Saturday, April 30, 2016

The Double Mystery of the Missing Bees

Houston, we have a problem.  Actually 2:

Case 1: Buzz is Missing!

Who's Buzz, you're wondering?  Buzz is the name of the bee on the Honey Nut Cheerios box.  And he's visibly absent!  On purpose.

In part of General Mill's Honey Nut Cheerios new awareness & marketing campaign, Buzz is not a smiling feature on boxes in Canada.  #BringBackTheBees and the missing Buzz are to bring awareness to the plight of the pollinator.  Bees are vital to many food sources, and they too seem to be disappearing.  There's a cure for that--planting flowers that bees love!  It really is that simple!

Here's their powerful video about how our buzzing friends need our help.



But wait...there's more:

Case 2: The B's are Missing!

Another company is reporting a case of a missing person.  Er, well...not person, but actually some missing letters to highlight the same plight. Burt's Bee are missing their "B's!"  As they said, it's "A _ig idea from _urt's _ees!"  Add in, they are challenging all to take to social media and share out posts with more missing b's along with the same #BringBackTheBees.


It's exciting to see 2 companies take dramatic marketing moves in order to make a difference. Wouldn't it be exciting if more companies did the same thing.  For the bees and other ways to bring about a better, healthier planet!

Here are 2 infographics that will help you see how vital bees are to us, and how we can do something vital for them!


Honey Nut Cheerios video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9fbMQUVYuRQ; Burt's Bee's video from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5L_VSb9rJ_0; plants for bees pic from https://pbs.twimg.com/media/Cdj26z3UEAAiJTZ.jpg; Honey Nut Cheerios pic from http://brandchannel.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/honey-nut-cheerios-bring-back-the-bees-600.jpg; food from bees pic from https://pbs.twimg.com/media/CdjNHTJW4AAAqWs.jpg; Burt's Bees pic from https://www.thecloroxcompany.com/corporate-responsibility/blog/bringbackthebees/ 

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

"If the World Were 100 People" Video

 "Films for Action" always posts some pretty amazing shorts.  Here's another one (from Good Magazine) that fits the bill. Both produced and written by the team of Gabriel Reilich Animation and Jake Infusino, "If the World Were 100 People" visually captures what our global numbers would be if based on the number 100.

In a world where political noise is loud, obnoxious, distasteful, and vitriolic, this is what we really should be listening to.



Film s For Action logo from https://i.vimeocdn.com/video/303042924.jpg?mw=1920&mh=1080&q=70; Video from http://www.filmsforaction.org/watch/if-the-world-were-100-people/

Friday, April 22, 2016

Happy Earth Day 2016


Sending you my very best 

this Earth Day...
with a few more inspirational ideas 
(this time, visually) 
to add to the ones from my last post.

What's something special 
you're doing today 
to make the world a little brighter 
and a little better?




Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Earth Day 2016: Trees For The Earth

This Friday, April 22nd is Earth Day.  The 47th Earth Day.  We've been around awhile trying to do this "help our planet" thing.  Looks like we're still doing it.  But, as I've said before, every little step is a step in the right direction, and together we are strong.  So let's keep doing those little steps.

All of us!

This year's theme is "Trees for the Earth."

To get you in that spirit, here are some resources for this 47th Earth Day:
Interestingly enough...Earth Day just so happens to fall during Climate Education Week (April 16th--23rd) and National Environmental Education Week (April 17--23).



Images from: http://www.earthday.org/https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/236x/c4/eb/f5/c4ebf578c32cc330a9683258eb8bde91.jpg, and http://alldonemonkey.com/2014/04/21/10-creative-acts-of-kindness-for-earth-day-the-good-long-road-random-acts-of-kindness/

Saturday, April 16, 2016

MidMonth Climate Manifesto: "Racing Extinction"

Earth Day is around the corner.  Might be a good time to watch an #eco documentary to get you in the right brain space.

"Racing Extinction" might be just the documentary!

In this movie, the production team details the potential of the 6th mass extinction and the first to be driven by human decisions and activities that are driving climate change. I first learned about the making of this movie by seeing something over at OneGreenPlanet.org about the "Racing Extinction" team displaying images of endangered animals on Vatican City's St. Peter's Basilica.  More amazing images and video footage for that are available here.  In the same manner of projected images, the team has shown similar images on the Empire State Building and NYC's United Nations Building.

Of course, from the beginning of this trailer, it's not for the faint of heart. But, important messages that need to be hear sometimes are like that.  The exposé scenes just in the trailer alone show crimes to endangered species. Those startling nature of that makes you mad, and it is often through anger that people take action.  I'm sure this is the exact emotion that the "Racing Extinction" team is going for!


