Monday, November 5, 2007
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. firstname.lastname@example.org