Films & Videos:
Three high school students, alumni of K-8 Prospect Sierra School, return to their elementary school to see how 4th grade environmentalists are continuing their waste reduction initiative.
"Bag It has been garnering awards at film festivals across the nation. What started as a documentary about plastic bags evolved into a wholesale investigation into plastics and their effect on our waterways, oceans, and even our bodies. Join the Bag It movement and decide for yourself how plastic your life will be."
Bag It is airing on public television beginning in April 2011. Check with your local public television affiliate for air dates and showtimes. http://www.bagitmovie.com/
Mother Nature's Child
explores the essential ways nature experience promotes children's well
being, contributes to the future of the planet, and nourishes the human
spirit. The film marks a moment in time when a living generation can
recall childhoods of free play outdoors; this won't be true for most
children growing up today. The effects of "nature deficit disorder" are
now being noted across the country in epidemics of child obesity,
attention disorders, and depression.
An hour in length, Mother Nature's Child asks the questions: Why do children need unstructured time outside? What is the place of risk-taking in healthy child development? How is play a form of learning? Why are some teachers resistant to taking students outside? How can city kids connect with nature? What does it mean to educate the 'whole' child?
More info and to see the trailer, go to: http://www.mothernaturesmovie.com/mother-natures-child-trailer/
What's the story of your food? With beautiful visuals and inspiring
stories, "Nourish: Food + Community" traces our relationship to food
from a global perspective to personal action steps.
Download the Nourish Middle School Curriculum Guide: "Resources to open a meaningful conversation about food and sustainability. Beautifully designed and brimming with big ideas, the materials contain a viewing guide, six learning activities, action projects, student handouts, suggested resources, and a glossary."
The Nourish curriculum and companion DVD is appropriate for social studies, science, health, or English classes. Activity themes include The Story of Food; Seasonal, Local Food; Food Traditions; Food and Ecosystems; Analyzing Food Ads; and School Lunch Survey.
Download Center for Ecoliteracy's Companion Guides to the Nourish broadcast.
Growing Greener Schools is a national (and worldwide) movement, empowering students, teachers, and parents to incorporate green ideas into their physical school buildings and classroom curriculums, paving the way for a sustainable future. Watch their short videos. More info
Can 8 short, funny videos teach kids to want less, recycle more -- or even share?
PBS and Annie Leonard, of Story of Stuff fame, are banking on it. Leonard has been working with PBS to make a new kids' TV show, Loop Scoops, encouraging them to think critically about all their stuff. 6- to 9-years.
Will the videos work? See for yourself at Loop Scoops. Related Link: Teachers Domain "thousands of media resources, support materials, and tools for classroom lessons"
The Story of Stuff with Annie Leonard, a 20-minute short film, offers a fast-paced, fact-filled look at the dark underbelly of our materials economy. From materials extraction through production, sale, use and disposal, all the "stuff" in our lives affects communities at home and abroad, yet most of this is hidden from view.After watching the video, Take Action to green your school and reduce your consumption of STUFF.
Young Voices for the Planet is a film series featuring young people who are making a difference. They are shrinking the carbon footprint of their homes, schools and communities. These 8 short films demonstrate the power of what youth have done
and are doing to address climate change, and provide inspiration for
youth to take action.
Volunteer activists from the Surfrider Foundation
collaborated to produce "The Cycle of Insanity: The Real Story of
Water," a short video that exposes the dangers of current
water management practices and offers simple common sense solutions to
sustainably managing this precious resource.
According to the producers, the video is appropriate
for kids as young as 6; we think it will have a greater impact on
kids from middle school up.
Watch the 20-minute video at: http://www.knowyourh2o.org/index.php
Learn more about the Surfrider Foundation
Free Range Studios
does it again: these animated videos use humor and veggie versions of
familiar movie characters -- like "Cuke Skywalker" and "Darth Tater" --
to examine the costs of factory farming, toxic chemical inputs and
genetic engineering and extoll the virtues of organic food.
"Gorilla in the Greenhouse" is an action-packed animated web show that encourages kids to take meaningful steps toward a healthier, more sustainable environment. Using video and music, the series features a variety of fun and collaborative activities, and emphasizes that small steps can have a big impact.
Trees and forests provide many benefits for humans. Among them are clean air and water, a range of wood products, wildlife habitats, and recreation. The book as well as the movie emphasize the importance of taking care of trees and forests responsibly and sustainably. Check out the website and download six PLT activities for free to support "teachable moments" related to the film.
Rethinking School Lunch is a downloadable guide that describes 10 pathways to reinventing school meal programs. The aim is to promote health while increasing ecological understanding.
The Young Activist's Guide by Sharon J. Smith is a practical guide to environmental activism. It shares inspiring
stories from some of the planet's most effective leaders under the age
of 23. And it equips the next generation of activists with the tools
they need to put their passion into practice.
The book features easy-to-follow guides on recruiting people to your cause, spreading your message via broadcast media and the Web, fundraising, and lobbying elected officials. It also includes tips on how students can boost the sustainability of their high school and college campuses, with contributions by Earth Day Network, and tips on how to launch a career in the environmental movement. More info
From Arden Bucklin-Sporer and Rachel Kathleen Pringle comes the ultimate K-8 school garden how-to: from concept development to planning, fund-raising, designing the space, working with parents, teaching in the garden, planting & harvesting and more -- this book's got it all. It also offers strategies, to-do lists, lesson plans and tricks of the trade. Author Bucklin-Sporer is executive director, and Pringle is programs manager for the San Francisco Green Schoolyard Alliance. The book can be purchased through Timber Press, $24.95.
Asphalt to Ecosystems showcases green schoolyards from over 100 schools in almost a dozen countries to illustrate how innovative green schoolyards can become outdoor classrooms for hands-on learning and play. Examples include edible gardens with outdoor cooking facilities, schoolyard watershed models, and wildlife habitats. Danks provides curriculum connections for grades K-12, along with a practical framework for creating designs and the design process. The book also spotlights creative play opportunities that encourage healthy play and movement through a natural environment.
By Ann Cooper and Lisa M. Holmes
Chef Ann Cooper is a self-styled "renegade lunch lady" who directs the nutrition services for the Berkeley Unified School District, improving meals for 9,000 students at 16 public schools one day at a time. She's at the forefront of the movement to reorient the National School Lunch Program toward greater emphasis on regional, organic, fresh foods, and nutritional education to help students build a connection between their health and where their food comes from. Lunch Lessons "includes successful case studies of school food reform, resources that can help make a difference and healthy, kid-friendly recipes that can be made at home, or by the thousands for a public school cafeteria," as described on the Lunch Lessons website.
By Mara Rockliff
This new book for tweens and teens explores how their spending decisions affect other people and the planet. Get Real covers topics like global inequality, overconsumption, advertising, water use, e-waste, sweatshops, fair trade, local economies, organic vs. conventional farming, corporate social responsibility, and greenwashing -- while focusing on things kids buy and use in their daily lives: fast food, cell phones, blue jeans. The author hopes kids will discover how they can use their buying power to change the world.
Get Real Resources for Teachers
Get Real Teen Action Page
Get Real Blog
Ideas for books to keep teachers and students engaged in learning about the environment. Books for educators explore environmental education and varying approaches to integrating environmental education into the curriculum. Titles for students are organized by grade level, and each book is evaluated for its educational content and scientific accuracy.
This is a fun and creative volume with projects that cover many interwoven subjects: science, growing and cooking food, alternative energy, sustainable living (go plastic-free for a day!), chemical free crafts (make natural pigments from coffee, curry, and spinach), natural resources, endangered species, and the many R's (reduce, reuse, recycle, re-purpose, rethink, etc.). Each project is illustrated with a photo, and has a "Chat Point" that further illuminates an aspect of the project, a "Mini-Chat Point" aimed at younger kids, and an "Above and Beyond" section that guides readers to further resources, ideas, and actions.
In Smart by Nature, Schooling for Sustainability, Michael Stone illustrates that schooling for sustainability can start anywhere, with anyone. The book highlights healthy school food, green campuses, learning in community, and green curricula, with stories from schools that are at the forefront of greening, along with ample resources for those who are just getting started.
