Friday, April 20, 2012

Spend Earth Day with Patricia Polacco

This will be quick because I have to get up in 3 hours to hop on a plane to go visit my grandparents for the weekend. Yay, Grandmom hugs! I have been thinking about Earth Day and how a lot of discussions focus on recycling. I was trying to think of ideas to discuss reusing. One of my favorite picture books is Junkyard Wonders by Patricia Polacco. It is an amazing story that always makes me a little teary. Actually, the first time I read the story aloud to my students I was being observed. I kept having to pause to choke back the emotion. It demonstrates the power a teacher can have with her students in helping them see themselves as treasures. They call their class "the junkyard." In the story, the class embraces the idea of project based learning and jets off to the junkyard to find scraps to create something new.  While they create their masterpieces in tribes, their teacher reads them poetry and Shakespeare.  The students grow and learn and the reader gets carried away with them...all the way to the moon.

I think this would be a wonderful story to bring about a discussion of how we can reuse old things.  You could show pictures of how people repurpose furniture or use things in new ways.  I actually think this would be a super fun way to get the family involved.  Have students look around their house for things that are being used in new ways or reused.  They could take pictures and do a sort of show and tell in class.  Or you could have them do a collage.  Maybe you have something in your classroom being used in an original way.  I have seen pictures of teachers using shoe organizers for storage in the classroom.  What are ways you reuse things at home or in the classroom?

I have two unusual door stoppers at home that started out as temporary fixes and 2 years later...Oh, well.

Patricia Polacco also has a book that is cute for Spring called In Enzo's Splended Gardens.  It reads very sing song and is fun to read aloud. It is a funny story of cause and effect.  I think this would be great for Earth Day because you could have students discuss cause and effect.  What happens if we recycle and if we don't recycle?  Talk about consequences of our actions.  Students could write their own little poem or story on cause and effect.

She has another sweet story about an orphan boy and a little blind goose called I Can Hear the Sun that I think could be incorporated for Earth Day or Spring.

I am linking this post up with Sunny Days Earth Day linky party.  Better last minute than never. 

Have a great weekend and a good Earth Day!

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