"We have such a brief opportunity to pass on to our children our love for this earth, and to tell our stories. These are the moments when the world is made whole. In my children's memories, the adventures we've had together in nature will always exist."~Richard Louv, Last Child in the Woods: Saving our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder
We started the day making these (by Kindergarten Crayons):
Reading this (Our Earth by Anne Rockwell):
And singing along with this:
I am a firm believer in getting children outside. I think they need to experience nature before they can care about nature. There is so much they can learn by using and developing their natural intelligence.
Looking at their world up-close and personal will make those diagrams, charts, tables, and other non-fiction readings more real....more understandable. Take your students out and look under rocks. How exciting to find the same tunnels in the ground that you saw in your ant farm. Can you watch their movement? Maybe they will be carrying large leaves or other objects around.
Watch the seasons change by picking a tree and observing it in each season. Talk first about what it looks like. We had so much fun just feeling the bark on different trees, then trying to describe what we felt. We just happen to be focusing on opposites last week when we went out and felt the smooth (my students wanted to say soft) bark of the quaking aspen. Then the bumpy, hard, rough bark of the cottonwood tree. We also found sticky sap, dry shriveled apples, and pokey pine needles. Use your time outdoors to expand vocabulary and notice details.
Teach the science of time and seasons by tracing shadows. You can make a shadow clock and your discussions can go many different directions....math, science, history.
Earth Day should be more than planting seeds and picking up garbage. It needs to be about making connections....to the land, to the air, to those who live there.
"Passion is lifted from the earth itself by the muddy hands of the young; it travels along grass-stained sleeves to the heart. If we are going to save environmentalism and the environment, we must also save an endangered indicator species: the child in nature."