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April 22, 2010 Happy Earth Day! By Eric Antuna
Grades 3–5

    Hello! Happy Earth Day! Summer is steadily approaching, here in the desert we're hitting highs close to 100 already! Now is a perfect time for our students to learn about reducing their energy usage and ways in which they can become "green" citizens. Here are a few things that I've done and books that I found online and have used in my classroom to make Earth Day a day where we remind ourselves to reduce, reuse, and recycle!

    Plant a Tree!

    The Arbor Day Foundation is a non profit organization dedicated to the planting of trees. If you become a member of the foundation, they will give you 10 free trees! Perhaps you can fundraise in your classroom to purchase some seedling trees and plant them around your school. Arbor Day is celebrated on April 30 (next Friday!).

    Make a Video!

    This is a great idea to do after your students are done on state testing. You can divide students into different groups and have them each choose a topic. Every child can work on the script and the team can film their piece. See Megan Power's blog post on Video Editing if you need a place to start when beginning your video.


    Here are a few titles that I've used with my students in my classroom:

    Recycle Every Day!

    Recycle Every Day! This is a fantastic book! I found this online here at and is a perfectly appropriate book for grades K, 1 and 2 to jumpstart conversations about recycling. I love the illustrations. I would use this book as a way to show students how to use different mediums for art projects (such as tearing pieces of left over construction paper and making a mosaic-type art piece). Please check it out!




    The Great Kapok Tree

    The Great Kapok Tree This is a great fiction piece about a man that goes into the rain forest to cut down trees and presumably clear part of it for some sort of industrial use. The man takes a nap underneath a kapok tree and falls asleep. During his daytime slumber, the man gets visitors from the tree whispering things in his ear to save the tree and not chop down the surrounding rain forest. I love using this book as a way to have a discussion with the class about fiction and non-fiction. The discussion leads to the result that most animals cannot communicate with people so we, as compassionate beings, have to speak on their behalf. 



    50 Simple Things Kids Can Do To Save The Earth

    50 Simple Things Kids Can Do To Save The Earth This is an excellent resource. It's a little bit higher reading level for my students, but you can read aloud small sections for activities that the students can do. I especially like #28: Don't Bag It! An extension of this activity would be to have students make awareness posters and place them around the school with such phrases as: Turn Lights Off! or Shut Down Your Computer! Every little bit helps!





    The Magic School Bus Gets Recycled

    The Magic School Bus Gets Recycled!
    Ms. Frizzle and her kiddos are at it again! This time they have made their way to the recycling factory in search of a lost necklace. The gang heads into the facility and depicts the process in which items are recycled and made new again. I love Magic School Bus readers because they are so appropriate for independent readers. I use this book with the Visualization strategy in reading comprehension. I will read the story and have students imagine they were as small as the magic school bus and then show them the pictures. Then I'd give them a chance to share if what they imagined looked like what the picture show.



    You Can Save the Planet: 50 Ways You Can Make A Difference

    You Can Save the Planet: 50 Ways You Can Make A Difference

    I love that this book gives kids practical ideas for how they can reduce and recycle in their school and community. I would read section the class as well as have students make posters to create awareness about energy conservation and the like.





    There are tons of other resources in the Celebrate Earth Day collection.

    Have any Earth Day stories you use in your classroom? Please share them here!

    Thanks for reading!




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