Sunday, April 01, 2018

Earth Day's in 3 Weeks - No Foolin'! 4/1/18

Earth Day is on April 22nd every year. It's always been one of the basic goals of the Earth Day Groceries Project to spread and hammer home that fact.

When my third graders visited all the classrooms in the school to explain the project and hand out classroom bags, they always talked about this. But after just a few years, they didn't need to even mention it anymore - everybody in our school knew Earth Day was April 22nd.

Except the Kindergartners. So, the lucky kids who got to speak with those little ones knew they had a little extra to talk about, along with the added responsibility of explaining the Project for the first time, to kids who knew nothing about it.
Explaining the Project to a Kindergarten class, 2007
It wasn't easy for my 8 and 9 year olds to walk into a classroom, get up in front of a class, and talk for 10-15 minutes. In fact, for most of them, it was pretty scary. There were all those smarty pants 5th graders, for instance. And they had to take - and answer - questions. So we practiced public speaking in our own classroom,in front of their classmates.

For two days they practiced, and then there were two very chaotic days when they went out to speak with classrooms and deliver bags. It was a powerful learning experience. Here's what a speaking schedule looked like:
Classroom speaking schedule. Yes, we had a chalkboard.

When a whole school participates, there is an excitement in the air. Some schools offer contests of one sort or another, usually around creative and beautiful artwork. Some schools literally cover the walls with decorated bags before returning them to the store.
Navarre, Florida, 2011

Some schools make an event out of delivering the bags to their store - a great experience for everyone:
Meeting the manager, Smith Renaissance School of the Arts at King Soopers grocery store, Denver, CO, 2010
There are many more ways to create meaningful learning opportunities. If you had special "twists" you added to the Project in your school, please feel free to share with others - by either leaving a comment here, or on our Facebook Page.

I hope your school or organization can join in this year - April 22nd!. Happy Earth Day!

Mark Ahlnessfounder  - The Earth Day Groceries Project

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