(Feature image art thanks to: Pinkadots Elementary, Kimberly Geswein Fonts, with image composite from KTP on TpT, Jessica Tobin and Carmela Fiorino Vieira)

Whether you celebrate it by planting a tree, digging a garden, recycling bottles, picking up trash in your community, or going on a nature walk, Earth Day is an important reminder of our limited natural resources and the need to be thoughtful every day.

How will you incorporate Earth Day (April 22nd) into your day, week, or year?

Get a Little Dirty — Plant a Tree

That Rocks Math Science and ELA: Earth Day

Trees are pretty awesome: They clean the air, help conserve energy by providing cooling shade, help prevent erosion and water pollution, provide wood and habitats for wildlife, and some even provide food. What’s not to like about a tree? Rocks Math Science and ELA says, “Some things I’ve done in the past with my middle school kids include cleaning up the school grounds, having a reuse-recycle trash project contest (where students make a new product from old products), a phone book drive to recycle old phone books, and since Earth Day is close to Arbor Day, planting and giving out trees.” Try her Earth Day Activities! Informational Texts Plus More for Middle School.

Don’t just take our word for it, check out Mary Carr’s, The Benefits of Trees with Coordinate Grid Activity – Environmental Math and help your students graph the benefits of trees in their community.

Meredith Anderson: Earth DayAnd if it’s not a tree, plant a garden or some flowers. Meredith Anderson says, “Our vegetable garden seedlings are already started for our garden so we continue to water them and get them ready for transplant. Near Earth Day we amend the garden beds and plant snow pea seeds. We use compost from our compost bin, which is always rich and really helps the vegetables grow. We often get ‘volunteer’ plants from previous years right in the compost bin and transplant them to the garden.” Be sure to check out Meredith’s Earth Day Math, Science, and ELA MEGA Unit! for more great tips. And Dynelle Dunn’s Earth Day- Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. She too will be planting trees with her students.

Madame Angel: Earth DayCompost is for the worms — and doesn’t Madame Angel’s class know it! “In my class and school we try and make being ‘green’ a part of daily life.  Each classroom is equipped with a compost bin and two recycling bins. Students learn right from Kindergarten how to sort their recycling, and the compost is used in our community-run garden.” Madame Angel teaches 1st grade French and will incorporate Earth Day vocabulary into her lessons using her Jour de la terre: Earth Day activities in French.

For an Earth Day Common Core resource, you might try The Teacher Next Door’s Earth Day Literacy Set: Common Core for 4th and 5th Grades. She says, “We recycle in our classrooms and at lunch year round. My school has a garden that we work and compost in. Near Earth Day, I start an Earth Day literacy/ecology unit that focuses on taking care of the Earth and my class also plants a tree each year.”

Reduce / Reuse / Recycle — Every Bit Counts

When I think reduce/reuse/recycle, I often think of physical goods. But what about energy? Two Nuts Teaching from the Same Tree say, “One activity the kids LOVE participating in is a writing experiment called ‘A Day without Energy.’ In this activity students track their activities for a day and identify which activities use electricity. Then, students write a story describing their day without energy. They have to think about the little things like the fact that their daily bowl of cereal requires the fridge to keep the milk cold. Once students have written their pieces, they exchange with a partner and each person becomes an energy detective looking for forgotten energy in the story. The kids have such a great time and are always amazed at how much they depend on electricity throughout the day.” Try their Earth Day Celebration resource and see what a day without energy looks like in your classroom.

La-Nette Mark: Earth Day: Earth DayTurn recycling into fundraising! La-Nette Mark suggests, “We recycle ink cartridges and toner all year long. Students bring in their old ink cartridges and we box them up to send in to a recycling center. This is a great way to help save the earth and also the recycling center pays us. This is  a GREAT fundraiser for things we need in the classroom and field trips!” Her Let’s Go Green America! resource is packed with fun ideas.

Kaitlynn Albani’s started an Eco Club —  “With Earth Day approaching, we’ve focused on addressing a wide range of issues from basic recycling and waste reduction, to cleaner indoor air, gardening, and energy conservation. A colleague and I act as a mentors for the club which makes it easy for us to tie the club’s activities into our curriculum. Our environmental club members serve as recycling monitors at lunch, they are in charge of bottle cap recycling, and trash recycling. The young ones serve as paper monitors, trash monitors, recycler of the day and earth eyes.” She suggests her Earth Day resource and says, “It is a simple packet that allows students to become more familiar with caring for the earth and understanding the importance of Earth Day!”

