Shelton students enjoy virtual Earth Day celebrations

Photo of Brian Gioiele

SHELTON — Students and teachers may be apart, but that is not preventing them from joining in Earth Day celebrations.

Schools asked students to send in photos of them doing their favorite outdoor activity, searching for signs of spring or ways they are taking care of the Earth on April 22, which has been known as Earth Day since 1970.

Sunnyside School Principal Amy Yost and school library media specialist Kari Yacawych created a S’more with read alouds and an Earth Day challenge. Students posted their "actions" to the challenge in a padlet, which will show up on the school’s Facebook page.

“It is critical, as educators, that we continue to support our students and families socially and emotionally,” said Yost. “We are trying to maintain set routines and schedules on a daily basis through our live morning announcements on Facebook and morning greeting through Google classrooms.

“In addition, we will continue to celebrate monthly school-wide events, such as Earth Day, College and Career week, spirit days and the Look for the Good campaign,” added Yost. “These routines allow us to stay connected and create a sense of unity. We are all in this together.”

Students submitted photos of themselves taking out the recycling, planting seeds with parents and turning off the water when brushing their teeth, among other environmentally friendly choices Wednesday.

The Long Hill School had a school-wide Earth Day activity, according to Principal Andrea D’Aiuto, in which families were asked to take photos and share them with her. She said she plans to make the photos into a video to share with all LHS families.

D’Aiuto said school-wide celebrations, such as Earth Day, are important because they keep staff and students connected.

“I think it's so important because, even though we are not physically in school to celebrate Earth Day, we can still do activities,” said D’Aiuto. “In a way, by doing this through distance learning, more interactive activities were able to be planned by our teachers.”

She said students have been able to come up with creative ideas and use household items they could recycle into a new item.

“They could go on scavenger hunts with their family,” said D’Aiuto. “They have also had the opportunity to go outside and not only enjoy the weather but to take their learning outside with some of the fun, engaging and educational activities provided by their teachers.”

D’Aiuto said third graders were doing a scavenger hunt outside and sharing how they could help the planet. Some of their ideas included “I can help earth by recycling cans, plastic bottles, plastic covers, paper, and glass bottles;” “I can help the earth by recycling plastic things. I can also help the earth by turning off the air conditioning and opening up a window;” and “I can help the earth by reusing my sheet of paper when I write things on it and erase it instead of throwing it out to save trees, I can reuse plastic bottles to make decorative items.”

First graders made self portraits out of natural materials, such as leaves, twigs and rocks, while kindergartners looked around their house for things they could recycle and made something new.

Mohegan School Principal Kristen Santilli said staff celebrated Earth Day Wednesday through literacy and nonfiction text along with science and experiments that children could do at home for pre-K through four.

"I have been doing weekly read aloud to the entire school community, and the one I sent today was a book about being kind not only to others but also to the Earth,” said Santilli, who read Change the World before Bedtime to the students via video.

“I am finding that these weekly read alouds through a video to the entire Mohican community has been helpful for children to see myself as well as teachers, who are sending videos as well,” added Santilli.

Elizabeth Shelton School Principal Bev Belden said each grade had events to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Earth Day.

Belden said kindergarteners made Earth Day hats and will do a scavenger hunt this week when the weather is warmer. First grade students made something out of recycled objects, said Belden, while second graders listened to the book "The Lorax" by Dr. Seuss and then responded to the question: If you were the Lorax, what would you do to help make your community a cleaner place?

Other students took a virtual 360-degree field trip to five of the U.S. national parks or read an article from "Read Works" article called “A Day to Celebrate Earth.” After reading, they listed to ways they can help to conserve energy and water and also reduce waste.