Saturday, June 23, 2018

The Decision to Delete

I made a decision earlier this week--on June 21st to be exact. Summer Solstice--the 1st day of summer. I'm kicking off my season and using this day as my fresh start, my diving board, my launching point.

I deleted Facebook off my phone.

No, I didn't go cold turkey and cut throat and cancel my account. I'm not ready for that kind of social media drought and craziness quite yet. I still have the auto login set on my laptop and iPad. However, I am a die-hard phone user, largely due to it's portability. It's my camera, my phone, my clock, my crossword puzzles, my hand-held research center, my podcast player, my extension of my left arm. It's my main device I use. Therefore, to go FB-free on my phone is a pretty extreme move for me.

The reasons were many. I was finding myself sinking into the abyss of TotalTimeSuck. Boredom or mindlessness beget scrolling and trolling FB for the latest and greatest (most of which were neither). Add in, the noise of the current news/politics (and affiliated agitation), which seemed heavily strewn this week on just about everyone's FB threads amd wasn't any help to my mood. Plus, especially in the down-time of summer, I was noticing it was at odds, countering my seasonal shift to spend at least 200 hours outdoors. I'm also analyzing my kids' tech time this summer, while also reading Thomas Kersting's book ""Disconnected: How to Reconnect Our Digitally Distracted Teens," which in turn is causing a cold hard look at my own attachment. Teens aren't the only one distracted here in this household.

It was just too easy to toe-dip into Facebook again and again, for far too long at a time.  And my main escape-way has been primarily this one app.

So I hit that little shaking app "x" Thursday morning, watched it disappear, and haven't turned back.

I will say, most of that first day, I was feeling pretty darn liberated. The shackles were off. Clearly since willpower alone couldn't do that for me, I needed something bolder and bigger. Believe it or not, even though it literally was the longest day of the year, it didn't actually feel like it. In fact, quite the reverse. I started binge watching a show with my kids that my daughter had been asking us to watch, and I really watched it, without surfing when bored. I actually gave it a chance. I actually asked for another episode.

That feeling didn't just last one day.

Summer solstice for many traditions symbolizes birth. May it be a sort of rebirth and reconnection to what's around me, whether that means my family, the great outdoors, or a just plain better use of my time in general!

Have I solved my concerns over the tech time of the others in my house? Not yet. That's next week's tackle! ðŸ˜‰

No-Facebook sign http://www.staceyeburke.com/blog/8-reasons-your-law-firm-should-not-be-on-facebook; Disconnected book pic from https://www.amazon.com/Disconnected-Reconnect-Digitally-Distracted-Kids/dp/1541130979/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1528480551&sr=1-1&dpID=51wMZQBl2eL&preST=_SY344_BO1,204,203,200_QL70_&dpSrc=detail; Summer Solstice image from https://themuseinthemirror.com/2015/06/18/the-magic-of-the-summer-solstice-sacred-celebrations-for-midsummer/

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Sounds of Nature: A Short Film For Kids (& Grown Ups Too!)

I ran across this video on YouTube--much like you normally run across things on YouTube: down the rabbit trail of clicks and sidebars. It really is amazing where you land once you start that little clickable journey!

Entitled "Sounds of Nature: Short Films for Kids," this 7 minute video is comprised mostly of nature sounds and music (rather than words or conversation). To me, it really encapsulated the crossroads of where we are in our technology era versus the therapeutic, imaginative world that being outdoors can balance out. When watching this video (created by BatteryPop Videos For Kids), you really feel the digital pull of kids versus the parental pull a lot of us moms and dads have to yank the cord, earplugs, devices right out of our offsprings' hands.

It's an interesting video to be from a YouTube channel & website that's clearly heavy on the side of video games & more. Watch it here or click this link to watch it at YouTube.


