Earth Day Classroom Activities

earth day

Every year, the world celebrates Earth Day on April 22nd, a day the United Nations recognizes as International Mother Earth Day. It is a day to remind ourselves of the importance of clean air, fresh water, and unlittered land. It’s when we can all participate in making that happen rather than accepting the trash-filled oceans, the smoggy skies, and the debris-laden land that is becoming the norm in our lives.

Despite the questionable health of our world, we have made progress. Back in 1970, when Earth Day was first celebrated, trucks spewed black smoke as they drove down the highways, toxic waste was dumped into oceans with no repercussions, and the general opinion was that the Earth took care of itself. That changed when U.S. Senator Gaylord Nelson, Earth Day’s founder, witnessed the ravages of the 1969 massive oil spill in Santa Barbara California and decided it was time for someone to do something. When he looked around for that “someone”, it turned out to be himself. He started with a “national teach-in on the environment” with a simple goal: Encourage people to recognize the importance of protecting the Earth:

“It was on that day [Earth Day] that Americans made it clear they understood and were deeply concerned over the deterioration of our environment and the mindless dissipation of our resources.”

Here are online resources (click for updates) to help you share the importance of Earth Day with your students:

  1. Books for Earth Day
  2. Breathing earth– the environment
  3. Breathing Earth YouTube Video–of CO2 use, population changes, and more
  4. Conservation Game
  5. Earth Day Reading List
  6. Eco-friendly house
  7. Ecology Games from KoiKiwi
  8. Ecotourism Simulation–for grades 4 and above
  9. National Geographic Carbon Footprint Calculator

Here are some grade-specific resources:

1st Grade

2nd Grade

3rd Grade

4th Grade

Here are a few lesson plans from last year that still work well. Enjoy!

How effective is Earth Day

In the 49 years since the inception of Earth Day, there have been more than 48 major environmental “wins”. Here are some of those:

  • The U.S. Clean Air Act was passed, a comprehensive federal law that regulates air emissions.
  • The U.S. Clean Water Act was passed to regulate the discharge of pollutants into U.S. waters.
  • The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was passed.
  • The U.S. Endangered Species Act was passed to protect animal species that are disappearing.
  • The Acid Rain (what happens when normal rain becomes loaded with offensive chemicals and scalds the skin) Program obtained emission reductions of sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides.
  • The importance of the ozone layer to the health of the Earth is better understood.
  • The consequences of too much plastic in the Earth’s oceans is coming home to roost.

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18 Easter Websites and Apps

Many Christians celebrate Jesus Christ’s resurrection on Easter Sunday. To non-Christians (or non-traditional Christians), that event signifies a rebirth of spring that is filled with joy and gifts — and chocolate! Overall, it is America’s most-popular holiday with Christmas a close second. The date depends on the ecclesiastical approximation of the March equinox. This year, it’s April 17, 2022.

Here’s a good mixture of games, lesson plans, stories, and songs that can be blended into many academic subjects (for updates on this Easter-themed list of websites, click here):

  1. 18+ Interactive Easter websites
  2. ABCYa Easter Egg Hunt
  3. Classroom Easter Egg Hunt
  4. Easter Color Me
  5. Easter Fun
  6. Easter games from Primary Games
  7. Easter Lesson plans
  8. Easter poems and songs
  9. Easter Puppies
  10. Easter puzzles
  11. Easter Science Experiment
  12. Easter Bunny Song
  13. Easter Egg story
  14. Easter Videos
  15. Easter Word hunt
  16. Here Comes the Easter Bunny
  17. History of Easter
  18. It’s Easter Little Critter

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Tech Tip #53: How to Make a Program Easy to Find

tech tipsIn these 169 tech-centric situations, you get an overview of pedagogy—the tech topics most important to your teaching—as well as practical strategies to address most classroom tech situations, how to scaffold these to learning, and where they provide the subtext to daily tech-infused education.

Today’s tip: How to Make a Program Easy to Find

Category: Problem-solving

Q: There’s a program I use a lot, but it’s not on my desktop. I have to click Start>All-Programs and then try to find it. Is there an easier way?

A: Absolutely. In fact, there are three ways if you have a PC:

  • Add it to the Start button: Right click on the icon that opens the program and select ‘pin to start menu’ from the drop down menu. This will attach it to your Start button.
  • Add it to the PC’s Taskbar: Right click on the program icon and select ‘pin to task bar’ from the drop down menu.
  • Search for the program from the PC’s Start>Search (this is how most Middle Schoolers find programs).

For Chromebooks: Add it to the Chromebook’s Shelf by going to the webpage’s Menu Icon>More Tools>Add to Shelf.

 

For iPads: To save a website to the home button, use the universal ‘Send’ icon and ‘add to Homepage’.

Sign up for a new tip each week or buy the entire 169 Real-world Ways to Put Tech into Your Classroom.

What’s your favorite tech tip in your classroom? Share it in the comments below.

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Resources to Teach Taxes

As a passionate Economics major in college (which grew into an MBA), I find Econ at the root of much of the world around us. It starts with counting coins in first and second grade and grows up to a peek into NASDAQ and other adult subjects in middle school.