To get the movie in front of you, check out RacingExtinction.com for a multitude of ways of where you can get it.  Likewise, there are a lot of resources, videos, and action steps also available at their website.  Excellent things to think about this Earth Day ahead, making plans on how we can start turning things around for our planet through both education and action!!


Panda image from http://www.onegreenplanet.org/news/racing-extinction-team-displays-animals-in-vatican-city/; Trailer from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MwxyrLUdcss

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Recycling Right... & Reiterating the Order of the 3 R's

"Recycling" is a household word these days--or at the very least, it should be.  We've been talking about it long enough, that yes indeed it should be. (Though I will say it still startles me when I am somewhere like a shop or a store that only has one bin, but I digress.)

I think most of us feel like we are wearing our white hats like "Scandal" gladiators, doing good for the world, when we recycle.

Well, maybe they are green hats!

But recycling is tricky.  It's this seductive idea that makes us feel like we are all out there on "TeamGreen," but there's still so many items with those triangular chasing arrows on them that really can't be recycled.  So we feel like we are recycling like a champ, keeping items from the trash bin, when what really happens.... things wind up in the landfill.

It's rather deflating.

These 2 videos help you get more personal with the plastic products you are bringing into your homes--items which you may ultimately "get rid of," one way or another.  It brings up the point that your decision starts with your dollar and what you spend your money on, so make your monetary vote count.  It also reminds us that the motto "Reduce, Reuse, Recycle" is purposely written in that order.  (Some people even start with "Refuse!")




Pics from https://pixabay.com/static/uploads/photo/2013/04/01/10/59/recycle-98854_960_720.png and https://c1.staticflickr.com/9/8383/8558569053_aa89a5f01d_z.jpg;
Videos from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_qTelxi3MjU and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4HuZ6_LOxY8

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Going on Walk-About With A Walking Curriculum


From the First Family to your family, getting outdoors and taking a walk is good for you.  It's a great way to commune with nature, get some fresh air, deal with whatever stressors are working through you, and just take advantage of the calming effects of nature.

Not surprisingly, the same holds true for the classroom, and it's a great way for educators to reach your students in new ways and connect them with the natural world.

There probably is "an app for that," but more importantly, there's a K-12th grade curriculum for it created by Gillian Judson. Additionally, any of these ideas might be some great tools in your parenting toolkit, spurring some great conversational focuses for your own family walk. Spounds like the perfect thing to do here as the weather turns nicer each day!

The benefits are many, as Gillian points out on her webpage:
"These walking activities can...engage the body, emotions, and imagination in ways that can increase familiarity with the local and natural contexts of school and learning; increase attention to detail, particularity and their attunement with place; connect place-based learning activities with cross-curricular goals; serve as examples for your own, place-inspired teaching ideas."

Where to start:

Diving In:   Each of the 4-parts of the curriculum features "5 Focused Walks"

  • Part 1:
    • Shapes Walk
    • (Sur)faces Walk
    • Motion Walk
    • Texture:  How This Place Feels
    • Where is Here?
  • Part 2:
    • Line Walk
    • Weather(ed) Walk
    • History Walk
    • Synethesia Walk (= humans have multi-perceptual modes working simultaneously to experience the world)
    • Letter Walk:  What Squiggles or Lines Fill This Place
  • Part 3:
    • Borders Walk
    • Vertical World Walk
    • Tracks, Prints, & Marks Walk
    • Riddle Walk
    • Searching for the Aliens Walk (= looking for Invasaive Species)
  • Part 4:
    • What's Underfoot Walk
    • What's Overhead Walk (or Crick' Neck Walk)
    • Growth Walk
    • Lovely/Unlovely Walk
    • The Walk(ing) Walk


Images: President Obama's Family pic from https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/3/3c/Obama_family_walks_with_First_Dog_Bo_4-14-09.jpg; Family walk pic from http://www.public-domain-image.com/free-images/people/a-family-enjoys-a-leisurely-walk.jpg; Walking Curric pic from 
http://gillianjudson.edublogs.org/2016/02/03/a-walking-curriculum-part-3-walking-learning-k-12/

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Chesapeake Bay Foundation's "Save The Bay" Video

Being a Maryander now, these 3 words are ones you hear often:  "Save the Bay."

The health of the Chesapeake Bay is something a lot of us are concerned about.

