Saturday, April 29, 2023

Nature Activities for Kids

Because Earth Day should really be everyday....

Because spring has spring.... 

Because kids need to be outside more and get more Vitamin N...

And because I absolutely love this graphic....

graphic from

Wednesday, April 26, 2023

Just in Time for Earth Day: Revitalizing Our Nation’s Commitment to Environmental Justice for All

On Earth Day this past Saturday, I was delighted to run across this post on social media from the Plastic Pollution Coalition.

I love that the White House issued this the day before Earth Day! As I have learned more and more over the past decade about environmentalism, it has been striking how much a part of it is tied to environmental justice. NIMBY is a real thing, and it impacts black and brown communities and those less affluent in many ways! 

NIMBY, by the way, stands for "not in my backyard," which is a philosophy of many of where we want -- and need -- different global solutions, but people don't want them in their backyard. Classic examples include subsidized housing, waste facilities, factories, wind or solar farms, homeless shelters, and more. Typically the ones complaining and who are heard, are also the ones with power, influence, voice, money, and majority. So more often than not, these items appear in lower income neighborhoods, where the negative impacts affect minorities disproportionately to those in the majority. Additionally, these populations also feel the greater impact of climate change.

Hence the need for environmental justice!

To read the White House Fact Sheet of Biden's Executive Order, Revitalizing Our Nation’s Commitment to Environmental Justice for All, click here.

Additionally, among the many facets of the executive order, Biden and the EPA have released the draft for "National Strategy to Prevent Plastic Pollution." Open to the public for comment, this 41 page document (that you can access online), highlights the following 3 quoted objectives and proposed actions from page 1 of the document:

  1. Reduce pollution during plastic production
  2. Improve post-use materials management
  3. Prevent trash and micro/nanoplastics from entering waterways and remove escaped trash from the environment.

Marine pollution is certainly a problem that even if we tackle it today, there is pollution and waste that is out there that will still make its way into waterways over time. 

Commitment such as both of these major moves is worth celebrating and I'm proud that Biden and the EPA unleashed it right during Earth Day season. It's time we start making forward movement collectively in favor of our planet!

Facebook post from and and

Wednesday, April 19, 2023

Earth Day Videos You've Been Looking For

With Earth Day this Saturday ahead, odds are high that classrooms all over are talking about Earth Day either this week or even next ... or both. Here are some last minute visual finds that might be just what you are looking for in your classroom, no matter what level you teach:

Early Elementary

You can also find more at this link to SimplyKinder.

Middle to Upper Elementary

Middle School, High School, or Older

Earth Day Animated in 5 minutes is also pretty cool. Click here to watch as the creator does not allow playback on other websites.

Image created on and Videos from:;; and

Saturday, April 15, 2023

Earth Day Is On The Way 2023

Earth Day is on its way--a week away in fact. Since its inception in 1970, we have now collectively spent over 5 decades using April 22nd as a day to honor, serve,  care for, and protect our planet. 

Here are a few things going on in my elementary tech world this week:

My Kindergarten students will be learning a little bit about Google Docs by creating an Earth Day poster.

Both my 1st and 2nd graders will be using Scratch Jr. and coding to highlight our planet. I'll be having first graders code nature in action with active sentences to show animals in their natural habitat doing what they do. My second graders will get a list of sentences about things they can do to take care of the Earth like recycling, saving energy, carpooling, and more.

With some of my older elementary students, we'll be investigating Scratch to code and create a Google Doodle Logo in an eco-theme with one grade and making Earth Day mazes with another.

With Earth Day a week away, it's not too late to plan either high, low, or no-tech activities to tie in.

  • Not to mention...there's always a wealth of information and ideas at Earth Day Network. Included in their resources are some pretty amazing toolkits on a variety of subjects.

Whatever you do for Earth Day, I hope it takes you outdoors, brings about the sharing of awareness, and environmental stewardship! Even better...make it more than the day. Make it Earth Week, Earth Month, or a daily goal to do a little something all year long!

Image from and

Wednesday, April 12, 2023

WWF "Untangled"

Straight from World Wildlife Fund comes Untangled--a focus on nature-based solutions to many problems. What are these? It's a way of using the biological philosophies of nature to help solve nature's problems. It often seems we try to work AGAINST nature when it comes to solving global problems, rather than learning FROM nature. You can learn more about Untangled here.

WWF has created a playlist of 7 Untangled videos. These short videos give nature-based solutions to 7 environmental issues. Watch the playlist in total above, or click each link below.
(3 min., 36 sec.)