In watching it, and watching the main character deal with the woods after his mom and dad yanked his DS, I was struck not only by the dichotomy of the digital and natural world, but also by the level of childhood imagination it illustrates. In the film, you see the main character embrace a creativity that wouldn't be accessible to him when he was "plugged in." You also see a level of engagement in the surrounds...and hints even at mindfulness, meditation, inventiveness, and problem solving. It's almost as if he entered his own world, complete with digital soundtrack, leading him to into nature and the adventures that woods, sticks, wildlife, water, moss, mushrooms, & pine cones can bring. These are the rich skills our children and our future needs.

After watching this video, it stayed with me, somewhat hauntingly. It mirrored my own love-hate relationship with technology, especially when facing my techie tweenager & teenager that live in my own house. I constantly wrestle with all of our levels of being plugged in.

I'd love it if you left a comment about how your reaction to & reflection of this movie short and what thoughts it left swirling in your mind.

Images from http://dh.sunygeneseoenglish.org/2015/02/20/ipat-or-ipa1t/ and https://www.buzzfeed.com/peggy/things-you-miss-about-going-camping?utm_term=.kfe6xZ4Wj#.ke8LRMm7Q; video from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n7gP5n3y700

Saturday, June 16, 2018

Young Leaders to Save the Day

For the last several years, our 3rd grade teachers have taught a very successful unit on Leadership. Rather than focusing on the Thomas Jeffersons or Rosa Parks of history, they instead turn the table and focus on kids or teens who are leading the way, today. It's a phenomenal unit, and the 3rd graders walk away being inspired to take action themselves, at their own age.

This year, along with having many of their tried and true favorites, they also tapped into the Baron Prize for Young Hero's Winners for 2017. Annually, the Baron Prize winners are announced early fall. This year, September 17th is the day for the 2018 winners. Their mission:
The Gloria Barron Prize for Young Heroes celebrates inspiring, public-spirited young people from diverse backgrounds all across North America. Established in 2001 by author T.A. Barron, the Barron Prize annually honors 25 outstanding young leaders ages 8 to 18 who have made a significant positive impact on people, their communities, and the environment.
Mother Nature Network did a phenomenal summary on each of the 2017 Baron Prize winners. Be sure to read their article to walk away feeling good about all the things these 20 kids have done to take positive action for our world!




Other kids out there taking action & going for the greater good that I've written about in the past:


Images from https://www.mnn.com/lifestyle/responsible-living/blogs/meet-20-kids-who-are-changing-worldhttps://serac-bd.org/event/youth-leadership-training/, and https://tabarron.com/young-heroes/barron-prize/

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

The Many Uses of Almond Waste

If you are like me, you didn't know the harvesting of almonds creates almond waste.  This video highlights the uses of the 2/3 of the almond that we don't eat.

Thinking outside the box and coming up with innovation uses for the waste products is what we need to become environmental leaders!



Video from https://www.facebook.com/attn/videos/176631703166268/ Steve Jobs quote from https://www.brainyquote.com/topics/innovation

Saturday, June 9, 2018

Molly Steer: Straws No More


It's always inspiring to see young kids taking action and working to make a difference.

Molly Steer is one of those people. At the age of 9, in the 4th grade, she's making sure all of us take notice about how important taking a stance on straws can be.

Grab a warm beverage (green tea, perhaps) and a stainless steel straw, then sit back to watch Molly's video below. Then read more about steering clear of plastic straws and plastic waste in general, check out these past GTG posts:



Video from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rr5Py1r9xjw; pic from https://i.pinimg.com/736x/6c/7e/58/6c7e58685dd3c52bcf7c2f428dc005a5.jpg

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Battling Plastic Waste on World Environment Day: June 5th Annually

Rather than my typical Wednesday posting, 
I'm posting this on Tuesday, June 5: World Environment Day. 
A global event. This year's theme: Beat Plastic Pollution.

Earlier this spring I wrote about the National Geographic's Planet Versus Plastic Campaign. It still weighs heavy on my mind.

