Getting Ready for Earth Day!

Earth Day 2014 is April 22nd. I love to celebrate/instruct on this occasion with activities related to The Lorax by Dr. Seuss.

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We use the text for with our Close Reading Procedures. First, we read the story as a class. Then, we read it again with partners.

After our second Close Read, the students are put into small groups for a Gallery Walk. I have 7 anchor posters around the classroom. The students use Post-It Notes to record their responses about various story elements and they add these Post-Its.  Then, they rotate.  After 3 minutes, they rotate to the next poster.(The kiddos put their student number on their Post-Its, so I know if any individual student is struggling with a concept).
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Of course, we take a small break to enjoy some Lorax-themed snacks for the occasion! I print labels with Brown Barbaloots and other labels with Swomee Swans. Then, I put the labels on the side of clear plastic cups. The Barbaloot snacks are a mixture of chocolate and honey Teddy Grahams with tiny marshmallows. The Swomee Swan snacks are regular Goldfish Crackers (easy). Somehow, they taste better because they are in the special cup! 🙂

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After the Gallery Walk, the students write a summary of The Lorax. Then, they write a personal response about ways THEY will help the environment. This last essay is combined with a Lorax craftivity and is displayed in the classroom. They LOVE this craftivity… and I do, too. It makes an adorable display in the classroom.

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Although The Lorax can easily be used with younger students, there are enough complex literary elements to create worthwhile reading lessons for students in the upper elementary grades. I particularly like to teach the older students a lesson on author’s craft/use of flashback.

In my class, we also do a comparison of The Lorax the book and its movie counterpart. This is great work for Common Core!

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In a day jammed packed with Lorax activities, I end the day a Life Science project. Students design Lorax-themed pots and plant seeds. We combine this with a lesson on photosythesis in my class (but a variety of lessons would work).

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After all of the assignments are reviewed, I send home the pots and the written work (which I put in an orange folder, complete with a Lorax label).

It is so much fun. It is also very meaningful. Hopefully, my kiddos have created fond memories while learning a variety of things for Earth Day.

Do you use The Lorax for lessons during the year? Do you do something special for Earth Day? I would love to hear your ideas!