In 2001 Dr. Sally Ride, America's first woman in space, founded a company to create "programs and products that educate, entertain, engage and inspire." We think these books, aimed at teaching the next generation about the science and solutions for global climate change, might be of interest to you and your students.
Take a look: Mission: Save the Planet (age 9 and up). Earth's Precious Resources (age 9 and up)
Heroes of the Environment: True Stories of People Who Are Helping to Protect the Planet, by award-winning author Harriet Rohmer, presents the inspiring true stories of 12 people from across North America who have done great things for the environment. Photographs and illustrations bring each compelling story vividly to life.
Use Promotion Code "NRDC" at Checkout to get a 30% discount and free shipping. To order click HERE.
The title pretty much describes this hip, practical manual, written by Tosh and Linda Sivertsen, a teenage boy and his mom. Tosh's introduction, describing his upbringing in New Mexico without indoor plumbing, provides a "gross" factor that will appeal to kids and juvenile adults alike. In the first chapter, he lays out his desire to give teens the "basic lowdown on some of the most important issues affecting our planet," followed by examples of innovative solutions people are using to address the issues. Tosh shared his message in person with thousands of enthusiastic green teens when he spoke at the 2008 Environmental Youth Conference.
Lynne Cherry, a renowned children's author, worked with award-winning photojournalist Gary Braasch to create a "non-scary" book about climate change science and solutions for grades 4-8 called, How We Know What We Know About Our Changing Climate: Scientists and Kids Explore Global Warming.
National Science Teachers Association calls it "amazing," and notes
that "Students and teachers can participate in brainstorming,
experiments, water monitoring, or class discussions that might lead to
student activism to improve our environment." Teacher's Guide: Activities and lessons geared to 5th-8th grade science
Contemplating the earth's environmental future can
sometimes make a parent blue. Now parents can shake the blues with Jenn
Savedge's The Green Parent: A Kid-Friendly Guide to Earth-Friendly Living.
The book helps parents find easy ways to go green while raising a
family with resources for: getting kids involved in ecology; saving
energy; reducing, reusing and recycling; and earth-friendly products
and services. It includes fun activities to show kids how to make small
changes - and make a big difference.
Chef Ann Cooper is a self-styled "renegade lunch lady" who currently directs the nutrition services for the Berkeley Unified School District, improving meals at 16 public schools with over 9,000 students one day at a time. Her newest book, Lunch Lessons: Changing the Way We Feed Our Children, is "overflowing with strategies for parents and school administrators to become engaged with issues around school food - from public policy to corporate interest. It includes successful case studies of school food reform, resources that can help make a difference and healthy, kid-friendly recipes that can be made at home, or by the thousands for a public school cafeteria," as described on its website, www.lunchlessons.org.
We recommend Lee Welles' Enter the Earth, the first in a planned seven-book series aimed at kids age 9 and up called "Gaia Girls". Treehugger.com
describes it thus: "Following in the vein of Nancy Drew, the
Babysitters Club, and, dare I say it, Harry Potter, the 'Gaia Girls'
series is the next group to offer heroes battling modern day villains
for the kid with an eco-conscience."The series' young heroines face very real environmental and social justice problems (in Enter the Earth,
the Elisabeth must combat a factory farm threatening to overcome her
rural town), but frames them in an imaginative and spellbinding way
that kids will love.
Online Quizzes and Games:
Check the Green Schools Initiative Resources page for quizzes to measure your carbon and ecological footprints, measure your waste awareness. Kids may enjoy play Food Force, an online game created by the United Nations World Food Programme. Players must join a team to help save and rebuild a mythical island and feed the hungry.
Audio Tool: "A Musical Celebration of Nature's Genius"
The Biomimicry Institute has introduced an educational CD - "Ask the Planet" - with music and lyrics designed to reconnect children to nature, create a sense of awe for the environment and teach them about the concept of biomimicry.
What is biomimicry? It's a discipline focused on developing sustainable technologies inspired by ideas from Nature to solve human problems. Nature has devised ingenious solutions for myriad problems, and so can people.
Order the CD