Especially right now, having just returned from the grocery store from our weekly shopping adventure.  I will say I'm a lucky girl as my husband does the lion's share of our grocery needs--however today I accompanied him. With plastic on my brain, it was eye opening seeing it here, there, and everywhere at the store:
  • At the deli, I got 3 different types of lunch meat & cheese, each offered to me on a heavy plastic slice of what-was-once-waxed paper to sample as he sliced them for me. 
  • Of course there's plastic wrapped & bagged breads, pretzels, corn chips, and more all throughout the store. 
  • The beverage aisle has numerous bottles of this flavored drink next to that flavored drink. 
  • The thin-one-layered bags in the veggie department for buying bulk tomatoes, apples, corn...
Plastic is everywhere, even when you bring your own cloth bags to the store!


Just when it all seems overwhelming, you happen upon innovative and inspirational ideas which are at the heart of solving our plastic waste problems. Here's handful of ways people are working on battling plastic (including some things you do):

Using Plastic Waste as a House Construction Material:



Using Plastic Waste to Build Furniture:


Plastic Bank & Social Plastic:
"By enabling the exchange of plastic for money, items or Blockchain secured digital tokens, we reveal the value in plastic. This empowers recycling ecosystems around the world and stops the flow of plastic into our oceans. All while helping people living in poverty build better futures." (Quoted from the Plastic Bank website.) Social Plastic is Plastic Bank's charity/donation site where you can offset your plastic footprint.

PBS Newshour's Earth Day "How Can Individuals Combat Plastic Pollution"
A lot of information is packed into the 5 minute video interview between Jenna Jambeck and Hari Sreenivasan. Jenna stresses that little steps we each make end up making a huge collective difference.

The Guardian's Article: "I Kept All My Plastic for a Year – The 4,490 Items Forced Me to Rethink"
This article details Daniel Webb's mural he made with one year of his own plastic waste.

Plastic Fishing:

 

Videos from https://www.facebook.com/attn/videos/184907045672067/ ; https://www.facebook.com/WeNeedThisbyattn/videos/210857729416100/; and https://www.facebook.com/attn/videos/1602754103093376/; National Geographics Planet or Plastic from https://www.nationalgeographic.com/environment/planetorplastic/?beta=true; Buckminster Fuller Quote from http://www.azquotes.com/quote/104095; and Plastic Pollution by Numbers from https://me.me/i/plastic-pollution-by-numbers-thrown-away-35-billion-plastic-water-18953637

Sunday, June 3, 2018

1000 Hours Outdoors

There are 8,760 hours in a year. Unless it's Leap Year, then it's 8,784 hours.

How are you spending your year of hours? It's a good question to consider.

Across my Facebook Newsfeed lately, I've seen a lot of talk about "1000 hours outside." Not terribly surprising to keep seeing and re-seeing that, as I'm an environmental education blogger who follows a slew of environmental websites via Facebook.

Initially when I saw it, I was thinking it was specifically a summer challenge. Of course, upon digging and doing some mathematical calculations, that would be a major challenge indeed at nearly 12 hours per day for the 3 months of summer!

Rather, the challenge is an annual one, making the daily goal 2.7 hours per day (think 2 hours and 45 minutes). Likewise, the "1000" piece wasn't chosen only for it's roundness notable-number self. Instead, it was chosen since that's approximate average that kids under the age of 8 spend on screened devices a day, based on the 64 page October 2017 Common Sense Media Report. Their exact findings for kids aged 0-8 was 2 hours 19 minutes. (You can find a one-page synopsis of the Common Sense Media report here.)

Of course, as kids get older, those numbers go up. Tweens (aged 8-12) were noted as using 6 hours a day of tech, whereas 12-18 year old teenagers' numbers went up to 9 hours per day. This does not include school demands, which of course more frequently include devices as well.

2 hours is also the recommendation of screen time from the American Academy of Pediatrics for kids aged 2 and up.


No matter what age, that's a lot of indoor activity time. Hence the need for a counterbalance.

1000 hours outside is not a novel 2018 idea. When I started doing some digging, I discovered it goes back at least 5 years and can be found on many-a-Pinterest Board. I also found some incredible places to start for inspiration.

