Monday, April 4, 2016

Earth Day

There are so many fun things to learn and do to help celebrate our world and get ready for Earth Day (April 22, this year.)   The best part is that you can do little bits here and there, and before you know it, your kids have learned a lot.  This is the time of year that I like to teach about trees, clouds, weather, and making the earth a better place.  I put ALL of my posts about these things together, here in one place, in case you want some fun ideas and activities to do with your class.

My Earth Day Prezi  is available FREE at my TPT store . We love using parts of this each day. 

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

Each year for Earth Day, my class goes 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  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 has a glove on one hand and a bag in the other. They know 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 have a wonderful time! 
When we go on this adventure, I always like to have another class with us, so that we have two adults.  The kids are so well behaved because they love going outside and feeling grown-up, realizing  that they can make a difference. I still have children come back from years past and tell me that they remember our Earth Day Garbage Pick Up! 

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

Another fun outside activity for Earth Day is studying trees.

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 .
Earth Day - A Tree is Nice in All Seasons {Freebie}
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. 

After we read The Giving Tree and talk about it, the children finish this picture and design a tree house in the tree. 


I just made a new version of this paper, as well as some other tree related papers.  If you would like  copy, just click on the picture below.
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 go outside and look for our own log hotels.  We find lots of them! It is amazing once you start looking for something, how many you find.  We find the insect, holes, fungi, everything the book talked about.  (Except the snake, thank goodness!)

We also collect some interesting things to take inside to our investigation trays to study with our magnifying glasses.  Last year, 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 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 what this saying means.   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. (This is another paper in the little packet that I remade.) Here are some 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! 

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. 

Another favorite activity for spring to help the children enjoy our earth is our Nature Treasure Hunt.  Since I live in Upstate NY, I usually wait to do our Nature Treasure Hunt until May, when the weather is nicer. 

I found some wonderful treasure hunts online to share with you!

This one is from The Bird Feed NYC.
Gwhizteacher shared this one.
I liked this one from No Wooden Spoons.

This is our Nature Treasure Hunt that I remade.  Now that I have found some of these other ones, I may be using one of them this year!  If you would like a copy of mine, just click on the picture below.
I love the way Crafting-Crazy put the picture hunt right on the front of each bag with handles.  That way the children can put their treasure right into the bag.

One thing I always do is staple a line of stickers onto the Treasure Hunt paper for each child.  That way, the child can mark what was found with a sticker, and not have to keep track of a pencil.  I just staple all of it to a brown lunch bag.
I almost forgot the other essential item for this Treasure Hunt:
(After we meet back together and share our treasures, we like to enjoy a freezer pop.)
Before we head out, we meet on the rug in the classroom to read over what we will be looking for outside.  We discuss different things we could find for each treasure, and then hope we can find them!

I pair everyone up. We review our rules, and we are off.

Just what she hoped for for "something soft!"

The were so focused on the goal- nobody even messed with those PUDDLES! YAY!
 Heading back to share!

A more delicious "treasure!"

I also love to introduce my children to Miss Rumphius right before  Earth Day.

This is such a thoughtfully written book that lets children begin thinking of different ways they can make the world more beautiful. After we read the story, I have the children retell it. We talk about the three things Alice wanted to do in her life : 1)  travel to far away places, 2) live by the sea, and 3) make the world more beautiful. We discuss why it is so important for each of us to do something to make the world more beautiful.  I found some good discussion questions here for the story.  (The questions are written for 8-11 year olds, but some are perfect for 'turn and talks' and class discussions. 

The children are always anxious to write about how they can each make the world more beautiful. I loved some of the answers!
(I will make heart shaped pools.)

  (Hunter LOVES the color melon pink- so he is going to paint all the roads! :)

 And finally...  How could that smile not make the world a better place? 

Next we decorate our planting cups with lupines.  I show them how to make one dot, then two, three, four, and five.

Then, we plant our lupine seeds!
This year, we planted our lupine seeds in these little pots so they will be ready to give for Mother's Day.

We also made a poster for our room to help us remember what we need to do!

I want to share a couple posts that I wrote at my blog with you.  Each one has TONS of ideas and freebies, and would be  great additions to Earth Day lessons!