The Chesapeake Bay Foundation has done a nice job of creating a powerful and beautiful video that makes you want to do just that:  Save the Bay.


Save the Bay from Chesapeake Bay Foundation on Vimeo.



Video from https://www.cbf.org/about-cbf/discovery-video or https://vimeo.com/158501858

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Sleep On It: The Restorative Power of Sleep

Having just been on Spring Break, all thoughts ultimately lead to sleep: sleeping in, catching up on sleep, and taking a nap.  I think teachers are uniformly programmed to think this way, come this time of year.

Then there's Daylight Saving Time and losing that hour.  Man, that always hurts.  (But, in a "hurt so good" sort of way as dusk comes later, making it feel like summer is on its way!)

Who knew: there's a fabulous follow-up to turning that clock back--the Monday following Daylight Savings Time was National Napping Day, which apparently is a real thing.  How awesome is that!

Sleep is one of those things that as a kid, I remember never wanting to go to bed, for fear of missing something.  Now, it's that elusive thing we never quite get enough of.  Yet, it's vital for so many of our systemic and daily functions.

The importance of sleep has recently cropped up in three of the podcasts I listen to, with the entire episode for each dedicated to the secrets of sleep:
Then, of course, there's always information from NIH as to the benefits of sleep.

Given we all know the emotional, restorative, safety, and brain benefits of getting enough sleep, it begs the question:  Why aren't we getting more?  Our Type A, worker-bee modes are to blame.  

But adults alone aren't the only victims of being under-nourished in the sleep department.  Case and point is an interesting post I ran across on Treehugger by Katherine Martinko entitled "When Kids Are Losing Sleep, It's Time to Rethink How We Parent."  The culprits to killing kids' sleep are many: over-scheduled calendars, TV & the growing tech addiction, sugar over-saturation, irregular bedtime routines, school stressors, and lack of good ole playing outside with all the fresh air & sunshine that comes with that.  When time-on-tech averages are starting rival slumberland, that's a problem.

In case you were uncertain as to how much sleep we need (at all the ages), check out this graphic:

The National Wildlife Federation published the document below entitled "Green Time for Better Sleep Time and an article on the importance of getting outdoors to help improve sleep--for all, but especially for children. The three big ways the great outdoors helps even-out the sleep biorhythms:
  1. Nature light increases daytime alertness and moods, which brings about the zzzz's at night much better for one's body clock.
  2. Nature has a way of de-stressing like no other, from sights the sights and sounds of time outdoors.  Along those lines, it build concentration as well.
  3. Exercise is always good for endorphins, and the whole body physical side of outdoor play helps even more.  Physical exertion is great for leading to exhaustion.


So, you have some homework assignments:
  • A little green reading of "Green Time For Sleep Time" above; 
  • A few podcasts to listen to;
  • Play outside, no matter what your age;
  • Then go get yourself in your PJ's and go get some sleep!!


Photos from:

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

World Water Day: March 22, 2016

Since 1993, March 22nd has been a United Nations' internationally-designated day centered around water related issues. This year marks our 24th World Water Day.  It's a day to bring about awareness on the importance of clean water, especially given that approximately a billion people world wide don't have access to clean water.  That one billion people--that's 1/7 of our global population.  That's mighty!

This year's World Water Day theme centers around the power of water and jobs, and their transformative nature to make a difference in lives.  Not only does water quality impact people, but water is vital for all jobs--therefore all employees need both access to quality water as well as fair labor laws. 


For more information, resources, or even donation opportunities, check out the following resources:



Additionally, you might be inspired to take a break and unplug from your technology by taking the UNICEF Tap Project Challenge.  By opening up UnicefTapProject.org on your cell phone (this is the important part), then NOT touching your phone, you can help the UNICEF donors give funds for water for those in need.  This is open for the entire month of March, and this is what is certainly called a win-win all the way around!

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Tonight's the Night: #EarthHour 2016

Tonight's the night. Earth Hour. Lights off from 8:30--9:30 in your time zone.

I've been talking about Earth Hour for a bit now.

To get you right and ready for tonight, check out these two videos. One for the younger set, and one to make you think a bit.

Add in: Don't forget to go to Earth Hour's #ChangeForChange site to donate your social media or change your profile picture.

 



Videos from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tN798j6vSoc and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wxhHhyjcTmo; Image from https://www.earthhour.org/earth-hour-starter-kit

Saturday, March 12, 2016

#RediscoverNature

Today by my mailbox was a delightful sign of spring: the first flower.  Add in that it's the start of my Spring Break from school, life is pretty ideal and Spring Fever has definitely hit!