As of this point of this 3rd day of June, I'm a wee 4 hours in. (The weather hasn't cooperated--nor have my aging/aching knees--and I've allowed that to be my stumbling blog.) A true 1/4 of 1000 would put me to 250 hours outdoors out of 2,190 hours total. Can I do it? Time will tell, as will my recorded calculations come August 31st. Stay tuned! ðŸ˜‰


Richard Louv book images from http://richardlouv.com/; John Burrough's Quote from http://emilysquotes.com/i-go-to-nature-to-be-soothed-and-healed-and-to-have/; 1000 Hours Outside Richard Louv quote pic from https://www.facebook.com/1000hoursoutside/photos/

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Bye Bye Plastic Bags With Melati & Isabel Wijsen

Following up on my last post on National Geographic's Planet Or Plastic, this TED Talk from 2015 by Melati and Isabel Wijsen seems more timely than ever before.

Kudos to these two sisters, their 5 year mission, and their young leadership and innovation to create Bye Bye Plastic Bags. With their dedication, determination, and drive, they got the governor of Bali to promise to be plastic-free by 2018.

For two other important videos showing the "global wave of positive change" from Melati & Isabel, check out these two video links as well:


Video from https://www.ted.com/talks/melati_and_isabel_wijsen_our_campaign_to_ban_plastic_bags_in_bali#t-642234, Wijsen sisters picture from https://www.sbs.com.au/topics/life/culture/article/2016/04/12/balis-teenage-sisters-sparked-global-youth-movement-ban-plastic-bags, Logo from https://twitter.com/bbpb_bali

Saturday, May 26, 2018

Summertime Is Around the Bend

Summer's a-coming! Nothing says that more than Memorial Day Weekend. This might be just the right time to get outdoors and start working on that summertime bucket list!

For a super printable of ideas for kids of all ages, check out this Summer Bucket List link and make sure your printer is right and ready!

Next stop... get yourself outside!



Image from https://www.thebestideasforkids.com/summer-bucket-list-for-kids/

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Nat Geo's Planet Or Plastic Campaign

Just last week, National Geographics launched their latest magazine and newest multi-year campaign with a striking cover. Planet or Plastic?

When you put it that way, clearly we have to choose.
Which I think is their point! And, if we must choose, my hope would be for the former versus the
latter.

When roughly 9 million TONS of plastic end up in the ocean annually that's significant. Don't forget, plastics, especially single use plastics, are pretty light in weight!

Just like their paper version of the magazine, their online portal is ripe with information... including a pledge you can take to cut down on your plastic consumption and usage!

Articles:
  • Plastics Explained, From A-Z by Elizabeth Atalay, Laura Parker, & Heidi Schulz
    • This has a lot of important environmental vocabulary, and lots of resources available through clickable links or embedded videos.


Interactives:

Their videos:
  • Plastics 101
  • A Brief History of How Plastic Has Changed Our World
  • How to Cleanse Your Beauty Regime of Microplastic
  • Students' Ice Pops Bring Plastic Pollution to (Unappetizing) Life
  • Manta Ray Swims in Trash
All images from National Geographics Planet or Plastic https://www.nationalgeographic.com/environment/planetorplastic/?beta=true

Saturday, May 19, 2018

#StopSucking: Straws, That Is

I have to say... I try really hard to make my posts fairly rated G... but this one may be more PG-13... or perhaps even PG-10 in this day and age. The title should give you a hint to the language that crops up in the video below.


I've written about straws before. And, I write this statement while drinking my green tea out of my reusable Corkcicle with my stainless steel straw... for over a year now.

There's a new trend in town, though I've been talking about it for quite awhile, and we've had our stainless steel straws in this house for 3-4 years. But it's a trend I've been seeing in area restaurants, bars... and even recently in the Chicago airport while traveling.  This video is great... though eye-opening with it's remark that by 2050 we could potentially have more plastic marine debris in the ocean than actual fish. Ouch. That's within my lifetime. I don't like these statistics!



A number of awareness websites are cropping up. Check them out, here below. Then maybe order some stainless steel straws, and go about seeing what you can do to #StopSucking!

