Monday, April 21, 2014

Look Around Your School for Earth Day Treasure. Recycle. Reuse. Refurbish.

Contributed by Danielle Knight, Study All Knight

Around Earth Day we can't help but think about all the "stuff" we use in our lives on a daily basis that get thrown away. I especially do this at school. When it comes to teaching items, things can be expensive. A brand new teaching cart can run from $150-$400. And, if you prefer a cart with a bottom shelf, plastic, or maybe has a drawer, well then you are way out of any teacher's budget! 

One Teacher's Junk, Can be Another Teacher's Treasure!
In 2010: After several requests for a cart I was lucky to receive a dilapidated 35-ish year old full metal cart from the world languages department. I was fortunate though, there was not a cart in the building without an owner. This cart was an eye sore; it had scratches, rusted shelves and legs, lots of half-ripped stickers, questionable stains, and dented. But I didn't mind! It was all mine! I was ready to give it some TLC. So slowly, I began to use the cart for student's projects. But, then, it sat in my department office. Idle. Lonely, Cluttered. Collecting unwanted junk.

November, 2012: My co-teaching partners and I embarked on a journey, in a pilot program to teach with "secondary centers." All of a sudden we needed to be mobile with our folders, task cards, posters, index cards, markers, file crates, clip boards. Wall-ah! The cart was ready to rise to the occasion in the English department and house our centers and teaching materials.

Summer, 2013: Pinterest gave me inspiration, lots of hope, a dream. I saw lots of pins on how to refurbish old filing cabinets, old office chairs, stools, metal why not my cart? September, 2013: With the expertise of my physical education teacher husband (who has a summer painting business) we made a list of all the things I needed from Home Depot to complete the process: spray paint, blue tape, 4 bags, steel wool, and clear contact paper (optional) 

So here are the before and after pictures of our process in turning the cart into a viable and integral teaching center! ENJOY!
Here are some Earth Day teaching ideas for your classroom this week...
Grades 1-5. Once assembled your students will love that it will actually look like Earth! Lines up perfectly with numbered pages, dashed guidelines for cutting, and engaging pages with activities. 
  • Facts, history, and background about Earth Day
  • Reuse, Recycle, and Reduce 
  • Coloring and sorting activity
  • Puzzle & Writing Prompt pages
  • Acrostic Poetry page
  • Slogan and T-Shirt design page
Great for ELA, science, social studies, or health. CCSS Reading Informational Text, Writing, and Language. Recommended for grades 1-5. You know your students best. 
  • Display in your classroom on the wall...better yet, hang them in the hall in a showcase! 
  • Have the assessment due on April 22nd… which is Earth Day!
  • Earth Day is a great school holiday because all students will enjoy the celebration (there is no religious significance).
  • Earth Day is celebrated worldwide! 


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