(4 min., 28 sec.)
(3 min., 16 sec.)

Saturday, April 8, 2023

Happy Easter

 For those of you who celebrate Easter, may this spring season and your holiday be a joyous one.

"Spring adds new life and new joy to all that is." - Jessica Harrelson

Image from

Wednesday, April 5, 2023

Saving the Planet, One Video Game at a Time

As I was writing about the draw of board games to activate environmental stewardship a bit ago, it got me thinking. We live in a digital world. What about video games?

No surprise...there's a wealth.

And there's some interesting science and articles behind it too, which can be found in these articles: 
  • Nico King's December 2020 article 20 Incredible Environmental Games from the Last Decade addresses the following topics: What are environmental games? What are the Different Types and Themes of Environmental Games? Why do we Play Environmental Games? List of 20 Environmental Games from 2010 - 2020, and How can Today's Video Games Help the Environment?
With the reach that the digital gaming industry has (1 in 3 people worldwide), it's no surprise that it serves as a venue to enlighten and inspire people about environmental issues.

One notable game is Playing 4 the Planet. It was launched in the fall of 2019 by the United Nations Environment Programme at the UN Secretary-General's Climate Action Summit. Playing 4 the Planet was an approach to heighten the awareness of the Sustainable Development Goals.  It is partnered with Games for Good, where the purpose is to create games with social change as central to the game.

Here is a list of other environmentally-themed video games. This list is by no means exhaustive, and no doubt more are coming all the time. Remember: not all games are kid friendly, so please do your research. Common Sense Media is a great place to do this.

ABZÛ -- Theme: Ocean Education

Alba: A Wildlife Adventure -- Themes: Environmental and Wildlife Education 

Anno 1800 -- Themes: Biodiversity and Climate Change

Beyond Blue -- Theme: Ecological Education

Bleached Az -- Themes: Ocean Pollution and Climate Change

Eco -- Themes: Conflict Resolution and Natural Resource Management

Fate of the World --Theme: Global Management

Fort McMoney -- Theme: Conflict Resolution

FutureCoast -- Themes: Climate Change and Climate Fiction

Get Water! -- Theme: Water Management

GreenSpace --Theme: Waste Management

Habitactics -- Theme: Wildlife Education

Horizon: Forbidden West -- Themes: Deforestation and Climate Change

Ice Flows -- Theme: Climate Change

Lumino City -- Theme: Renewable Energy

Morphy! -- Theme: Wildlife Education

Never Alone -- Themes: Cultural Awareness and Environmental Education

Niche -- Theme: Wildlife Education

Plasticity -- Themes: Waste Management and Recycling 

Save a Rhino -- Theme: Wildlife Conservation

Save the Park -- Theme: Environmental Education

Terra Nil -- Theme: Natural Resource Management

Working with Water -- Theme: Water Management

World Rescue -- Theme: Global Management

WWF Free Rivers -- Themes: Ecological and Geographical Education

Image created at

Saturday, April 1, 2023

Soaking in Spring

I'm blessed to live in the Metropolitan DC area, which puts a lot of amazing places just a stone's throw away. 

I'm also incredibly lucky in that our school provides a 2 week spring break, which opens up a lot of time for adventures. During my recent two weeks break, I had the perfect mix of reading, writing, road trips, home improvements, sleep, exercise, and decent weather. That combination always makes for a nice deep level of rest, recuperation, and revitalization.

One of the many road trips took me on a day adventure to Washington, DC right at the height of the cherry blossoms and peak bloom. While photos never do true beauty justice, here's a compilation of the visual awe of the day. Even though I've been to DC many times, some of the scenes, especially in the spring, never disappoint.

I've written before about the importance of travel, yet it always bears repeating. We become stagnant if we stay in the same place with the same exposures all the time. It opens our eyes and our hearts in so many new ways. We live life more fully in the moment, creating lasting memories while we soak it all in. Our heightened senses help widen our perspective as we take on new experiences and sometimes even new cultures... even here in our own country or even neighborhoods in our own cities. 

As the weather starts turning nicer and our days start getting longer, this is the perfect time to embark on an adventure or ten. Find some new places to patter about, and soak it all in this spring. Especially more and more as I reflect on the passage of the 3 year anniversary of the start of the Covid pandemic and all the remote life that led us to live, it seems more and more like we need to get back out and experience new places. I'm blessed that I was able to do that this break--both close to home and far away. We need the novelty to break through our boredom!

Photos from my computer and compiled using iPad app PicEdu.