Video from https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=75&v=Q91-23B8yCg; US Consumption image from https://thelastplasticstraw.org/; corkcicle and stainless steel straws image from my house!

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Reinventing Our Relationship With Styrofoam

Ask my son what my thoughts are on Styrofoam, and he'll let you know: Evil Styrofoam!

Styrofoam, a common name tho really a brand name for polystyrene foam, is everywhere: cups, plates coolers, and more. It's far from eco-friendly in that it never biodegrades. Never... as in not ever. Nor is it recyclable, despite the little recycle symbol with the #6 on the bottom--a common misconception among people who sometimes think if the symbol is there, then certainly it's recyclable.  Additionally, polystyrene is also one of the leading causes of marine debris.

Given that, it begs the question: why is it still even a thing in this day and age.

As time and awareness continue on, more innovation is on the way. Additionally, so are Styrofoam bans. Given that, I'm proud of nearby Baltimore, who's City Council voted unanimously this February 28th, 2018 to ban Styrofoam in restaurants. Violations could lead to a $1000 fine.
"We look at all the litter in our waterways. It's not biodegradable. It's not actually being recycled," said Councilman John Bullock, the lead sponsor of Bill 17-0117. "For the most part, it's ending up in landfills or being incinerated. In water, it breaks apart into small pieces, which makes it very difficult to clear up the water and dangerous for wildlife."
Check out Groundswell's 2014 map of all the areas in the United States that have banned Styrofoam. Likewise, you can find an incomplete listing (though huge in and of itself) updated to approximately 2016 (and self-advertised as not updating regularly at the bottom of their list), check out the list of Polystyrene Ordinances at Surfrider.org.

Additionally, this article from Story of Stuff has some interesting pointers on what you can do yourself!

But...what about all that Styrofoam stuff that's already out there? 

Well, some people have some ideas!

This Attn. video featured below summarizes Ashton Cofer's 6 minute TED Talk from December 2016... and his innovative plan with how we can repurpose Styrofoam. Additionally, Ashton does an exceptional job of highlighting the importance of the design process!

Cheers to the young leaders, innovators, and game changers who are out there making an environmental difference! May we all follow their lead!

 


Video from
Images from https://pos.toasttab.com/blog/styrofoam-banhttp://ohhmywhitecoffin.blogspot.com/p/fact.htmlhttp://guyanachronicle.com/2015/12/13/say-no-to-styrofoam

Saturday, May 12, 2018

Happy Mother's Day: Spending It Outdoors & Modeling Environmentalism

My son recently went on a Middle School field trip where half of it was environmental stewardship in nature, and the other half was spent on the water doing stand up paddle boarding (aka "SUP"). He loved it. We're making plans to go sometime this summer, and if money were no object, he'd be buying a paddle board right this very minute!

The company he SUP'ed with is brilliant...they just sent forth a mother's day deal, where moms paddle board for free this Mother's Day. We'd be totally on board (pun intended) if it weren't an already-filled calendar with a mid-day lacrosse game and plans with the extended family, some of whom wouldn't be so into the paddle boarding.

Truth be told, I'd blow off the LAX game in a heartbeat, given kid sports on Mother's Day is not my personal favorite. We've fallen victim to that time and time again over the last dozen years, irking me from a sports scheduling standpoint, but I certainly digress. The spirit of a family bike ride, a water adventure, a hike in the woods, a visit to the park is far superior to that of an organized sport for both outdoor family fun and together on a holiday. It kind of reminds me of how wonderful our Father's Day camping trip was a few years ago.  (This year, it looks like we'll be at a Father's Day soccer tournament! Insert growl & more digression here.)

This year, whatever you do to celebrate Mother's Day, perhaps it will include some outdoor adventure.

These articles & websites may also help with the inspiration... and may they include a little education along the way:

  • Check out Hike It Baby, where their mission is to raise "a generation to love the outdoors" and change the world "one little hike at a time"
  • For some eye-opening stats, check out this 2016 Treehugger article "Children Spend less time Outside Than Prison Inmates."  If the title alone doesn't get you yearning to go outside, the "Free the Kids: Dirt is Good" video on the site will make you want to head outdoors (and make you count your blessings)!  You can also check out the Dirt Is Good website for other resources (including their Wild Explorers app) to help influence you and your kids of all ages to get outside.