Thinking about Spring, the budding that's beginning, the warmth that wafts on the breeze, and the hint of rising temperatures, it has me longing to get outside: neighborhood walks, bike rides, going somewhere good for a hike, and even just sitting outside at my patio table--watching the birds flock the feeder.
It's time to #RediscoverNature.

As much as I'd like to take credit for that hashtag, I can't claim the creativity.  But Nature Valley can. They have 3 videos, each promoting the great outdoors in different ways.  3 videos that make you think and rethink, at least a little bit. Videos worth viewing.  Videos that will inspire you to take advantage of Spring & Spring Break, and get you outside to #RediscoverNature!







Photo from my camera, 3 Generations video from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=is5W6GxAI3c; Field Trip from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8v9PjTBwiaU; Rediscover the Joy of Nature from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jWyvR75jKEc





Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Earth Hour 2016: Time It Right In Your TimeZone: March 19th from 8:30--9:30 pm

'Tis the season....the birds are chirping, the temperatures are warming up, the last snow may just be behind us as Spring Break is just in front of us.  Must mean it's approaching mid-March...which this year means it's approaching Earth Hour.  The 10th Anniversary.  One of my favorite of the "environmental days," it's a chance to take action, to help #ChangeClimateChange.

Here's a little video to get you geared up for Earth Hour, a mere 10 days away:  March 19th, lights out in your time zone, from 8:30--9:30 pm.  Be a part of something bigger than you.



Video from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WTuotGlZj60; Image from https://twitter.com/hashtag/changeclimatechange

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Raising Our Spoons to "The Story of a Spoon"

In the style of the Plastic Bag Mockumentary, there's a new #eco mini-documentary in town that makes you ponder the birth of a spoon. From it's meager beginnings (you know, the Big Bang) to your backyard barbeque, oil makes its way from ground to factory to plastic spoon.  As you watch plastic wrapped in plastic, it makes you rethink your utensil usage.

Let's face it:  how hard is it to watch a few pieces of silverware?

And how much are we wastefully throwing away and/or convincing ourselves that we're doing good by recycling (which in some ways, is just another "away" as not all recycling ends up where it needs too, or ends up being down-cycled into lesser products).

I raise my spoon and say:  "Let's stop wasting valuable resources!"



Image from http://plasticisrubbish.com/spoon-poster-2/; video from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eg-E1FtjaxY

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

50 #Eco Innovators

Whether aged 24 to 54 (or more), from CA to NY or Alaska to Australia, Grist has them all.  At least when it comes to the 50 folks of 2016 who are environmental activists, innovators, visionaries, & organizers.

This list is a great way to show students who is out there, what they are doing, where they are located, and what is their individual driving force & passion.  It also might serve as some inspiration for them for the future, where who knows--the sky is the limit!

The Focused 50:
  1. Jasmina Aganovic, The Naturalist
  2. Sana Amanat, The Hero Maker
  3. David Bancroft, The Southern Chef
  4. Sean Barrett, The Fisherman
  5. Maxine Bédat, The Fashion Mogul
  6. Tiffani Ashley Bel, The Coder
  7. Mary Berry, The Farmers' Advocate
  8. Marcelo Bonta, The Equity Advisor
  9. Julian Mocine-McQueen & Heather Box, The Story Tellers
  10. Heber Brown III, The Baltimore Pastor
  11. Katie Button, The Restauranteer
  12. Camille Delebecque, The Fermenter
  13. LaToya Ruby Frazier, The Artist
  14. Alex Freid, The Zero-Waste Wiz
  15. Angel Garcia, The Conservative
  16. Jihan Gearon, The Navajo Warrior
  17. José González, The Outdoorsman
  18. Emily Graslie, The Educator
  19. Katie Hinde, The Milk Maven
  20. Rob Hogg, The Heartland Climate Hawk
  21. Lucy Holtsnider & Zion Klos, The Sailors
  22. Angel Hsu, The Data Architect
  23. Mark Jacobson,The Clean Energy Mastermind
  24. Trip Jennings, The Filmmaker
  25. Murrawah Johnson-- Naomi Klein’s pick, The Native Daughter
  26. Emily Kirsch The Solarpreneur. The Solarpreneur
  27. Katherine Wells & Flora Lichtman, The Adaptors
  28. Ted Lieu, The Congressman
  29. Angelo Logan, The Mechanic-Turned-Activist
  30. Peter Malinowski, The Oysterman
  31. Nia Martin-Robinson, The Recruiter
  32. Michael Mazourek--Dan Barber’s Pick, The Flavor Savor
  33. Nona Yehia & Penny McBride, The Modern Farmers
  34. Heather McGhee, The Policy Shaper
  35. Kandi Mossett, The Crusader
  36. Sudha Nandagopal, The Equalizer
  37. Ayanna Pressley, The Fighter
  38. Adrianna Quintero, La Voz
  39. Donovan Richards, The NYC Councilman
  40. Anthony Rogers-Wright--Bill McKibben’s pick, The Organizer
  41. Pamela Ronald, The Rice Whisperer
  42. Cameron Russell, The Model Activist
  43. Tyler Sit, The Midwest Pastor
  44. Julia Stewart, The Booster
  45. Nathaniel Stinnett, The Voting Guru
  46. Julien Terrell, The Youth Organizer
  47. Vien Truong, The Power Shifter
  48. Cynthia Graber & Nicola Twilley, The Foodcasters
  49. Allison “AKU-MATU” Warden--Annie Leonard’s pick, The Rapper
  50. Jalonne L. White-Newsome, The Clean-Power Enforcer
Image and all above list & links from https://grist.org/grist-50/2016/