In the US, tax day is April 15th. Here are some good websites to discuss what is probably a popular topic in families:

Taxes

  1. BrainPOP | Taxes
  2. A history of US taxes
  3. Taxes–from Crash Course Economics
  4. Where does your money go? — lesson plan from PBS
  5. TurboTax Tax Calculator

After April 15th, there are great ways to teach about economics, financial literacy, and prepare students for managing their lives fiscally once they’re launched into the world:

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Assistive Technology in Colleges

With technology, it is so much easier to offer students the assistive technology they need to pursue their education dreams. The Tech Edvocate has so great suggestions for apps and prograsms to help those with specialized needs:

What to Ask Colleges About Assistive Technology – The Tech Edvocate

10 More Educational Technology Concepts Every Teacher Should Know About

The selection process for colleges involves several factors for graduating high school students. Problems regarding tuition, academic programs, and location are often considered when students decide which college they will attend.

Read on

More about special needs from Ask a Tech Teacher

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Tech Tools for Reading Fluency

SmartBrief has an excellent article worth your time to read:

Top 5 tech tools to maximize reading fluency

It is written from the perspective of a 2nd-grade teacher:

Teaching in a pandemic presented teachers with a whole new batch of problems to solve, whether through distance, hybrid or in-person learning models. Putting all technicalities and connectivity issues aside, teachers wanted to maximize engagement and student learning all the more. 

Read more

Ask a Tech Teacher has more excellent resources to promote reading in your classes:


Jacqui Murray has been teaching K-18 technology for 30 years. She is the editor/author of over a hundred tech ed resources including a K-12 technology curriculum, K-8 keyboard curriculum, K-8 Digital Citizenship curriculum. She is an adjunct professor in tech ed, Master Teacher, webmaster for four blogs, an Amazon Vine Voice, CSTA presentation reviewer, freelance journalist on tech ed topics, contributor to NEA Today, and author of the tech thrillers, To Hunt a Sub and Twenty-four Days. You can find her resources at Structured Learning.

How to Become a Tech Teacher

I know from personal experience that tech teachers are in short supply. It’s not unusual for a school to transfer the PE teacher or 2nd grade teacher into the Tech Teacher job because they can’t find anyone else for that position. ZDNet has a great article addressing the subject:

How to get into tech as a teacher

Tech careers are in high demand. The tech field attracts many career-changing professionals with strong salaries and diverse career paths. And teachers are uniquely positioned to move into tech.

If you’ve wondered how to get into tech as a teacher, you may think the field is intimidating. But while some tech careers require coding skills, many do not. By highlighting your transferable skills and educational strengths, you can move into careers like instructional designer, eLearning developer, training specialist, or technical writer. 

Read on…

More about teaching tech

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4 Long-Term Benefits of Bilingual Education

This is such a great article on the benefits of bi-lingual education. Sure, we intuitively know what these are, but what are the real metrics? From an educator with a passion for her calling, see if you have any reasons you’d add:

4 Long-Term Benefits of Bilingual Education

Raising bilingual children is the norm in Singapore. From an early age, the children living in this multicultural city are exposed to a number of languages at home, in their preschools, and in their communities. At the same time, the government here has adopted a bilingual policy wherein students are required to gain proficiency in English and their respective ethnic mother tongue, which is Mandarin for the Chinese, Malay for the Malay, and Tamil for the Indians. If you’re staying in the country with your family for work, it’ll be a breeze to find a bilingual program that will provide your children with the right environment for improving their language proficiency. These schools can focus on your mother tongue, English, as well as other languages that your child might be interested in acquiring. With the assistance of the right bilingual program and teachers, your child will have a better chance of acquiring, retaining, and deftly using multiple languages.

The beauty of bilingual education is that it presents students with immediate as well as long-term benefits, many of which the children can utilize even as they find their places as productive members of the workforce and society at large. Here are some of the advantages of having your child undergo a bilingual education program and how they can benefit from it in the coming years.

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Preparing for College or Career

Preparing students for college or career is arguably the biggest goal for High School. I like the focus of this particular principal, spotlighted in an article in The 74 Million:

 

Principal’s View: To Prepare Students to Enter a Tech-Focused Business World, Create Schools With the Workplace in Mind

Consider the world students face when they graduate. For many, their choices lead to college, vocational training or manufacturing careers that rely heavily on advanced technologies — from robotics and 3-D printing to equipment powered by artificial intelligence. Two decades from now, their jobs will be even more tech-focused, as workplaces adopt innovations we’ve yet to even imagine.

Read on…

Check out these Ask a Tech Teacher articles and resources on College and Career:

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What You Might Have Missed in March–What’s up in April

Here are the most-read posts for the month of March

  1. Social Media or COVID: Which is more dangerous to students?
  2. 5 (free) Posters about Learning
  3. Websites that add sparkle (and learning) to Spring
  4. Guiding Students through the Crisis in Ukraine
  5. A Lesson Plan for Addressing What’s in the News
  6. Invention Convention is coming
  7. Celebrate Pi Day and Maths Day
  8. Using VR to Visualize Complex Information
  9. 23 Websites on Biomes, Habitats, Landforms
  10. 7+ Websites to Teach Financial Literacy

Here’s a preview of what’s coming up in April:

  1. Preparing for College or Career
  2. How to Become a Tech Teacher
  3. Tech Tools for Reading Fluency
  4. Resources to Teach Taxes
  5. Easter Websites
  6. Earth Day Activities
  7. Digital Literacy
  8. Create a Macro
  9. Websites on Architecture/Engineering

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