Mother's Day outdoors photo from http://www.austinkayak.com/blog/2012/05/mothers-day-2012-give-the-gift-of-the-great-outdoors/; paddleboarding image https://goo.gl/images/rWWxmD, Mother's Day quote image from http://happymothersdayimagess.org/mothers-day-sayings.html/happy-mother-day-sayings-2017-2

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Still Thinking About Earth Day

Even though Earth Day has come and gone for awhile now, it's still lingering around my brain space.

It struck me that the 2 of us, Earth Day and I, are basically the same age. I've got it beat by about 6 months, but we're both hanging out here in our 48th year.

It seems like we've both accomplished a lot in these 48 years... though this is where I think Earth Day has certainly gotten me beat.

I think in wake of the current political climate, we environmentalists have gotten a little distraught over the last couple years. We've become downtrodden by climate deniers getting equal footing to the 97% climate scientists who are concerned by the evidence of climate change. We're impassioned when we see budgetary cuts to the EPA under the leadership of Scott Pruitt and company. We can easily be disheartened as to what the future holds for our planet--the one and only one we have got.

But looking over this list in this updated 4-18-2018 National Geographics article ("48 Environmental Victories Since the First Earth Day" written by Brian Clark Howard) we all have a lot of wins of which we should be proud.

To see all 48 wins, read the article. But here are a handful of notables. We should definitely take note of the progress... which, in turn, opens the door to hope. We've come this far, we can continue to go in the right direction.
  • DDT banned in 1972
  • 1972 Clean Water Act
  • 1973 Endangered Species Act
  • 1974--1995 Phase-Out of Leaded Gasoline
  • 1987 CFC's Banned, leading to the healing of the hole in the Ozone layer
  • 1989 Phase-Out of Asbestos
  • 1993 Green Building Council was founded
  • 1995 Bald Eagle Recovery
  • 2006 Al Gore's An Inconvenient Truth came out
  • Check out the article for the other 39!
If you, too, are in the "Earth Day's Over, Now What" Zone, here are some reads that might help you make your day, changing the focus from the problems to the solutions.
Earth Day starts as one day of awareness... but certainly it's up to you if it ends there. Think of the changes we can bring about if we all do a little something to make the world a better place each day, focusing on solutions.

Images from https://earthoptimism.si.edu/http://www.progressive-charlestown.com/2015/04/earth-day-2015-balancing-act-between.html, and http://riverlink.org/earth-day-2014-5-environmental-wins-celebrate/

Saturday, May 5, 2018

My 6 Fav Maker Activities

As a Technology Specialist and Maker Lab Teacher, we get to have a lot of fun in my K-5 classrooms.  Check out this clickable infographic (hover above the fingers to see the linked hot spots) and the blurbs below to see what some of my personal favorites are through the years! The links on the infographic will take you directly to websites of instructions, images, lesson plans, or examples.


Squishy Circuits
Following up our Valentine's Day Circuit Card Creations, we had loads of fun with some conductive and insulating dough. In addition to the clickable link above, this video and these instructions were helpful. We did the activity with 2nd and 3rd graders, but any elementary students would love it!

Trying to Reason With Hurricane Season
My 4th & 5th Grade elective class had fun with this hurricane-inspired STEAM activity--timely this fall when the hurricane reports cropped up. The "Emoji Guys" and ramping up the box fan to create different categories of major win added to the elements of excitement.

Lego Landmarks
For several years now I've tied the work to Lego sculpturist Nathan Sawaya into a Maker activity with my Kindergartners. I show them a plethora of natural landmarks and iconic structures. From there, they pick one to build using Legos and take several pictures along the way using iPads to detail their design process. From there, we revisit the activity another day where they each insert their pictures in order in the Timeline app on their individual iPad so each student can show off his/her design process chronologically. This activity, of course, could work for kids at any age.