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Happy 6th Birthday #GTG

It's amazing what happens when you start studying your calendar:  you realize you are amidst a birthday, anniversary, special season.  

That's a little bit what happened here when I realized my first Green Team Gazette post was born 6 years ago:  Feb. 26, 2010.  

A toe-dip out in the blogosphere 6 years ago, 126,012 visitors later, here we are.  I'd like to send out a thank you to all of you who have visited along the way and to all of  you who keep coming back. 


Cheers to the environmentalists out there, the educators, the innovators, the #EdTech teachers amongst you.  Thanks for riding along, and sharing in the resources, the rants, the chuckles, and the cheers of the past 6 years.  Raising a glass for many more as we continue to learn from each other and go forth!

Image created Using the PicCollage app on my iPad.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

MidMonth Climate Manifesto: John Oliver For the Win

In the category of "oldy but goodie," this springs up from a bit ago, but always worth a rewatch.

Here John Oliver demonstrates the how media debates on television typically show the numbers as a climate skeptic versus Bill Nye. 1 to 1. Seemingly 50-50. However, John Oliver, along with displaying some definitely good facts, does a wonderful job of visually illustrating what 97% climate science support really looks like in a debate.

Beware, bewarned--this is for the adults in the group who like sarcastic, snarky (and language-filled) humor.  For that reason there, this one is NOT for classroom consumption!




Video from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cjuGCJJUGsg

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Barry Rosenthal's "Found In Nature:" Marine Debris Art in Action

The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is no longer a surprise to any of us.  In fact statistics of marine debris are more and more startling all the time.  The latest:  by 2050, plastic pollution in our planetary oceans is predicted to outnumber fish populations.  That's startling.

Barry Rosenthal has been combing beaches since 2007, collecting trash and repurposing it into art in order to bring a greater awareness to what we have been doing to our waterways.  Here's a short video of Barry narrating some of his finds and his creations.



For Barry's Website, where you can see his whole gallery of "Found in Nature" debris pieces, click here.

I like the lines:
"You are what you consume. You are what you do to the environment."  
What does that make you?  And what can you do about that?
How can we leave this world a better place?


Video from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OFxD78LkJFA, image from http://barryrosenthal.com/bio/

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Eco Wins & Eco Losses: Hotel Style

A week or so ago we did a pre-Valentine's Day get away to a cute town not far away, rich with quirky
shops and fun meanderings, in and out.

Kids and dog at grandparent's house. Check.

Just the two of us, and clearly from the giddiness I carried with me, it's been far too long since I've been "away."   I was please as punch with both a comfy room, a hotel with a pool & hot tub, a darn tasty breakfast, and a nice little street fair to boot. Yes, a nice get away, indeed!

Heading back to the breakfast, I was impressed with the plates, cups, & bowls with their "Sustainable Forestry Initiative" logos, and message stamped on each one saying that they were recyclable. Superb! Just how it should be!

Until....

I noticed that on the buffet (right next door to the plates) there was a bowl of individually-wrapped apples. Wrapped in plastic, 1 for 1. Ack?!!! Apples have a natural packaging! It's called skin!! Which caused me to ponder: "Do we seriously live in a world that's so germaphobe/clean-a-phobe that we need to individually wrap apples in plastic wrap?!"

I guess so.

Insert huge sigh here.

