Wednesday, April 24, 2013

ECS Earth Week: Days 1 & 2

I've said it before....a day is not enough for Earth Day at Eagle Cove School.  We need a week!

2013 is no different.

For a history of our Eagle Cove Earth Day, check the GTG archives for some great moments in our history (and there have been a slew).

Earth Week Day 1: Earth Day: Monday

Annually like clockwork, "green" author Jennifer Keats Curtis comes to talk about all of her amazing children's picture and non-fiction books. This year, our younger ones heard the tales as she read them; middle-aged kids get to hear of some of her experiences as an author who interviews a lot of environmentalists and were inspired to write their own story of animal rehabilitation (and 3rd graders even got to be animal rescuers by helping a little songbird find its way out of our room after it found its way in); and 4th and 5th graders Skyped with JKC's illustrator for 3 books, Laura Jacques. She inspired both the budding authors within our students AND the animal-loving eco-warrior!

Earth Week Day 2:  Tuesday

School friends Grace Episcopal Day School from Silver Spring, Maryland came our way and spent 4 hours with us doing a Water Walk (Did you know that many people world wide walk 6 km or approximately 3 miles to get fresh, uncontaminated water daily.  It does without saying that women and children are the ones who had to do this.  We carried a set amount of water for 3 treks down the causeway outside our school that runs adjacent to/across the Magothy River and outside our school.  We rotated in 5th and PreK/Kindergarteners, then 4th and 1st graders, then finally Grace's and ECS's 2nd and 3rd graders...all carrying the same water we transferred off to get a cumulative feel of 3 miles.  The water and I felt it.  8,000 steps on my pedometer later.... we had some minimal water loss, but loads of fun on campus doing eco-outdoor games while our walkers all carried on!
Click to play this Smilebox slideshow
                                                        Another free photo slideshow by Smilebox

The afternoon had us checking out some river wildlife and playing a fun migratory bird activity.  After Grace Episcopal had to bid adieu's on their bus and head back, we still had one more activity:  the solar power races. Each class designed a car out of recyclables.  Now all we had to do was wait for the sun to arrive, which it finally did around 2 pm!!  It was a heated race indeed.  Check out our Smilebox!

Click to play this Smilebox slideshow
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More to Come:  Earth Week Days 3, 4, and 5:  Can't wait for the student-led theatrical performance (with humor and music, of course!!) based on Dickens "A Christmas Carol"--aptly named "An Earth Day Carol."  Then we'll have musician in residence Linda Richards here to write Earth Day parodies with the classes, for our Friday grand finale concert!  Fun times still to come!  Stay tuned...

Photos from me and Jennifer Keats Curtis.  All Smilebox photos from my camera.

Monday, April 22, 2013

For Your Earth Day Viewing Pleasure

Happy Earth Day!

Here are 3 dandies for your Earth Day viewing pleasure.  May you learn a little bit along the way, and gain a new appreciation for this planet of ours!  More importantly, make every day Earth Day!

Join Tim and Moby as they explore "Humans and the Environment.  Free to viewers without subscription logins for a time being.

Constitution Hall Pass' "The Story of Earth Day:"
Great for middle and upper schoolers, and will take you on the historic road from Thoreau, Transcendentalism, and early environmentalism!

And of course there is this year's Google Doodle.

Images from

Sunday, April 21, 2013

The Unfortunate Nest

About a week ago, my family and I were at my daughter's soccer game, rooting for her during one of the first really nice days of spring.  My son, of course, was on the move, so I went to track him down every once and awhile.  He was hanging out by the baseball diamond, so I touched base with which point, he pointed up to the lights and said, "Hey mom, look at that!"

An osprey mom and pop (and we later saw little heads) were hanging out in the nest they had built on the lights.  The adults would fly out and back, perhaps looking for food.  What was almost more surprising and noticeable to my son was the flapping white plastic bag that was waving in the wind, as part of the nest.  (You can see it here in the picture as the white mass right under the osprey, which is in the top left hand corner of the lights structure.)

Osprey AdventureReminded me of the Jennifer Keats Curtis environmental children's book "Osprey Adventure."  In that story, Pete and his Dad ("Doc") find the exact same thing on a channel marker, though a blue bag rather than my white one.  Unlike me, Doc is a wildlife expert who was trained to check osprey nests for trash (and successfully remove it without harming or scaring the bird).  Not to mention, at the height of the lights, there was little I could do about the situation other than discuss it with my son.  Lucky for him, he's got an eco-warrior for a mom, and was already schooled in the perils of plastic.

Lucky for us both, Jennifer Keats Curtis will be visiting us this week at Eagle Cove School for our Earth Week (because one Earth Day just isn't enough at our Maryland "Green" School).

To get schooled more in the "perils of plastic" and "Osprey's Adventure" (a great book), check out the following links.  (Note to self:  If you see plastic trash floating about or laying around, pick it up and dispose of it properly to keep it out of the way of wildlife!!)

