WOW! What a week of great Earth Week activity! I can honestly tell you that I was wore out by the end of the week, I would imagine some of your kids were too. But we had a great time. I took a large amount of photos this week, so please jump over to the Gallery tab to see them all. I will put a handful into this post for you to enjoy.
The week started with me taking the fourth graders to the Earth Week kick-off assembly. We followed that up by reading the Earth Week pledge and all determining something we could do this week (and hopefully forever) to keep the earth as clean and healthy for everyone as possible. It really starts with each one of us. So I then took the kids to a garden bed with budding trees and blooming daffodils. They all drew a picture of what it looked like. Then we each put a piece of trash, such as notebooks, pencils, gloves, etc. into the bed and drew it again. We all noticed very quickly that this completely changed the look of a beautiful garden. We also had lunch outside, played capture the flag in PE, and cleaned up our classroom garden bed. So it was a busy start to Earth Week.
Tuesday we enjoyed the company of our book buddies from Clearview Elementary in Waukegan. It was clear that some of these kids don’t get to do the types of things our kids do at PCCS. So it was wonderful to see out students being natural leaders and working with these 2nd graders. We took them on a scavenger hut around the campus, built fairy houses, formed a chain to pass water from one bucket to another, planted sunflower seed, and played with them on our fun playground. We love for students from other schools to see how we do things at PCCS!
Wednesday was early release, so we didn’t have quite as much time, but we made the most of what we had. The focus was on invasive species that day. So we all went outside and pulled garlic mustard from the hill right next to the playground. The kids seemed to really like this activity, especially once we made it into a competition! We had kids finding and pulling it everywhere. Later in the week when we were hiking the kids were able to identify it elsewhere too, which was neat to see!
Thursday was a really fun field trip to Hastings Lake Forest Preserve in Lindenhurst. It is a nice looped path with a beautiful and large playground, plus an enclosed (at least this time of year) shelter with very nice bathrooms. There was nothing to complain about at this location. We had great weather and a whole lot of fun. I took our class around to 4 stations manned by each classroom teacher. So we started with looking for bugs, insects, birds, or reptiles by some fallen trees. We saw so much, rolly pollies, millipedes, spiders, ants, and even a blue-spotted salamander! We then went to a station to draw pictures, but you had to draw three pictures of the same thing, but moving closer for each one. It was called Zoom, Zoom, Zoom, and it was really fun. After that, we traveled to a station to look at animal houses. Here we saw frogs, red-winged black birds, geese, a very territorial swan, baby turtles and even a muskrat. This was a great experience for everyone. Finally, we moved to the water and did an exercise demonstrating how much drinkable water we really have on planet earth. Hopefully the kids took away the fact that it is a very precious resource that we should not be wasting.
We then ate lunch and played on the playground before embarking on a very fast-paced walk around the entire lake. We had 45 minutes to complete this task and although some kids and teachers had to turn back because they didn’t think they would make it in time, I and about 20 kids pushed forward to make it around the lake. I think we all had a blast, but were very tired once we got on the bus for the ride back to school. All in all, it was a spectacular field trip that the entire 3/4th grade band of teachers put together.
Friday saw the teachers completely exhausted, but we knew we could get through one more day. We had both Spanish and music on Friday and we went back to the gym to watch the closing ceremony for Earth Week. They had put together a great slideshow of a bunch of pictures from all the classes throughout the week. It was so cool to see that every single class was able to get out and learn and have fun outside. We also took the kids on a hike around campus to learn about our three alternative energy sources at PCCS, our solar panels, the geo-thermal elements, and the wind turbine. We then did a quiet spot over in Oak Openings before returning for music class. After music we went outside one last time for a bonus recess. Building forts out of fallen limbs has been a popular activity for many classes lately, so our kids just kept adding to the forts that already existed or created new ones.
So, if your kid tells you that they didn’t really do anything during Earth Week this year, have them read this post to refresh their memory, because we filled it with wonderful learnings, great adventures, and a whole lot of fun!
One last thing, I had challenged our kids to be as close to trash-free as possible during Earth Week (and really always). We had a new record of 23 students that were completely trash free one day! The kids told me how they have discussed this with you parents and you have been very supportive of this, which is wonderful. I’ve also noticed kids bringing in healthier foods, since fruits and veggies don’t have packages. So keep it up, it’s a great life lesson for these kids. As a reward we will have a final pizza party before the end of the year, I’ll let everyone know when so that they can all bring in reusable plates!
Have a great week!