We have finally done it. At school, we have finally launched our Green Project.
There are so many components to the Green School Project, including fundraising projects and changing the school community’s habits that I think I just have to summarize what has been done so far and how that’s going.
So far we have launched:
We have launched a Facebook page to share our project and its progress with our community and to share ideas with neighboring communities, encouraging participation of students, their families and community members. Still to come: Instagram and Twitter accounts for the Green School Project.
Our students are participating in Meat-Free Mondays. Students are encouraged to bring meat-free lunches every Monday and to learn about the impact that the animal agriculture industry has on the environment. My fifth grade students have written persuasive essays to convince their peers to participate in this initiative and have shared them on our project’s Facebook page. Students who come to school with meat-free lunches enter into a draw to win reusable water bottles and reusable lunch containers.
We have decided to make one-sided notebooks (notebooks made from paper that was used only on one side of the page) to do some fundraising for our school. To launch this part of the project, students throughout the school were asked to draw pictures that could be used as covers for the notebooks we would sell.
We wrapped up the drawing contest and are now in the process of collecting one-sided paper from around the school and the community to assemble the notebooks in order to begin selling them during the week of Earth Day
Memes and Signage
Students in my fifth grade class were asked to create memes and signs to promote our green school project and eco-literate thinking. These images will be displayed throughout the school and will also remind students to use less water, to turn off lights when they are not needed and to recycle various wrappings and containers from their lunches rather than throwing them into the trash.
The Green Team
The Green Team is a group of students from 4th to 6th grade who are implementing green project ideas in the school. We meet on a weekly basis and create posters, write some Kid-Friendly Meat Free recipe reviews to share with the school community and are doing some of the manual labor involved in implementing the Meat-Free Mondays contest.
Although we have a couple of green micro-projects underway, there are several more in planning, as well as bigger projects that will help to improve the learning environments of students.
Depending on the group and the level, students will be learning all about eco-literacy, global citizenship and eco-responsibility. Students in first grade will be using my Every Day is Earth Day pack to teach their students about what they can do to help protect the Earth. We still have a lot of discussing and planning for the month of April but we have a lot of ideas in the works that I will be very excited to share.
Litterbugs will be students who will be collecting trash and cleaning it up from the ground during recess time. They will also be walking around with trash collection bags or baskets to encourage their peers to dispose of their garbage appropriately. They will help me choose students who should receive brag tags for being so litter-responsible.
As with Meat-Free Mondays, students will be encouraged to bring their lunches and snacks in reusable containers, rather than in disposable ones. Students who participate in this challenge will be entered into a draw to win various prizes, which are still to be determined.
Increasing the Amount of Daylight in the Classroom
Studies show that there is a faster progression in math and in reading and an increase in overall performance in schools with good daylighting. In order to increase the amount of daylight the students have access to in the classroom, we will be painting the walls white, in order to improve the reflection of natural daylight into the classroom. We are also going to be changing the storage units and have closed, white shelving, to continue to increase the reflection of natural light. The added benefit of this type of storage is that it will also help to reduce the amount of dust that accumulates in the classroom, thus improving air quality.
In addition to the physical changes to the classroom, we will also be installing sensors that detect the amount of daylight that comes into the classroom to try to keep the light intensity consistent and maximize the use of daylight.
For more information of the positive effects daylight has on learning, click here
We are working on obtaining or building compost bins that we will keep in the school yard. Students from the Green Team will be responsible for the daily collection of compost and of disposing of it in our compost bins.
In the near future, when we will begin having sufficient amounts of compost, we plan on selling bags of compost to community members for fundraising and to increase community awareness and involvement in the project.
Stay tuned to learn more about the green project and the curriculum being implemented throughout the school.