Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Celebrating Mother's Day...Mother Earth, that is!

By this time, I'm sure you all have plans for celebrating Earth Day in your classrooms and school community.  But I hope I can add a few recommendations that will help you round out your lesson plans for Earth Day (or week)!

My favorite idea is to make use of the United States' coast-to-coast playground: the National Parks.  Their Web Rangers program allows children of all ages to explore all the national parks from Internet-connected computers.  The program includes games and puzzles along with many other activities that can be completed to earn rewards; the program even tracks individual progress!  I doubt that my family will ever visit Denali National Park in person, but we can experience this unbelievably beautiful park virtually.  Participants in the Web Rangers program can earn Junior Ranger patches too!  If you can't incorporate a whole lesson plan on this short notice (again, sorry; April got away from me), maybe you can make the Web Ranger program available as a reward during down time or as a lesson in using technology.  Maybe you'll send home a flyer with information for families to explore together either at home or at the local public library.  At any rate, please be sure to check out the Web Ranger program here:

eMINTS (enhancing Missouri's Instructional Networked Teaching Strategies) has a page full of links to resources about Earth Day. Be sure to check it out at

An award winning Earth Day resource is the Canadian "EcoKids" site  Resources for students and teachers are easily accessible and include games, activities and challenges.  This is a visually appealing site and is rich in resources.

For future reference, the National Building Museum in Washington, D.C., is in the process of creating a "Green Community Teaching Kit."  When it's unveiled, the kit will allow teachers and their students to create a Green Community from the ground up.  It's intended to be reused each year.  Basic information about the program is available here:; to request an email (or snail mail) with more information about the kit and the program visit this link:

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