Sunday, October 30, 2011

Series 7 Billion: The 1st of 7

October 31 is more than just Halloween. 
According to the United Nations, it's the anticipated date where the global population reaches a record
7 billion people.

That's a lot of people... and it makes a large global impact. In honor of that, National Geographics is doing a year long special series.  You can check it out at their website link here, where you can also check the running population total as it makes its way to 7 billion.or they have an exquisite iPad app you can download for free, for a limited time.  Their Video really also brings some powerful numbers visually to your attention.  Watch below, or at YouTube.

Another place to peruse if you are in pursuit of more information about what 7 billion looks like and what it means is DC's Museum of Natural History.  They have a great exhibit, and it's a good one to see if you are in the DC area and able to check out this part of the Smithsonian Institute.  We were there about 2 or 3 weeks ago, and were able to visit their exhibit dedicated to reaching 7 billion people.  Here are some of our pictures of that outing. 

Also, stay tuned the next week or so as we do our own series of sharing resources regarding our explosive 7 billion population!
Video from; pics from our camera!!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Bein' Green, This Halloween

Ask just about any kid in America what the upcoming holiday is this Monday, and they'll look at you like you're nuts if you don't know. 

Halloween 2010: Me as book
character "Michael Recycle"

It's Halloween Season!  Costumes are chosen, laid out, and ready to be worn for trick-or-treating.  Candy consumption no doubt is up!  Kids are prepped and ready!
Even though the colors of Halloween are traditionally orange and black, it's pretty easy to add some green in there too.  Wondering how to go from a "dark and spooky Halloween" to a "darkened green Halloween?"  Check out some of these links below to green your Halloween routine... and worst case scenario, mark your 2012 calendar to plan ahead with some of these great idea.
Me, Halloween 2009 as
Terracycle's Capri Sun Queen

(including the Plastic Creeps Contest)

Pictures of me, from my digital scrapbook; Plastic Free Halloween, from

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Just a Dream? Just a Reality

You know your message is getting across, when one of your students... one of your 3rd graders.... someone who's only been hanging out with you for 2 months at this point in the school year, comes to you, all a-lit.  

The scenario:  The class came back from Library class today, with books in tow.  One of my gals, the one who returned all a-glow, came up to me to share what she'd found.  The book:  "Just a Dream" by Chris Van Allsburg.  She couldn't wait to tell me all about it, and it's environmental theme.  She just knew I'd appreciate Walter, his wayward litterbug ways, his dream of an environmentally-trashed world and his realization of his role as a major contributer to this world.  In the light of the day the next morning, Walter has a new vision, and a new way of living.

I was touched by the fact that my 3rd grade gal-pal couldn't wait to hear what my thoughts were on her book choice.  It was important to her because she knew all-things-green were important to me.  Not to mention, I totally agree--she's got great taste in literature!!

If you don't know this book...check it out.  Here are some other links for "Just a Dream," if you are looking for a way to integrated it into your classroom:

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Make a Difference Day

Make A Difference DayYesterday was "Make a Difference Day."   The 20th Anniversary of this "National Day o'Doing Good," in fact.

Sponsored by USA Weekend Magazine with the HandsOn Network & Newman's Own and held annually on the 4th Saturday of October, this is a day set aside as a day of volunteering, sharing, caring, and being a hands-on helper. 

A day to make a difference.

Hopefully you were out doing something in the world, working to make a difference through volunteering.  Of course, if you're just now learning about it today, all is not lost.  Here are some things you can do:

1.  Any day can be "Make a Difference Day."  Don't feel like: "Oh drat, I missed it.  Oh well."  Marking your calendar for next year is nice, but not enough.  Do something today, this week, this month to make a difference.  Some things on Eagle Cove School's upcoming agenda:  Collecting and delivering the surplus/extra Halloween candy for the pediatric oncology patients at Johns Hopkins, Making sandwiches for Happy Helpers for the Homeless, our weekly TerraCycle upcycling (chip bags, juice pouches, & Ziplocs) to keep them out of the landfill, gifts for the Angel Tree during the December holidays...

2.  Check out the Make a Difference Day Facebook page for some warm-fuzzy moments as you see how others shared of their time to help others.  Plus, maybe it will serve as inspiration for something you feel you can do.

3.  Check out the USA Weekend page, USA Today, or the Hands On Network to see some additional feel-good stories about how united our United States (and beyond) can be, working to help out a fellow neighbor.

4.  Check out the Make a Difference Day Tool Kit for more inspirational brainstorming... or to plan a mega volunteering activity for your neighborhood, workplace, church... or start planning ahead for next year.

5.  Get some other good ideas from the "United We Serve" webpage.

6.  Do something.  Anything.  Help.  You'll feel remarkable good for doing so!

Image from the Make A Difference Day Facebook Page:

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Kerpoof & Brainpop ~ United!

Last night, I participated in an online webinar co-sponsored by Brainpop and Kerpoof.  Although I've used BrainPop many times, and I knew a little bit about Kerpoof (see GTG's GETABC series:  "K = Kerpoof")... you won't believe what a difference an hour makes!

Doing the " my PJs" (as is on the Brainpop website's webinar promo, advertising their professional development), wasn't half bad either!!

To see the archive of what I saw ("Navigating the Writing Process with Kerpoof and BrainPOP"), check out their Upcoming Webinars and Webinar Achives. 

Here's a little "Go Green" poster I whipped up in about 15 minutes after the webinar.  I made it on Kerpoof, just to try it out with my new skills.  I used their "Make a Card" activity button, which is programmed with an Earth Day Card choice and all the associated icons.  It makes for a pretty impressive presentation! (Of course, hindsight does show I accidentally cropped out my final word "Day" on the "Earth Day" bubble, but you get the idea!!)

Not to mention, both sites have some super resources and lesson plans for teachers, and BrainPop has some great graphic organizers.
So my wheels are spinning as mental activities & plans are brewing.  My class set of login cards are created (what a nice Kerpoof-perk!), printed, laminated, and ready to hit the computer lab with my classroom of kiddos!

Images:  Kerpoof from, Brainpop from, and Go Green Kerpoof poster my design at

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

It All Adds Up ~ Capri Sun Face Value & Place Value

Last week I got a $130 check. Well, actually, it was given to me and my "partner in green" at school by our school's business manager. Even more specifically, it was a copy of the check that we had received...received from Terracycle. Why? It was a direct result of our efforts in upcycling juice pouches, glue sticks, Frito Lay chip bags, and Ziploc plastic bags.

At face value, $130 is a nice amount... perhaps not a memorable amount in a normal situation, but I am sure an amount that most people wouldn't pass it up. Yet, when you consider that each pouch, baggie, or stick that we rescue from the refuse bin warrants $0.02 each, that amount becomes a rather remarkable amount. Especially when you are talking about a school with a population under 100 students.

I think that this becomes the perfect teachable moment: Little acts do indeed add up. When my 3rd graders take part of the collection and counting process each week, they see that. (Sometimes through the "grodier" side of it!) When we use the juice pouches 5 or so weeks into school as a place value activity to show how 10 ones equals one group of tens, then 10 tens equals 100, and... oh wow... how that massive pile of juice pouches ultimately converts to ten groups of 100s, which equals 1,000.... they can indeed start to see how it all adds up.

When they see a $130 check that benefits our school, that comes from a multitude of 2¢ USED juice pouches (that were landfill-bound... that WE rescued for reuse... that we rescued from making its way to a waterway and ultimately the Great Pacific Garbage Patch of toxic trash)....  YES! It definitely adds up!

It's about then that the juice pouches start coming in (in bulk) from soccer game snacks and birthday parties... and the young activists are born.

Terracycle Banner image from; all other pics from my 3rd grade classroom.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

The Drastic Cost of Plastic

Anyone who has been following along for awhile knows I have a couple distinct sentiments:

1).  Styrofoam is evil.  (Which, I'll address/re-address on another day.)

2).  Plastic is pervasive, a waste of petroleum, and a drastic planetary disaster in the making.
I ran across the article, "The Bottled Water Risk: ‘Tapped’ Awareness Event" from Columbia University's Earth Institute's "State of the Planet" website.  The picture above was striking. What as great way to bring about awareness of the perils of the plastic bottle... and advertise the importance of the movie "Tapped."  I think this truck should be on tour in every city!!
When I was grabbing some green-stats to use in my QR Code Eco-Quiz Cards I wrote about last week, I ran across the statistic that only 2 out of every 10 plastic water bottles are recycled.  That's 20% folks.  That means 80% of water bottles are NOT recycled, but rather trashed, & become landfill fodder. In today's age and time, I find this highly remarkable and downright distasteful.  We know better.  We should be doing better.  There's no reason for us not to!

I haven't seen it yet, but "Tapped" is high on my Netflix Queue.  This trailer says it all... and hopefully it makes it a "must-see" on your queue too!

Truck Image from; "Tapped" image from

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Know Any Notable Environmentalists? Check out Chesapeake Bay Trust

Think of the people you know....odds are, someone in the mix is a pretty outstanding.  If that someone is a little green at heart, they just might be award-worthy.  The Chesapeake Bay Trust, a non-profit dedicated to the improvement and restoration of the Chesapeake Bay, annually offers grants galore.  CBF is are currently holding their award program for the 2012

So, ask yourself if you know a supreme environmental educator, a super eco-highschooler/college student, a superb steward of the Chesapeake Bay in your community, or if you know of a primo project that promotes the Bay. 

If you do, check out Chesapeake Bay Trust and their five environmental awards/scholarships for 2012.  Deadline for submission is December 16, 2011.  Click here to learn more!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Environmental Education QR Code Quizzes

You know the old commercial:  "He's cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs."  Well, in my classroom, my students are "crazy for QR Codes."
You know QR Codes, the box-like bar-scan codes like the one here.  (To learn more, check out GTG's "Q is for QR Codes").  Using Kaywa's QR code generator & books from my eco-library, I found some kid-friendly green-stats, and "QR-coded" them. 

qrcodeMy plan?  To monthly rotate the eco-jokes & green facts so that I have fresh statistics each month.  I foresee the iPads getting a workout, as well as some mental wheels turning as the kids realize the truth in the numbers.  To make a set of your own, check out my Slideshare document (click here, or find it below)... copy, cut out, laminate, grab a bar scanner, & away you go!
Images from:  Cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs:; QR Code: generated at Kaywa with my own text;  my classroom window with eco-stats cards; and the Slideshare document that I created, from

Monday, October 10, 2011

Keep the Sea Free of Debris Art Contest

Calling all's time for the annual "Keep the Sea Free of Debris" Art Contest.  NOAA is encouraging students to be creative to illustrate and highlight the problem AND the solution.  Enlighten your kids about the damaging effects of marine debris (also called "oceanic plastic pollution") and then inspire them to get artistic.  Deadline, October 21st.

For Classroom resources, go to NOAA Marine Debris' webpage.

Another great page to use as a resource to learn about the Great Pacific Garbage Patch and oceanic plastic pollution is on the Plastiki's webpage.

Anyone who wants to share you posters with Green Team Gazette, share them here!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Goodbye, Wangari Maathai, Part Deux

A Picture Is Worth A Thousand Words…Or, 1,000+ Trees
The earth was naked. For me the mission was to try to cover it with green. ~ Wangari Maathai
Continuing the focus this week on Wangari Maathai and her vision, here are 2 "must-reads" and one "must do" are on your list of things to do this week.  

1). On the GreenBelt Movement website, world leaders have left their condolences to Professor Wangari Maathai.  Amazing words from amazing people--check them out here.

2).  Share Wangari’s story with your class/kids by reading the book Wangari's Trees of Peace: A True Story from Africa (2008) by Jeanette Winter. Don’t forget to make time to read aloud the Author’s Note at the back of the book for some additional background information about how Wangari’s simple actions became a remarkable, far-reaching movement. Extend the activity by having your youngsters illustrate pictures or write essays of something they can do to help stop global warming. Urge them to follow in Wangari’s footsteps by choosing something seemingly small that could create monumental changes if everyone did the same.

3).  Check out and participate in the "Plant for the Planet: Billion Tree Campaign." Along the same vision of Wangari, the goal is to plant at  least a billion trees worldwide per year.  Pledge.  Plant.  Participate!  

Other great sites to learn more about Wangari Maathai and her vision of peace and environmentalism:
The Green Belt Movement (downloadable action guide filled with lots of teacher tips)

Taking Root: The Vision of Wangari Maathai (the film)

Friday, October 7, 2011

Goodbye, Wangari Maathai, Part One

On September 25th, sadness struck the environmental community. That was the day, last week, when Wangari Maathai passed away at the age of 71. In today's age, 71 isn't all that old, which leads to greater sadness.

Who was Wangari Maathai? Beyond being an environmentalist, she was a scientist, a professor, a teacher, a mother, a leader, a social justice/human rights activist, a peacemaker, and a Nobel Peace Laureate (in fact, the 1st black African Woman to do so). Additionally, she was the founder of the Green Belt Movement.

