Monday, November 5, 2007

Planetfesto Project

We have been adding squares to the Planetfesto Banner for about 3 weeks now and this project has taken on a life of it's own. The Planetfesto project has been amazing for a number of reasons. Our school is fairly large (580 students in grades 3-5) separated in 3 wings. I am always looking for ways to involve the whole school and this project, celebrating the beauty of our planet and advocating personal responsibility, seemed perfect. The students have been very excited about making their squares. I think they really connect emotionally with the message of celebrating and taking care of our Earth.

Students are very proud of their squares, proud enough that they are going home and sharing them with parents. This home/school connection was an unexpected benefit of this project, but very welcome. I have been amazed at the emails I am receiving from parents saying they think the Village School segment is just beautiful. One parent told me that their whole family (including teenage daughter) watched as their 4th grader showed them their square. The mother said she was moved to tears by the banner. Families are spending time making squares at home, as well. Students and parents are also emailing digital photos for us to use in the banner.

The global nature of Planetfesto is another aspect that drew me to this project initially. This aspect has grown as several schools have taken on the challenge of trying for 80% participation. We are personally planning on closer to 100% from teachers and students. We are also going to issue a challenge to our town at large, through the local newspaper.

We have made a connection with a school in Burrton, KS (and one in Louisiana and NYC) and I have used that opportunity to issue some research challenges which have brought the kids flocking into the Library to research the answer. Last week, I had an entire classroom including their teacher arrive in my office to tell me that they had found 3 different answers to my question "What is the mileage to Burrton, Kansas?" We have also done some fun math challenges as well.

I would love to find more schools who would like to work on this project, especially schools located in another part of the world. If you'd like to contact me, I'd love to hear from you.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Plant a Tree

Came across this website while looking for our next project. This would be easy to do. I might approach the 5th grade classes who will be leaving our school in the spring with the idea of leaving a permanent "green" remembrance of their time at Village School.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Recycle Techno-Trash

I have been working with a great company called Cartridges for Kids for about 3 years now. They recycle the following items:
ink jet cartridges
laser jet cartridges
digital cameras
lap top computers
DVD movies
cell phones
PDA's/Palm Pilots
Video games
Video game consoles

Over the last 3 and a half years, we have earned over $3000 recycling items that would most likely end up in a landfill somewhere. Proceeds benefit the library and computer lab. More importantly, the program gives me an on-going opportunity to talk to students (and staff and parents) about the importance of taking care of the environment.

Did you know that it take 1000 years for a laserjet cartridge to decompose? and that a quart and a half of oil can be saved when one of these large cartridges is reycyled?

The program is easy, there's no counting or sorting required. Older students or a parent can help. One phone call and FedEx arrives to pick up you boxes free of charge.

We now also have several corporate sponsors who recycle directly from the workplace, with the proceeds credited to our school account.

You can find out more by visiting their website at or call 1-800-420-0235. Tell them Chris Crawford in Gorham, Maine recommended them. The are a great company to work with.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Any schools out there?

We have been making Planetfesto squares with our students for about 2 weeks. The kids absolutely love this project and are going home and showing their parents, who are also making squares. To see a slice of Maine, go to the Planetfesto website and type in Village School.

We're looking for other schools in other areas to accept a challenge of at least 80% participation of students and staff. We are also offering a challenge to our town through the local newspaper to help spread the word.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Zero Waste Class Parties

Our daughter's stunningly-excellent third grade teacher recently sent out a request to parents to help him become zero waste for class parties. I, like an idiot, said yes. An idiot because I knew the trail would lead me right to Target and Ikea, places I tend to avoid at all costs. Target had some great little melamine plates, fairly cheap metal forks and spoons, and acrylic juice glasses that should do nicely. I hated to go with plastic, but didn't see any way around it, and at least it will be used for years. (We did a similar thing with our picnic gear for our weekly neighborhood picnic, and now we are waste-free, which is a great feeling.) I am hard on the trail of some cheap cloth napkins to complete the set.The teacher and I worked out that whatever parents volunteer to host the party now also pop the dishes in the washer and return. (I bought a basket to put it all in to make it easier.) I volunteered to handle the napkins. Hopefully it will inspire other classrooms to do the same.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

View it like a movie

I've received several notes from teachers saying how much they are enjoying projecting the ribbon in their classrooms on large screens--like a movie. The kids get quite captivated by it. It's easy to do--just search by your school name and you will see a custom subset of the ribbon of just the pieces from your school.