Osprey Nest image from my camera this April, "Osprey Adventure" pic and photo of Jennifer Keats Curtis from

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Earth Day Ahead: Greening STEM

We're 2 "sleeps" away from Earth Day, which be Monday, April 22nd.

We're also wrapping up EE Week (Environmental Education) week, which typically is the week prior to Earth Day (April 14--20 this year).   Below is a great infographic on this year's EE Week theme:  Greening STEM:  Taking Technology Outdoors.  Additionally, here are some interesting facts from their website.
  • 75% of 1,900 surveyed educators said students who spend regular time outdoors tend to be more creative & better problem-solvers. 
  • 77% of teachers believe using tech in the classroom increases student motivation to learn.
So whether math and and technological documentation are involved in measuring rainfall, school electricity usage, planting, or more, there are a lot of great tie ins with science.

Here are some of EE's "Greening Stem" resources:

Infographic from, Earth Day image from

Wednesday, April 17, 2013


As a visual person, I am a Pinterest nut!  It is completely my style of bookmarking. There is so much out there...and in this Earth Day Season, I have found so many goodies!  A trip to my EcoMania board will have you in Earth Day Heaven!

To check out some of my other boards, investigate:

*   EdTech     *       IPadLandia     *  
Good Brain Space     *      Marvy Math Ideas   
*      School Stuff:  Common Core       *  

To just find me in general over at Pinterest (as I have a bundle of boards on a boatload of topics), be sure to check out my link: here.  Happy Earth Day planning!!

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Great Day For an Eco Fair

This past weekend I went to an Eco Fair at Bodkin Elementary School in my hometown.  Kids, parents, teachers, vendors, musicians, and community members all gathered together for a fun day o'green.

The goal:  to raise environmental awareness at this Maryland Green School since 2007.

Here are just a few of the folks who were there:  Chesapeake Bay Foundation, Anne Arundel County Recycling, Eagle Cove School, the Anne Arundel County Watershed Stewards, and some community business.  There were crafts, raffles, yummy stuff, music, and more.

One of my favorite highlights:  my son working up a sweat on the "Smoothie Bicycle."  His muscle power is what blended the ice, banana, and strawberries! A neat treat indeed!!

Pictures from my camera from Bodkin's Eco Fair.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Speaking for the Trees

Earlier this week I wrote about  the children's book "For the Birds," the biography of Roger Tory Peterson.

As I mentioned then, we all know that the Lorax speaks for the trees.  Well, the Lorax is not alone.

One could also argue that John Muir, founder and the first president of the Sierra Club does as well.  In fact, a Californian grove of redwoods near San Francisco (the Muir Woods National Monument) was named in 1908 in his honor.

Today, in class, I started reading my annual Earth Day Season favorite:  "Operation Redwood" by S. Terrell French.  I was struck by the 2 opening book quotes:
John Muir painting by Colleen Veyna"The battle we have fought, and are still fighting, for the forests is part of the eternal conflicts between right and wrong, and we cannot expect to see the end of it...  So we must count on watching and striving for these trees, and should always be glad to find anything so surely good and noble to strive for."  ~ John Muir, 1895
"Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where Nature may heal and cheer and give strength body and soul alike."  ~ John Muir, 1912 
To learn more about John Muir and to "speak for" the trees, check out these sites:

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Earth Day Is on Its Way Bulletin Boards

Here are two great sights around Eagle Cove School as we get prepped for Earth Day, a mere 12 days away!!  In fact, at ECS, our Earth Day evolves into a whole week!  To learn a little bit about our past Earth Weeks, click here.

Pictures taken from my camera @ Eagle Cove School.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Who Speaks For the Birds?

Thanks to Dr. Seuss (and now Universal Pictures due to the 2012 movie), we know that the Lorax speaks for the trees. If the Lorax speaks for the trees, then who is it that speaks for the birds?

The answer to that is Roger Tory Peterson. Not sure who that is...odds are high you already know, especially if you ever picked up any sort of pocket sized, Peterson field guide. The very first ever written was the Peterson bird book "A Field Guide to the Birds," published in 1934.  His simplified system of sketches, prominent & distinguishing field markings, and brief descriptions became known as the "Peterson Identification System."  This system is now used from reptiles, to seashells, more!!

When reading Peggy Thomas' children's picture book "For the Birds:  The Life of Roger Tory Peterson," you will find it chock-full of a bevy of bird metaphors and similes, you get to see budding naturalist Roger in action as a small boy and follow him through adulthood.  In following him, you can see how he followed his passion for birding and creating an easier method of classifying them.

Given his attention to conservation, his voice out against DDT in the middle 20th century, and his help in getting it banned in 1972, it perhaps is not surprise the Roger Tory Peterson's tombstone reads "Birds cannot speak for themselves.  I must speak for them."

