The Trend is Green

While not yet as popular as SpongeBob SquarePants, recycling projects are a growing trend in elementary schools.  If your school is not hip to the green yet, visit and browse through the Greenguard certified furniture section to find products that are made green and can aid in your schools recycling efforts.  Find activity tables large enough to make recycling posters or to sort through recyclable items.  Create a space with a computer workstation for getting your green messages out on the world wide web.

 MANSFIELD – Every morning, students at Southeast Elementary School pack up recyclable items and take them to school, where they sort them into designated bins. And after lunch, they compost the food waste outside the school.

Now, two interns from the University of Connecticut’s five-year integrated bachelor’s and master’s program in the Neag School of Education are building on the school’s history of recycling efforts to include nature and the environment in regular classroom curriculum. The interns are working to earn their master’s in elementary education and have been working with teachers at Southeast since the start of the school year.

“Environmental education is a key thing,” said Liz Kloeblen, one of the interns. “It’s something I want to include into my own classroom. It provides students with a more well-rounded education.” She and Danielle Smith are working with the teachers and Principal Norma Fisher-Doiron at Southeast in “making the environment and the outdoors an interdisciplinary topic,” Kloeblen said.

They are working with the 245 students from pre-K to fourth grade to use the environment to help teach subjects such as math and poetry. Kloeblen said a class collected leaves outside and wrote poems about them. Fisher-Doiron said the school became the first “green” elementary school in the state in 1997. It also earned the green flag award for recycling in 2001, and they are hoping to earn the award in other areas as well. She said the students can take what they have been learning since they entered the school and bring it with them wherever they go. “It’s the science, it’s the everyday living that we continue to do, and it’s our interns that make it possible for us,” Fisher-Doiron said.

For America Recycles Day, Nov. 15, Smith and Kloeblen have set up a full day of events. There will be a fashion show with clothes made out of recycled materials, including a tie made out of rubber, a coin purse made out of a tire, a T-shirt made out of plastic bottles and boots made out of milk bottles.

There will also be recycling games and a book swap for students to trade their books for new ones. They have also created a guide book for the nature trails behind the school. One class that was reading a book about owls went to the trail to learn more about owls by collecting the droppings and dissecting them to find out what they eat.

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