Artbot
Throughout the years, I've done a variety of artbot activities, but for my Kindergarteners this year, it was "Dollar Store electric toothbrushes and pool noodles for the win!" This simple and straightforward example was perfect for the age group and brought about delighted glee from all!

Henry "Box" Brown
Henry "Box" Brown was an enslaved man during the Civil War era who crated himself up and mailed himself to Northern freedom with the help of some abolitionists. As a natural extension within the 5th Grade Civil War Unit, after reading the picture book Henry's Freedom Box by Ellen Levine, students got into a large cardboard box to see what that would feel like. Then, using some measurement and ratios (based on both 3 inch Playmobil guys and the 6 foot height of an average adult man), kids were challenged to build a box their guy would fit in using craft sticks, tape, and heavy construction paper.

Zip Line Carrier
Everyone loves the concept of a zip line, especially when you are the one building it. Putting my Playmobil guys to use again (rather than building a Lego Creature), this STEAM activity ties really well with our 2nd graders' Business unit and their study of money. My favorite part of this too is the fact that students have to manage their budget by buying only the supplies they can afford.

For more great hands-on STEM/STEAM activities, be sure to check out the following:


Clicakable Infographic created using Canva.com & Thinglink.com.

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Mother Earth & Me: Celebrating Earth Day With Smithsonian's Discovery Theater

Last week we had the great pleasure of having the Smithsonian Discovery Theater come on location to our school and present "Mother Earth & Me: Celebrate Earth Day" during Earth Week. I was blown away by the message, meaning, presentation, and power of the 4 person troupe that came to our school.

The Synopsis from their website:
Mother Earth and Me (Celebrate Earth Day)
Available Tour Dates: April 16-25, 2018
Recommended for Kindergarten-5th Grade
The magic of earth science takes center stage in this fun, interactive Discovery Theater original as we explore the origins of our planet, the water cycle, and our important role in protecting the ecosystem, as well as folklore about the “big blue marble” we call home. Kick off Earth Month by pledging to become an Earth Warrior—and find out some great ways to start right away!
The level of engagement for all, Preschool to 5th grade was high for the entire duration of their 45-60 minute presentation. We all left giving our oaths to our Mother Earth, because like a good mother she takes good care of us...so it's our job to take good care of her!

Click here to see their learning guide for this specific production.

Additionally, if you ever get an opportunity to see any of Discovery Theater's production, make sure you do!



Discovery Theater banner from https://www.facebook.com/SmithsonianDiscoveryTheater/; pictures from my camera.

Saturday, April 28, 2018

Revisiting "Drawdown" and Solar & Wind Power

In revisiting Drawdown's Top 10 list I recently wrote about as ways to reduce Earth's greenhouse gases, I was certainly struck by the prevalence of alternative energy. # 2, #8, #10: wind turbines, solar farms, and rooftop solar. With Earth Day just behind us, these alternative energies have been heavy on my mind this month (as is evident from my latest posts).

I ran across this video (below) which I feel is the heart of Earth Day... and where our planet should be environmentally. I try really hard not to get enmeshed in the politics of the season beyond environmentalism here at GTG, but at times it's hard. Not to mention frustrating and aggravating. I hate seeing the climate deniers at the helm and the budgetary cuts they bring about on behalf of our planet.

I feel like this video from The Years Project encapsulates what we in America are at risk of doing--falling behind the global innovators who are trying to solve the non-partisan environmental (& economic) issues we all face daily. I'm sad to see that we as a country are not addressing (or even, at times, believing in) these issues. Luckily there are others around who are.

May we always be inspired to do better, and make the world a better place!


Clip art from https://newswire.net/newsroom/blog-post/00094186-a-homeowner-s-guide-to-alternative-energy-solutions.html; Video from https://www.facebook.com/climatereality/videos/1669452373141814/

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Why Just Settle for Earth Day: Make it an EdTech Earth Week

I have a long history of "Earth Day" being more like "Earth Week." That is what happens when you teach at a very green "Maryland 'Green' School" for 7 years...then move on to another school that you make sure you're on the committee that's committed to certifying it as a Maryland "green" school too.

(You can check out that history and get your GTG "Earth Day" history up to date by scrolling through here.)

With Earth Day falling on a Sunday this year, I vote we make this week ahead Earth Week too. (Would that be "Earth Week II?")

For some of us, that means we get to piggy back one week with another week on top! 2 weeks celebrating, honoring, and protecting the Earth! One-twenty-sixth of a year! I love it! I'll take it. It also goes to show you that it can and SHOULD be more than a day!

Here is a slew of educational technology activities that tie nicely to Earth Day. May these be a lovely way to extend and continue that celebration and protection of Mother Earth! Plus, it's through taking action and working to make a difference that we all feel like we are indeed doing something. This is what it will take to shift the pendulum to where we feel like we are standing up for what is important for us, taking advantage of innovative trends, and moving forward to where we all should be!

  • ARMAP Arctic Map
      • Use ARMAP to see the "Who, What, Where, and When of U.S. Arctic Science."

Closing with 2 #edtech #eco shares from my school this last week...from some of our youngest to our oldest at our Lower School, as shared via our Seesaw Digital Portfolio:

  • A Kindergartner's view of how we can be "helping hands" to the Earth:



Images from http://www.greenteamgazette.com/2014/07/ecs-re-greening-2014.html,  http://www.greenteamgazette.com/2017/04/earth-day-is-on-its-way-april-22.html and student digital creation this Earth Day 2018.

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Happy Earth Day 2018

The Google Doodle this weekend is just the perfect representation for Earth Day! Jane Goodall certainly is synonymous with protecting and taking care of our planet!

Have a glorious Earth Day. Do something outside today!



Video from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q8v9MvManKE; Image from https://www.ecowatch.com/jane-goodall-power-of-corporations-is-destroying-worlds-rainforests-1882151602.html

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Earth Day 2018: How Are You Honoring The Earth This Weekend?

This weekend commemorates Earth Day 2018, with the official day tomorrow, Sunday.  No doubt, the weekend will be ripe in your community (and globally) with green fairs, eco festivals, environmental events, and more.

At the very least, it should be!

I think the best way to do honor the Earth this weekend is to focus on the question: What impact will you make?

Often we stop ourselves, wondering what in the world can one person do? Time and time again, we have visually seen those answers. Political activism is one of those times--just look how many people stood up, stepped out, took part in that march, voted, or made their voices heard.

What will you do today, or this weekend, for Earth Day? 

Here are some suggestions if you need them:

  • Get some Vitamin N: Nature! Spend time outdoors, perhaps picking up trash along the way.
  • Say no to straws or order some stainless steel ones.
  • Grab coffee in a reusable cup versus a throwaway. The same goes for water!
  • Bike or walk instead of driving where you need to go.
  • Take your reusable bags to the grocery store so you don't have to waste time or energy on single use plastic bags.
  • Think twice before wasting water, whether brushing your teeth or taking a shower.
  • Repurpose or reuse containers before throwing them out.
  • Donate some time to help someone else out: at a homeless shelter, making sandwiches, helping a neighbor with their lawn, etc.
  • Flip those lights off, and open those windows to get some fresh air.
  • Visit a park, a wildlife center, or go for a hike.
  • Unplug. Step away from those screens.
  • Plant some flowers, some trees, or a garden.
  • Pass up the plastic bottles.
  • Make a salad and forego the fast food, eating clean instead.
  • Install a rain barrel.
  • Spread the word on social media that it's Earth Day, sharing eco ideas along the way.
  • Go vegetarian for the day, or go "Meatless Monday" for the next few weeks.
  • Visit a farmer's market.
  • Refuse, reduce, reuse, then recycle. In that order.

Or simply share below some other ideas to keep the ripples of ideas moving forward.


Earth Day image created at canva.com; Dalai Lama quote/picture from https://pixteller.com/designs/others/dalai-lama-quote-id121525