Unfortunately from here, the cosmic eco-miss continued. In this hotel, dedicated enough to advertise on logo-ed plates that they care for our planet enough to provide sustainable paper-ware, I was struck by the fact that there was one receptacle in the dining area. Well, two really, though two identical ones. Ones that looked far more like a traditional trash can than any sort of environmentally-friendly recycle bin. Long live co-mingling food scraps and recyclable products (she says sarcastically).

So, as I bid my plastic-ware, recyclable plates, and food scraps into the abyss of the trash bin, I bid a welcome to my wares to a long life in their future new home--the ever-lasting "sustainable" landfill.

Another mega sigh.

The irony: the weekend we were away is the weekend of my annual eco-mecca.  It's the equivalent my Superbowl.  The annual environmental conference at MAEOE (= Maryland Association of Environmental and Outdoor Education). For the first time in 7 years, I was not there. And while I was certainly having a delightful weekend away with my husband, I found myself pondering: "Why are we still here, in 2016?  Why am I writing about plastic wrapped apples, 5.5 years after I've written about that all before? When will we figure out that plastic wrap is a terrible drain on a non-renewable resource. When are we going to realize, as a society, that there is no "away?" Why do we keep throwing it all away... and when will we ever learn?

Increasingly, I'm worried that the answer to that question is, "When it's too late."



Sunday, February 14, 2016

Happy Valentine's Day Via The U.S. Department of the Interior

The U.S. Department of the Interior has posted this great video on their Facebook page in honor of Valentine's Day.   It's a great way to get in the spirit of love, beauty, romance, and nature seeing these national sight of beauty.
Click here to view the video.

May your Valentine's Day be filled with love--
for your people, for yourself, and for the wonder of nature that surrounds us all.

America’s public lands are wonderful places to love and be in love. Every year thousands get engaged and married in...
Posted by U.S. Department of the Interior on Friday, February 12, 2016

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

40 Days & 40 Items

Regardless of your religious leanings, it's probably somewhere on your radar that it is Ash Wednesday.  (Or maybe the bigger radar for you was that yesterday was Mardi Gras!)

Ash Wednesday commemorates the 40 days of Lent. These are the 40 days between Ash Wednesday & Easter Eve (the Saturday before Easter).  I did not grow up following the tradition of getting ashes on Ash Wednesday, though I did grow up in the church.  That part of the Easter Season just wasn't a major focus for my family. Other things did.  

One of the elements of Lent, if that was/is your tradition, is to either give up something meaningful to you for 40 days... or the twist: do something additional/out of your typical routine for those 40 days of Lent.  You are sacrificing one way or another.  Giving up chocolate is an all time popular favorite.  Though, I have heard up people more recently going on a social media fast (to bring more connection to their lives), exercising for 40 days, or making other lifestyle choices during that time period between Ash Wednesday and Easter to enhance their lives. 

That's where today's post starts.  I like that idea of 40 items in 40 days.  I saw this picture on Facebook today, which actually served as inspiration for this today.


There's also the larger tackle:  40 BAGS in 40 days.  Yes, that would be some major "decrapifying" (to quote the image below).  Given it's report card season, that seems pretty darn intense for this kid.  But 40 items.  I think can handle that.


So whether you observe Lent or not, it's a good way to gear up for spring, and carve out a little extra room in your closet.  But whatever you do, don't throw it away (there IS no away). So go forth and donate or regifting.  Keep those landfills free and clear.




Saturday, February 6, 2016

Chick-Fil-A, Leading the Way: From Beverage Cup to Bench

My son knows one of my anti-mantras is "Styrofoam is Evil." (Capital E intented!!)

Of course he does, since I'm a raving environmentalist.

And as his mother, I know he loves Chick-Fil-A.

Of course I do. I'm a mom.

But one thing that has always seemed at counter odds with that fast food stop is their love for polystyrene (aka Styrofoam) cups.

Insert mama anti-mantra here!

Well, unbeknownst to me, Chick-fil-a has an environmental game plan about that.  Watch the video here to see how they go from beverage cups to benches.  Way to go, Chick-Fil-A for finding an innovative environmental solution that works for everyone!


To learn more, check out:
Chick-Fil-A's Environmental/Sustainablilty Mission Statement.

Chick-Fil-A's blog post "Inside Chick-Fil-A: From Cup to Bench"

Image from http://inside.chick-fil-a.com/video-from-cup-to-bench/; video from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lWBq6zv_l_w

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

11 Dynamite Sites for #Eco Lesson Plans

We've all seen the "Keep Calm and..." memes.  How about if we went a li'l environmentally crazy:

Here are 11 dynamite sites where you can "go eco" and find environmentally-oriented lesson plans:


Lesson Plans from EarthDay.org

Read-Write-Think: Reading and Writing About Pollution to Understand Cause and Effect
Global Environmental Issues: What Are the Worst 9 Environmental Issues Globally? 