Whether the weather be fine,
Or whether the weather be not,
Whether the weather be cold,
Or whether the weather be hot,
We'll weather the weather
Whatever the weather,
Whether we like it or not!
Author: unknown

I can't wait to have my children each make a marbled earth this year!

Teaching with TLC shows how to make them.  They look easy to do- with only shaving cream and blue and green paint. 
Here are some FABULOUS Earth Day freebies that I found at TPT and wanted to share with you.  ENJOY!  (And leave some wonderful feedback if you download any of these items!)

Rachelle Smith shared a fabulous Earth Day Mini Unit!
Earth Day Mini-Unit {Freebie}Earth Day Mini-Unit {Freebie}Earth Day Mini-Unit {Freebie}
Kaleigh's Klassroom shared this great packet, with some fun True/False questions that make great conversation starters.

Earth Day Freebies!Earth Day Freebies!Earth Day Freebies!

Educational Creations has a packet that includes many cute activities in it for Earth Day, including a cute song, earth number cards, and coloring sheets!
Earth Day

I love Phyllis Sprangle's Earth Day Packet!  The children can design a T shirt and do several different writing activities.
Earth Day ActionsEarth Day Actions

Angelia Grimes Graeme has an adorable Earth Day Sight Word Game!
Earth Day Sight Word Game Freebie!Earth Day Sight Word Game Freebie!Earth Day Sight Word Game Freebie!Earth Day Sight Word Game Freebie!
Grade School Giggles has a cute Writing Craftivity!
Earth Day Writing "Craftivity"
Stephany Dillon has a cute Earth Day Sentence Editing Activity.

Earth Day Sentence Editing FreebieEarth Day Sentence Editing FreebieEarth Day Sentence Editing Freebie

These coloring pages from Mrs. Wheeler are a fun activity for Earth Day.
Earth Day Coloring PagesEarth Day Coloring PagesEarth Day Coloring Pages
The Daily Alphabet has a wonderful emergent reader for Earth Day.
Earth Day: The World We Live In Emergent ReaderEarth Day: The World We Live In Emergent Reader
Erin Royal Baloo has a color word emergent reader which features different colored recycle bins!
Earth Day Color BookletsEarth Day Color BookletsEarth Day Color Booklets

KidSparkz shared a cute Emergent Reader for Earth Day.
Earth Day FREE
Over the MoonBow has a fun number sequencing game using numbers to thirty.
Earth Day Squeeze Number Game

Here is some ten frames practice with teen numbers from Amy Swan!
Earth Day Teen Frame (10 Frame) math center/station FREEBIE!!Earth Day Teen Frame (10 Frame) math center/station FREEBIE!!Earth Day Teen Frame (10 Frame) math center/station FREEBIE!!

Education to the Core shared this great Free Mini Book.

Earth Day
These Earth Day Certificates of Recognition from Growing Smart Readers will be a HUGE hit in my class!
Earth Day Certificate of Recognition-Free!Earth Day Certificate of Recognition-Free!Earth Day Certificate of Recognition-Free!

 Cassidy Kohler has a cute Earth Day Rhyming Word Families freebie.
Earth Day Rhyming Word Families
Danielle Mastandrea shared this great Writing, Printables, and Headband packet.
Earth Day Freebie- Includes Writing Printables & HeadbandEarth Day Freebie- Includes Writing Printables & HeadbandEarth Day Freebie- Includes Writing Printables & Headband

I love these Fold and Snip Books  from A Teachable Teacher.

Earth Day Free 
Low Cost Science shared an Earth Day Spot the Difference Activity. My kids will love this!

 Earth Day Spot the Differences

Little Miss Kindergarten has a sweet Reduce, Reuse, Recycle Poem at her TPT store.

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle Poem

Lindsay Coffin shared a sweet Class Book: My Favorite Thing to Do Outside.
Class Book: My Favorite Thing to Do OutsideClass Book: My Favorite Thing to Do OutsideClass Book: My Favorite Thing to Do Outside

I hope you found some fun Earth Day activities to do with your children!  Spring is such a wonderful time to teach the children to love and take care of our earth. 

Thank you for stopping by!

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