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  • Writer's pictureEileen Rocks

Earth Day for Third Graders

Eileen Rocks of St. Matthew School in Philadelphia 'considers it a privilege to spend her days with third graders.' She told EcoPhilly recently that 'each year the third-grade teachers at Saint Matthew School look forward to preparing for Earth Day during March and April. We integrate caring for God’s creation throughout the curriculum. In reading, the stories “Judy Moody Saves the World,” and “A Tree is Growing” give teachers and students a chance to discuss how we can all reduce, reuse, recycle, and be responsible stewards of God's creation.'

She continues, 'In “Judy Moody Saves the World,” the main character Judy decides she and her family need to be more responsible in saving the world, and their personal environment. This story affords the opportunity to talk about not only how we compost, recycle, and conserve, but also why we should do it. In Religion, we continue the discussion with the appreciation of God’s gift of nature as the main topic.

'To help supplement the importance of recycling, the story, “One Plastic Bag, Isatou Ceesay and the Recycling Women of the Gambia” by Miranda Paul is read aloud. Practical activities third grader can do to become conservationists are discussed in “10 Things You Can Do to Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle” by Elizabeth Weitzman.

'In “A Tree is Growing” the structure of trees, how they grow, and what we use them for are discussed. We take the opportunity to discuss renewable and nonrenewable resources and once again discuss the importance of conservation.

'Finally, on Earth Day itself, The Lorax, by Dr. Seuss is shown in e-book form. The Lorax says “he speaks for the trees.” We then discuss and review the importance of trees, and create our own personalized Lorax testimonials. In Religion we discuss that “the Lorax speaks for the trees,” why is it important to speak up for others, and why is it important to speak for the trees. We will also expand on “Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.” Again, tying in our responsibility to care for God’s creation. It's a very fulfilling experience!'

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