Discovery Education:  Protecting our Planet

EekoWorld @ PBS Kids

Learning to Give, Earth Connections (A site dedicated to philanthropy education)

Science Lots of Lessons

BrainPop Educators:  Water Pollution Lesson Plans

Teach Engineering:  What's Air Got to Do With It?


Image from https://www.shbarcelona.com/blog/en/tourism-internship-with-go-eco/

Saturday, January 30, 2016

No Impact, Man?!

When you hear the words "no impact," what does that mean?

Well, if you go online and search out a definition for "impact," this is what you get:

"noun:
1. the striking of one thing against another; forceful contact; collision: The impact of the colliding cars broke the windshield.

2. an impinging: the impact of light on the eye.

3. influence; effect: the impact of Einstein on modern physics.

4. an impacting; forcible impinging: the tremendous impact of the shot

5. the force exerted by a new idea, concept, technology, or ideology: the impact of the industrial revolution.verb (used with object)

6. to drive or press closely or firmly into something; pack in.

7. to fill up; congest; throng: A vast crowd impacted St. Peter's Square.

8. to collide with; strike forcefully: a rocket designed to impact the planet Mars.

9. to have an impact or effect on; influence; alter: The decision may impact your whole career. The auto industry will beimpacted by the new labor agreements.verb (used without object)

10. to have impact or make contact forcefully: The ball impacted against the bat with a loud noise.

11. to have an impact or effect: Increased demand will impact on sales."

"NO Impact" clearly means the opposite.

Which lands us upon "No Impact Man."


"No Impact Man" was a movie, documentary, experiment on NOT making an impact on the environment.  Like I said: it's a book, it's a movie, it's a blog.  It could even be called a way of life.

There's even a follow-up with "How To Be Alive: A Guide to the Kind of Happiness that Helps the World"

It even made its way to the world of podcast (and a very good one at that):  "The Good Life Podcast, Colin Beavan: No Impact Man on How to Be Alive"

From Bill McKibben via Amazon:  "This is the book where self-help turns into helping the world—and then turns back into helping yourself find a better life. Fascinating and timely!"

A good read I can't wait to read!  Or watch!


You can buy the movie from the website, or rent or buy it from Amazon.


Dictionary definition from http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/impact; Images from http://noimpactproject.org/experiment/ and http://envs1010f11.bgsu.wikispaces.net/Alex+Hoffman; video from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z9Ctt7FGFBo

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Brrrrrilliant Blizzardarious Lesson Plans

It's no surprise to anyone that the Eastern has been dumped with snow.  A LOT! This past weekend was a blizzardarious 48 hours worth of wind, blowing snow, drifts, and ever-falling snow.  To look at one falling snowflake, you wonder how in the world it can be an item of such peril. Then you ponder how many millions, billions of snowflakes are out there, piled up!

While contemplating all of that, with all that gift of time (and equally wonderful gift of snow days), teachers start thinking about the way to incorporate all those snowflakes in topical, seasonal lesson plans.

If that's you, here's a few lesson plans that might come in handy:

Free Tech 4 Teachers: Lots of Lessons About Winter Weather
Richard Byrne includes quite the collection of resources all in one post on the hottest cold topic of the week. Some of the topics he includes are:

  • A multitude of activities from Scholastic (including the Interactive Weather Maker)
  • A video explaining the Wind Chill Formula
  • A video from Minute Earth entitled "This is Your Brain on Extreme Weather"
  • A video from Bytesize Science entitled "The Chemistry of Snowflakes"
  • A video from Minute Physics entitled "Why the Full Moon is Better in Winter"
  • And a list of some fun things to do in the snow (which always includes igloo making!)

Education World:  A Blizzard of Winter Lessons
Education World has "shoveled up" (their words) links for 2 dozen sites which directs you to over 50 cross-curricular activities, with approximate grade levels next to each link.

Just In Weather  Baltimore Snow History: Breaking Pattern Of Storms
In the neighborhood of more information than lesson plans, we have Justin Berk's weather site with news on the pattern of storms over the past 2 decades or so.  Baltimore apparently has a history of a major snowstorm (or two) every 3-4 years.  This year, however, it broke that pattern!  In checking out the snow measurements at the cusp of this storm, I was struck with how this would make a great graphing project to take that chart, and then add in the numbers of this storm.  Topping out at 29.2 inches of snow here in my neck of the woods, it certainly was a recordbreaking doozy. Have students jump on Excel, Numbers, Google Sheets, or the Create-a-Graph website. What a great real-world math problem and STEM connection!


