Friday, October 16, 2009

Be Kind to Our Earth

Be Kind to Our Earth

“You shall not pollute the land in which you live”
Numbers 35:33

It is back to school time and that means time to set up the classroom, and welcome a new class of students. One of the most popular centers in my classroom is “The Collection Station.” It is bubbling with an assortment of materials that came from the student’s homes during a 2 day lesson called “Be Kind to Our Earth.”

At the beginning of each year I speak with the students about “Being Kind to Our Earth” and what that means to them. The majority of them will respond by saying they recycle and they don’t litter.

I would like to guide you through the 2 day lesson that I do with the students to set up a “Collection Station” that can be used all year long while at the same time teaching the students how to be good stewards of our earth every day.

There are several different books to bring out the curiosity and wonder in the students to help them understand the concept of collecting the items for their “Collection Station.”

Here are a few of my favorites:

Ø I Like Things by Margaret Hillert
Ø The Treasures of Trash by Linda Mandel and Hedi Mandel
Ø Hannah’s Collections by Marthe Jocelyn
Ø Michael Recycle by Ellie Bethel

After reading one of the stories give each student a lunch sized paper bag with their name on it. Explain to the students that they will be taking the bags home to collect their treasures in. These will be treasures that can be donated and used in the “Collection Station.”

On each bag there will be the following poem attached to it:

“I look. I search. I hope to see something that appeals to me. Something unique or maybe not, buttons, milk caps, straws the lot. A blue-green shape just caught my eye; I don’t think I can pass it by. Whatever it is, it makes me glad, and so, I’ll put it in my bag!” Ruth Harris, teacher

A letter can also be sent home with each student explaining to their parents about the kinds of items you will be collecting.

Here is a short list of some items you can include:

Broken Jewelry
Old Keys
Bottle Caps
Clear containers

In the letter or attached to the list of suggested items always include a safety memo like this:

Safety Note:
Please use great care and good judgment when collecting materials with your child. Carefully determine that materials are clean and not sharp, toxic or potentially harmful before allowing your child to put them in their bag.

The following day as the students come to class have a designated table for them to display their bags on. (Have a couple of extra bags filled with treasures for the students that may have forgotten theirs.)

At circle time have each student bring their bag to the circle for the “Grand Opening” of the bags.

One at a time ask each student to empty their bag into a big pile in the center of the circle.

These will be the treasures to start your “Collection Station.”

Provide clear containers for the students and have them sort the treasures into like items. In the classroom have 2 or 3 low shelves for the students to display the materials on. Through the year the students and classroom can replenish the “Collection Station” with materials that are brought in from home or found at school. You can also add items to help with the creation process like, Liquid Watercolor, Biocolor, crayons, markers, glue, pom poms, pipe cleaners, craft sticks and other items they may ask for.

Have fun with this lesson, I know I always do.

Peace and Joy,

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