The Daring English Teacher: Earth DayIt’s important to continuously reinforcing these values but it’s tough in the higher grades with so much to cover! The Daring English Teacher has an Earth Day Group Research Project and suggests, “Seeing as how short and sustained research projects (along with finding and citing evidence) are a big proponent of the Common Core Curriculum, I’ll have my students work on a short group research project. This project includes topics for research including the history of Earth Day and current environmental issues.”

Also for the upper grades, Julie Faulkner’s Classics Meet Current: An Integrated ELA Unit {Walden, Wordsworth & Wall-E} of which she says, “As a junior year English teacher, I need to incorporate some pretty ‘heavy’ material — Thoreau’s Walden. I recently conducted my ‘Our Place in this World’ unit, which makes real-world, modern connections to the classics. It asks the essential question: ‘What is our responsibility to the environment?’ It really got my students thinking, and made the classic more accessible!”

More Creative Earth Day Activities

iHeartLiteracy: Earth DaySome of our Teacher-Authors recycle outside the box. iHeartLiteracy is says, “Our school is actually very connected with nature year round. We have access to an outdoor learning park that is about a 7 minute walk away. Each grade level has contributed to restoring the area of the nature park which was wiped out when a dam was taken down. Earth Day provides another great day for us to appreciate the absolutely gorgeous world around us.” Try her Literacy Center: Word Family Recycling.

Crockett’s Classroom used to put on a play about bugs. Now she does a countdown to Earth Day — “My newest product is a countdown to Earth Day. With 11 informational articles and a student activity for each, it’s perfect to use in the days leading up to Earth Day.” See her Earth Day Countdown, Learning how to help the Environment resource.

Sandra Naufal: Earth DayRainbow City Learning’s school is also nicely situated, “We have a great nature trail at our school, and our kids and parents celebrate Earth Day by cleaning up the whole trail, and getting it ready for the new season of trail walks and science observations. We also have a butterfly garden in a little courtyard right outside my classroom window, maintained by kids!” Wowzers — sounds great. Consider her Earth Day Student Heroes resource where “every kid can be an Earth Day hero helping to preserve our planet.”

Similarly, Sandra Naufal’s school is always eco-conscious and healthy, “We celebrate Earth day every day! Our school focuses on keeping lights off at lunch and recycling, sorting, and minimizing garbage. We’ll be working on an Everything Earth Day unit as well that involves art, language, science, and math activities. As a culminating task, we create a ‘walkable’ game board for our Phys Ed class.” Here’s a link to her Earth Day Activities – Grades 4 to 6.

Let’s not forget limited fossil fuels. Challenge yourself to walk or ride to work like First Grade Kate, “My district holds a challenge for people to bike to work for a week. We also recycle in our school and teach kids about reusing items to make other things. I teach math, so I made some Earth Day math centers to use this year too.” Here’s a link to her Earth Day Math Centers.

FlapJack Educational Resources has a whole bevvy of bonus Earth Day options: Take a look at her Earth Day TpT FREEBIES Ebook, also watch her YouTube TpT Earth Day Freebies video, and enjoy the Earth Day Go Green Freebies and Linky Party available on her blog.

I feel much more hopeful about the future of our planet after seeing all of the incredible teaching and learning that our Teacher-Authors do every day. Just for fun, make sure you get outside and take a classroom selfie to see if you make it onto the new “Blue Marble” photo.

There is no shortage of awesome Earth Day ideas and resources available on TpT. Go team and go green!

Simply Skilled In Second: Earth DayLatoya Reed: Earth DayAutism Educators: Earth DayLittle Schoolhouse on the Prarie: Earth Day

Shelley Gray: Earth DayScienceisfun: Earth DayKaren Pritchett: Earth DayMegan Shea: Earth Day

Literacy Loves Company: Earth Day Beyond Traditional Math: Earth DayCoach's Corner: Earth DayErin Holleran: Earth Day