Friday, April 22, 2011

A Very Full Earth Day-Bay Week

When you start the week with children's author Jennifer Keats Curtis coming to visit and inspire us to write, then on Day #2 having a double showing of an original "green" theatrical treat of an eco-remake of "The Wizard of Oz," you kind of wonder where on Earth you can go during Bay Week as you progress to Earth Day.  

Well, let me tell you, there was no disappointment anywhere.  At Eagle Cove School, we were the eagles that just kept soaring!!

This week, we wrote letters to the director of Anne Arundel County Recycling as well as our county executive about why it was important to modify our recycling bins so as not to let a windy day pollute our bay.  We wrote Earth Day Haikus (which is trickier than it sounds) for the Earth Day Haiku Contest (co-sponsored by PlanetPals, The Haiku Society of America; With Words; and Sketchbook Haiku Journal), we've been reading Operation Redwood by S. Terrell French as our read aloud, we studied "rivers" in social studies and talked about the many ways rivers can be polluted.  

And then, the week, really rocked!  Quite literally!!
A major part of our Bay Week the last 4 years has involved a special visit from Linda Richards ( Trekking down from NY state, Linda is a singer-songwriter-mega environmentalist extraordinaire.  Musically, she's amazing, but the truly fun part is that she gets each classroom together and inspires them to write "eco" parodies of familiar tunes and turns them into performers after a short half hour.  

So Wednesday, she had a whirlwind of a day, hitting up all 7 of our PreK to 5th grade classrooms, putting everyone into creation-mode.  Then Thursday, the Bay Week Concert occurred where, for an hour and half, we were in an environmental musical mecca!!  Singing old favorites from past years when she's been to visit (my personal favorite = "Garbage, Garbage, Garbage, GARBAGE") ... to sharing the newly ECS-created tunes.  Truly, I may have to digress later in another blog entry about the great, showstopping tunes she shared!!
But WAIT!  There's More!!

Given a winter of over-used snow days, we had to attend school today (Good Friday) for a half day.  However, when this day is also Earth Day, we knew how to soften the blow!  In honor of March 22nd's World Water Day, we broke our student population into 3 groups:  PreK/Kindergarten, 1st and 2nd, and 3rd--5th.  We led each group on a one-mile "Water Walk" with 5 buckets that as a total held 2 gallons of water.  Our mission:  to walk approximately that 3.7 mile journey that over 1 billion people world wide walk daily in search of clean drinking water.  Using teamwork and just plain determination, the youngest of our clients felt it the most, revealing that it was much harder than they originally thought.  
I had the perspective of seeing it all as I walked all 3+ miles, and even a fourth grader commented that although it wasn't really heavy, the pressure of the weight really wore on your arm.  There's no way to see someone else's life until you walk a mile in their shoes, and we did just that!!  We managed our mission with only a few drops lost; but even more, we worked as a community to get things done, gaining empathy as we went.  While the water walkers walked, the other 2 groups took part in community-building group games with our science teacher, Tim Decker, and Linda Richards.  True, little "book learnin'" took place during that hour and a half or so, but the life lessons were rich and community-building/awareness skills-learning were endless!

Disneynature: Oceans (Blu-ray/DVD Combo)
After our water victory, we united as a group in the auditorium to watch the Disneynature: Oceans.  Narrated by Pierce Brosnan, the movie has a very "David Attenborough" feel. In watching it, you get a sense of the vastness of the ocean!  The imagery is amazing...from diving dolphins to amazing octopus to soaring seabirds at a sardine smorgasbord!  It truly is amazingly mind-boggling the number of fish in a school!  Secondarily amazing was the sight of a gym/auditorium filled with 4 to 10  year olds in theatre darkness, completely glued to this nature movie, rooting for the baby sea turtles as they were making their way to the water while trying to escape the looming seabirds!!

All in all, our Earth Day/Bay Week at Eagle Cove School, the Maryland "Green" School I call home, was a grand success.  Once again, we managed to top the previous year!  For a time, you wonder if you'll be able to top it next year--at this point, I know we will!  

Happy Earth Day!

Images from:
Earth Day:; Earth Day Eagle:; Earth Stamp:; Oceans:; All other pics from my camera!

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