Imagine living the life of Wangari: Imagine a former day when your homeland was a beautiful tree-shaded country. Imagine leaving for several years to get your education, then coming back to find your homeland devoid of those lush trees, replaced by wilted & deteriorated plant life, with no shade for the harvest due to the blazing sun. Imagine wanting to do something about it.…then imagine doing it! This was the life of 2004’s Nobel Peace Prize winner, Wangari Maathai.

On June 5, 1977 on World Environment Day, after being in America for 6 years for schooling, Wangari gave birth to what was to become Kenya’s Green Belt Movement. It all started with the planting of trees, one at a time, along with encouragement to the women of her village. These women began following Wangari’s lead. This symbolic birth of one tree being set into the ground by one woman has become 30,000,000+ trees and many women over time. It brought pride & prosperity to the women of Kenya during a turbulent time of women’s rights in Africa. What a classic example of how one small move can end up resulting in something huge, something that can make a powerful impact.

What a classic example of a remarkable lady!!

Picture from

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Wise Words to Live With ~ Thank You, Steve Jobs

As we all get used to the sadness of the loss of Steve Jobs, co-founder of Apple Computers & Pixar Animation, here are some good words of Steve's to serve as guides to the rest of the days of our lives:
“You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something — your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.” ~Stanford commencement speech, June 2005

Final lines of Steve's speech:  "When I was young, there was an amazing publication called The Whole Earth Catalog, which was one of the bibles of my generation.... It was sort of like Google in paperback form, 35 years before Google came along: it was idealistic, and overflowing with neat tools and great notions....then when it had run its course, they put out a final issue. It was the mid-1970s, and I was your age. On the back cover of their final issue was a photograph of an early morning country road, the kind you might find yourself hitchhiking on if you were so adventurous. Beneath it were the words: “Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.” It was their farewell message as they signed off. Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish. And I have always wished that for myself. And now, as you graduate to begin anew, I wish that for you. Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish."  ~Stanford commencement speech, June 2005
To view the speech if you can't see it above, click here.  To see the speech in print form, go to:

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

A Year's Worth of Eco Fun Facts

Looking for more than an Earth Day's worth of eco-fun facts? How about a month's worth, or even a year's worth?  That's what EcoKids can give you.

EcoKids is Canada's Earth Day site that has a year's worth of fun. Download monthly eco-calendars like the one pictured above, check out the games and activities on the Kids' page, or find some great resources over on the Teachers' page (in both English AND French!). For more information about Eco Kids, see the video below.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Yes, it's true...I am a dog with a bone.  Your regularly scheduled "green" environmental educator has turned true and total "pink" since my 3 Day Walk experience.  I've got pink and breast cancer awareness on the brain. 

But, figuring I'm an educator, I figure if it's all in for education (with a side dish of activism), perhaps it's all okay.

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month
With that, here are some vital resources that will help highlight that fact, bringing greater awareness closer to hand:
Lifetime Television is airing a montage movie called "Five" with 5 stories of women and their experiences with breast cancer.  Each story is directed by a different big name in Hollywood:  Jennifer Aniston, Alicia Keys, Demi Moor, Patty Jenkins, and Penelope Spheeris.  Air dates to set the DVR for:  Mon., Oct 10 at 9 p.m., Tues., Oct. 11 at 1 a.m., and Sat., Oct. 15 at 8 p.m.
❤ For a great infographic about the facts and fiction of breast cancer in the United States, check out Lifetime's link here (pictured below, but minuscule!).

❤ For tips, facts, webinars and more about Understanding Breast Cancer, go to Komen's "Understanding Breast Cancer" page.

❤ Another site filled with a bounty of information:  The National Breast Cancer Foundation.
❤ Given 1 in 8 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer, take the time to do what you can for early detection:  get regular mammograms and do monthly self-checks. 

❤ There is a 98--100% 5-year survival rate for those who are diagnosed and treated during the earliest stages of breast cancer (numbers vary depending on the source).  Given that, early dectection is KEY!

"Five" Movie logo from
Breast cancer infographic from
Video from

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Still More Pink Than Green

Here, a week after participating in the Susan G. Komen 3 Day, 60 Mile Walk for a Cure for Breast Cancer, I'm still feeling more pink than green.  I am marvelling, especially as I've been going through a lot of my pictures, as to how much this accomplishment and experience have become a part of me.

In honor and memory of last Friday's opening ceremony for me & DC...and it being October 1st, the start of Breast Cancer Awareness Month.. I'm including Komen Spokeswoman Dr. Sheri Phillips and her very similar, very powerful speech from Boston's 3-Day.  View Part 1 and Part 2 here, or below: