Sunday, April 21, 2013

Happy Earth Day! Celebrating Trees

Some years to celebrate Earth Day, my class has gone outside with another class  to "make the world more beautiful" by picking  up trash around our school. 

We have nice trails behind our school, and in the spring, they can use a good cleaning.  Each year I would think, "Oh I hope there is enough garbage for everyone to be able to pick some up."  HA! Unfortunately I never had to worry!

Each child had a glove on one hand and a bag in the other. They knew our rules well:  Only touch garbage with the gloved hand. Never pick up glass. Stay with a buddy. Always be able to see  me... And, we always had a wonderful time!  Here is a picture of my friend Chelsea, who taught 1st grade at the time, leading the way!

When we go on this adventure, it is always good to have another class with us, so that we have two adults.  The kids are so well behaved because they love going outside and feel grown-up,  realizing  that they can make a difference! I still have children come back and tell me that they remember our Earth Day Garbage Pick Up! 

We would finish up by putting all of our small bags into huge bags to see what collected.

This past week, we have been studying trees, so we took a trip outside for a different reason!

I love studying trees with my class.  I have a special place in my heart for trees, because growing up, my dad owned a sawmill.  He knew everything about every tree, and we loved playing in the sawdust pile and visiting the mill.  When my children were small, one of my favorite memories is hiking in the woods with my parents, while my dad taught my kids all about different trees.  

These are some of my favorite books to read for our tree unit:

Here is a great freebie from Teach With Laughter to go with A Tree is Nice . It is a mini book  where students will print the name of one of the four seasons on each page, write about what they like about a tree during the season and illustrate the pages.  Thank you for this!  :)

After we read The Giving Tree and talk about it, the children finish this picture and design a tree house in the tree, and then write a sentence about it on the back of the paper.

But my FAVORITE tree book  is:

In case you aren't familiar with the book, it is a wonderful story about an oak tree that falls in the woods and becomes a log. Animals and plants move in until the log decays and a new tree starts to grow.  It is another one of our FAVORITE circle stories!  :)

Right after we read and discuss this book, we get outside and look for our own log hotels!  We found lots of them! It is amazing once you start looking for something, how many you find!  We saw the insect, holes, fungi, everything the book talked about!  (Except the snake, thank goodness!!!)

We also collected some interesting things to take inside to our investigation trays to study with our magnifying glasses.  We were lucky to find a slice of a small tree trunk so we could really study the lines and even try to count them.

Another similar book that has beautiful illustrations is A Log's Life by Wendy Pfeffer. This is a fun follow-up book to read to review looking for those log hotels. 

I have always loved the saying, "The best time to plant a tree is twenty years ago. The second best time is now. "  We talk about this saying and I try to explain to the children that they  can't go back and plant a tree twenty year ago so it is a good size today, but if they plant a tree this year, when they grow up, the tree will be grown up, too.  Here are some pictures of their illustrations of this saying:

I like the tiny little sprout she drew in the lower left corner to show it starting to grow. 

I like how he drew the water cycle in this one!  :)  Look at that evaporation going up!  YAY!

I love the simplicity of this one where she is just dropping her tree seed, but yet she added so much detail in her hat. This one just made me smile.  :)

My Earth Day Prezi  is available at my TPT store for free! 

I have put together Earth Day  songs, games, activites, some nice clips from Sid the Science Kid about trees , as well as The Lorax movie by Dr. Seuss.  I hope you enjoy it!

Thank you for visiting! 
Happy Earth Day!


  1. I am so glad that you were able to use my Tree is Nice activity! Welcome to blogland - I look forward to following you :)
    Teach With Laughter

  2. Thank you, Laureen! :) I'm so glad to "meet" you!


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