Sunday, March 4, 2007

Teachers- Recycle Your Ideas!!

Teachers-- now is the time to reduce the number of fellow colleagues having to re-invent standards based curriculum plans for a recycling unit, reuse your own teaching reflections, and recycle your best ideas about teaching recycling in an elementary school setting.

As noted in my previous post, I am in the midst of developing an integrated unit on recycling for my 5th grade students. I have 3 goals for the unit: 1) to have the children become knowledgeable about past abuses of our resources and the benefits of recyling; 2)to provide hands-on opportunities for my students to analyze and develop programs of change in their personal lives, school and community; and finally, 3) to integrate this science unit into other parts of the curriculum, including math, art, reading, writing, and technology. Towards these latter goals, I hope to have my students interactively contribute thoughts, opinions, and results on this blogging page.

I would be grateful to hear of any lesson plans, hands-on activities, useful websites, or other tidbits of knowledge that you would like to contribute about
your experiences planning, implementing, and/or assessing a unit on recycling.
I look forward to hearing from you!

Some sites that might interest you:

Friday, February 23, 2007


Memories of my elementary school experience would be incomplete without recalling our “bomb” drills. At the time, relationships between “Russia” and the United States were frigid, and there was a constant fear hanging over us of an atomic bomb threat. Rather than the typical fire drills today, we would practice monthly crouching under our desk tops (in case of shattered glass) or sitting on the floors in the hallways, behind big steel doors, with our knees brought up and our heads “safely” tucked in. It was difficult, under these circumstances, to not be fearful of whether one would be alive tomorrow, or develop a sense of helplessness-with neither input nor power in preventing such a horrendous event. However, as relations between the two super powers improved, the drills became obsolete. Still, for those of us who lived through it, that feeling of doom never leaves one’s soul.

Today, it is difficult for children to turn on the TV or open a newspaper without repeated threats of global warming, loss of habitats and natural resources, and true concerns about not only the future of oneself and one’s friends and family, but the whole human race as well. Knowledge of prior geological periods only increases one’s sense that our current climatic and environmental circumstances could change drastically in the future, making it impossible for living beings to survive. Talk about a feeling of doom!

In our 5th grade curriculum, a new winter science topic (“recycling”) has been added -- although there are no books, or set curricula activities, other than ensuring that the science GLE’s be followed As I prepare for this unit, I see it as perhaps one of the most valuable science lessons these students will ever have. For once, 5th graders are being presented with a problem, and being asked to seek solutions and life style changes that will maximize the health of their planet. While there is an enormous amount of information available about recycling today, time constraints necessitate creativeness in using limited classroom time to achieve maximal results.

As I share some of my own ideas, I hope other educators will chirp in with projects, www sites, ideas, books, or other activities they have done with their own classes to make this topic a valuable tool for their students, or to co-develop a with me.

Monday, February 19, 2007


For my initial post I would like to share a favorite poem of mine. I once painted it on the walls of my apartment, and always find that it brings me inner peace.

You Have To Believe

You have to believe in happiness,
Or happiness never comes;
I know that a bird chirps none the less
When all he finds are crumbs.

You have to believe that the buds will blow,
Believe in the grass in the days of snow;
Ah, that's the reason a bird can sing-
On his darkest day he believes in Spring.

By Douglas Malloch