Snow photos from the toasty comfort of my house; "Big Baltimorre Snowstorms" chart from http://news.justinweather.com/2016/01/22/baltimore-snow-history-breaking-pattern-of-storms/

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Reflecting on Our Fall Hour Of Power

Two months ago inspiration struck as a result of a 2-day technology conference I attended in Boston. A weekend of creating and computing, we rolled out both a S'more website and the post "Sharing our Planet: Hour of Power."

Upon unleashing the project with the students, you know it's successful when they start complaining when it's time to leave for the day.

As we were wrapping up our inquiries, investigations, and final projects right before the holidays, we ended with a reflection on our 8+ weeks of our "Hour of Power:"  Yes, we all learned a lot from the studies on oil spills, water pollution, deforestation, methane plumes, world hunger, clean drinking water, overfishing, and more. Yet, the student reflections below (in addition to their projects) showcased their creativity, collaboration, and level of engagement during this process.  

Hour of Power Reflection

We started our “Hour of Power” with the hopes of giving each of you the opportunity to explore a topic related to the environment that is important to you. Take some time to reflect on everything we did from:

· brainstorming environmental issues
· thinking about a topic
· creating inquiry questions to investigate
· researching
· taking action & making a personal action plan
· creating a project
· including technology
· and presenting our project.

  • "'Hour of Power' was very fun, interesting and educational to me...I think it was fun trying to get other people involved in helping this situation because I feel like other people are going to be interested in it." ~ L
  • "'Hour or Power' was a gigantic project full of excitement, fun, and tough times... My partner was awesome, especially because we got to bounce ideas off each other, and helped each other improve our own ideas." ~ J1
  • "I really enjoyed being able to pick our partners and topic." ~ C1
  • "It was a good way to learn about our environment.... We accomplished a lot." ~ N1
  • "My favorite part was when we made our documentary video. I found the editing very challenging.... I am especially proud of our documentary..... I would love to do it again." ~ N2
  • "In the end of the editing, it was worth the work, even though it took a lot of time... I am super proud of the documentary we made." ~ B
  • "I learned lots of facts in water pollution. I learned how much polluted water there is all over the world and who it affects."  ~ N3
  • "I felt it encouraged others to think about not using water that they have been using unwisely. Also, it will make them save water because they know someone has less or unhealthy water." ~ M
  • "I think our topic is important because when one problem starts, another starts and another. So if you can help our problem, we can help to avoid more problems. I learned that there are many other environmental problems than pollution, and other major problems." ~ S
  • "I was not aware of how bad overfishing is. I did not know overfishing is right where we live!" ~ K
  • "One thing I enjoyed about Hour of Power is that we came up with over 25 facts about water pollution! HOP really educated me about problems in the world." ~ G
  • "I think working with my partner was good because he had a lot of determination for this project. He and so ended up being really successful....I learned that world hunger is one of the biggest problems in the world and kills a child every 5 seconds." ~ R1
  • "My group and I worked really well together. We stayed on topic, we used our time wisely, and our final project turned out great! I wouldn't change a thing!" ~ J2
  • "I liked working with a partner and choosing something I thought mattered to me. I also enjoyed the creative part like the action plan." ~ R2
  • "The part that I was most proud of in the outcome of the scripts. They included facts, humor, and most importantly what new information we learned... We learned that many of the marine animals suffer from all the trash that people drop--some on accident, some on purpose." ~ M1
  • "It is important to inform and persuade people about safe, clean drinking water because a lot of people die from it and it is terrible. I learned that environmental issues can cause a lot of things to happen to our environment." ~ C2
  • "It felt good when we were taking action to take inform people about our problem... If we could do it again, I would definitely do this because I liked having the choice on everything and to be able to use a lot of technology." ~ P
  • "I have learned that one environmental issue leads to another." I think that is important for people to know....it was really nice focusing I what really matters to me an deciding where the project should be driven....This project has provided an experience that has changed me to be more aware if environmental issues." ~ G2
Nearly all of the students mentioned being so proud of the work they did... and how much they both learned and enjoyed the process.  That is the part that truly stands out!!  Will we do another Genius Hour?  More than one student requested that we do!  Time will tell!


Image from our S'more website & Hour of Power paperwork.