I was kindly asked to be the Earth Day Guest Speaker in my daughter's class. Ok, I know they’re only first graders, but I was really nervous to stand in front of my daughter’s class and speak for thirty whole minutes! I have great respect for teachers, however I have always known that being an elementary school teacher was never a career choice for me. Well, I was pleasantly surprised, both by how comfortable I ended up being and by how knowledgeable the students were. I started with a brief history of Earth Day, which by the way is celebrating it’s 45th Anniversary this year, and things just rolled on slowly from there.
Earth Day was first created by American Senator, Gaylord Nelson on April 22, 1970. He wanted to find a way to make people more aware of the importance of keeping our planet healthy and clean. Since then, more than 1 billion people in over 180 countries have participated in Earth Day activities, making it the largest civic observance in the world. Thanks to Earth Day an environmental movement was launched and many environmental laws have been created - Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, Endangered Species Act and many more.
Then came the fun interactive part of my presentation. Aside from the learning curve with the fancy high tech smart board, I actually felt a little bit like a teacher…and it was fun! We discussed why we should take care of our Earth and what kinds of actions we could do to keep it healthy and clean. We wrote them down on the board and then each student picked one to write on a cut-out of their own hand. We add all their hands to a giant poster and made a classroom Earth Day pledge. My heart was bursting out of my chest. Crafts and the environment are two of my favorite past times, so I was very excited to see them come together in this class project. Below is a brief list of the ideas that the students came up with.
Ride a bike instead of driving in a car.
Pick up trash whenever you see some on the ground.
Bring your own bags to the grocery store.
Drink from a reusable water bottle.
Plant a garden.
Plant a tree.
Plant some flowers for the bees.
Turn off the lights when you leave a room.
Turn of the water when you are not using it.
Turn of electronics when you are not using them.
Use scrap paper.
To finish things off we read a great story by Todd Par called The Earth Book. It’s a colorful and simple book, but it sure gets the point across.
All in all, I had a great experience. The students were wonderful and my daughter was overjoyed to have me there sharing information and ideas that we use daily in our household.
For more information on Earth Day and ideas of what you can do with kids please check out the following links: