you can tape them to a straw to "wear" them. Arby's and Taco Bell have clear straws... just sayin'.  Let the kids color them or run them on goldenrod. Click on the image to download yours.

One last tip- click on my science Pinterest Board if you'd like even more ideas.  There are lots for Earth Day suggestions, and all things science for that matter. Don't get lost or Pin-happy!

Now I send a lotta LOVE to Kacey at Doodle Bugs Teaching

And Stephanie at Forever in 5th Grade (Gosh, I love that little puppy dog mascot.)

And the ladies at Small Victories

for all their wonderful linky parties. So many good ideas to find and use. Just click on the images.

Hope you have a great week. Thanks for stopping by. See you next time!

p.s. And oh my gosh, I almost forgot the HATS! If you didn't see these Earth Day hats a few posts back, click to watch a video of how they are made.  I've been collecting bags all week. TTFN


  1. Great post packed full of awesome ideas Kathleen. But I must say your mini me looks just like you! Wow, that is awesome! So glad I found you!
    Teaching and Much Moore

    1. Hi Vicky. Glad you found something of use. And yes, my avitar is quite similar, but then it is my husband who is the artist... I told him I needed me, only cuter, and he delivered :) Thanks for stopping by! Kathleen

  2. Wow! I love all of your Earth Day ideas! Your kids are really going to enjoy this week. Thanks for linking up!

    Forever in Fifth Grade

    1. Two days in and we're having a fun week. Thank YOU for the linky. See you next month. Kathleen


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