To learn more about Roger Tory Peterson, or build your own love of bird watching this Earth Day season, be sure to check out:

--Peggy Thomas' book "For the Birds"

--The Roger Tory Peterson Field Guide Site

--The Roger Tory Peterson Institute of Natural History

--Birding apps for iPhones
"The other creatures with which we share this world have their rights too, but not speaking our language, they have no voice, no vote; it is our moral duty to take care of them."  ~ Roger Tory Peterson

Portrait from
Book Picture from 

Monday, April 8, 2013

Move & Groove & Do the "Recycle Robot"

Teachers know that music and movement make for a stellar combo when trying to inspire students, both with engagement and learning content.

Here's a great way to move and groove this Earth Day.  Have your youngsters do the "Recycle Robot."

Video from

Sunday, April 7, 2013

The Story of Significance & Service

Today walking out of church, I saw the same sign that I see each week in the vestibule:

Each week I'm struck by how it is a spiritual testament beyond church alone, that spreads to both environmentalism and human nature. It speaks the message of Earth Hour, Earth Day, and most religions through its message of peace and prosperity.  If each one of us does one thing to work to make our world better, think of how beautiful it could be.

Speaking that same message is this 7 minute video entitled "A New Story of the People" from SustainableMan.  The premise:  the more we change the story, our human story, from one of separateness to one of connectedness, the more we will see the significance, the serendipity, the synchronicity that surrounds us.  It's a story worth watching, and a better story worth living here in this post-Easter, pre-Earth Day season.
Quote poster from Video from

Saturday, April 6, 2013

To Infinity...I Mean "Earth Day Network"....and Beyond!

Perhaps at the center of "all things" Earth Day is the Earth Day Network.
There, you can do a boatload of please do!

--Take part in "A Billion Acts of Green"

--Learn a little bit about the "Earth Day Concept"

--Follow "The Earth Day Network's Education" thread and learn all about them.

--Check out an informational video about how Earth Day 2013's theme is "The Face of Climate Change"

Video from, Logo from Earth Day Network

Friday, April 5, 2013

50 Ways To Take A Break

With it being Friday, and the air actually feeling like spring might truly be near, it's a great time to take a break!

Here in this season of Earth Day ahead, here's a poster that's just perfect for inviting a bit of rest and relaxation!  Happy Weekend!
How many ways will you hit this delightful spring weekend?!

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Singing the Earth Day Song

In this month of Earth Day, here's a fun find that will get your students geared up in song...or inspired to create on of their own to sing along!  A Pinterest find, which takes you back to HotChalk Lesson Plan Page--a song written by Sandra Moyer and the third graders of A.W. James Elementary School in Drew, Mississippi.

Title – Earth Day Song     
tune: “If You’re Happy and You Know it…”

If you love our world, clap your hands (clap, clap)
If you love our world, clap your hands (clap, clap)
If you love our world, really love our great big world; If you love our world, clap your hands! (clap, clap)

If you love our world, plant new trees (new trees!)
If you love our world, plant new trees (new trees!)
If you love our world, plant new trees for birds and bees; If you love our world, plant new trees! (new trees!)

If you love our world, recycle (recycle!)
If you love our world, recycle (recycle!)
If you love our world, then recycle and reuse; If you love our world, recycle! (recycle!)

If you love our world do your part (do your part!)
If you love our world do your part (do your part!)
If you love our world, really love our great big world; If you love our world, BE SMART! (be smart!!)

For kudos and credits, email song author Sandra Moyer ! Earth Day image (and a boatload of Earth Day ideas) from PlanetPals:

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Earth Day: Report Card Season

Report Card As students, we all knew our school truth came out on Report Card Day.

As parents, we all know that the real truth comes out on our youngsters on Report Card Day.

As teachers, we all know that it's time to say it like it is--on Report Card Day.

Invite your youngsters (either in your classroom or in your household) the chance to turn the tables and let THEM fill out the report cards.  Check out "Runde's Room" over at Teachers Pay Teachers to download this free Earth Day Report Card.  There's a card for your classroom, a card for the entire school, and a third one for kids to take home for their own home audit.  It might make for a nice way to give some kudos for the things you are doing that are Earth Day friendly, and it'll certainly open some eyes about some ways you can move you up the grading scale!

"Report Card" image from; Earth Day Report Card image from

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

You Know What April Means--Earth Day is On Its Way!

We've made it past April Fool's Day (which is always a trip in the elementary classroom)!   Baby New Year has come and gone.  So has Cupid and the Easter Bunny.  The first signs of spring are cropping up, meaning spring has officially sprung.  That can only mean one thing.  Earth Day is on the way.  A mere 20 days from now, Monday, April 22nd will be upon us.  It will mark the 43 years since its birth in 1970 by then-US Senator Gaylord Nelson from Wisconsin.

As a way of paying tribute to this holiday of environmental awareness, I thought it might be good to do a daily share of some of the many finds I'm finding out there.  The wealth of information and resources are huge.  We just all need to reach out and grab them.  So here's my nudge...grab away!!

Here's a picture my sister-in-law snapped on a weekend get-away to Virginia at a local pub she visited.  Sums up the entire gist of Earth Day...especially when you look at the last line both in thinking about Mothers' Day next month AND in thinking about Mother Nature this Earth Day!

Earth Day Logo from; photo snapped a la sister-in-law!