Part 3: Best Management Practices
We created a new job in the classroom. The Energy Engineer is in charge of making sure the lights and water are turned off when leaving any classroom areas. Each homeroom classroom has an Energy Engineer, students take turns having this job.
Spring 2013 and 2014: Students in grades K - 5 participated in Live Green Howard County's 20 minute cleanup. We had over 80 students collect trash on our playground areas during their 20 minute recess. One large trash bag was filled. http://livegreenhoward.com/
Fall 2014: Students in first grade made 4x4 signs promoting the turning off of lights and water. Winners were reproduced, hard laminated and posted throughout the building. Students in fifth grade made posters reminding people to conserve energy.
2013- 2015 School year: Green School Club utilized the book, The NEW 50 Simple Things Kids Can Do to Save the Earth by the EarthWorks Group, for weekly activities. The students learned about energy conservation. They shared their energy conservation tips with other students in the fifth grade and with students and staff in the school by reading their tips on the announcements. Fifth grade teachers thought the book would be helpful to other teachers so a copy was purchased for each grade level team. Teams use the book for read-alouds or let students read parts of the book during independent reading time.
Waverly engages in several activities to reduce the amount of papers going to staff and home to families. Waverly provides staff with an electronic handbook on a wiki website. Documents are updated each school year. A daily bulletin is sent electronically to staff each morning. We call it the W.O.W. for Words of Wisdom. Both the school and PTA maintain websites to share information with the community. The websites are kept up to date and maintain information that used to be sent home in hard copy. Even registration forms for after school activities are available on the PTA website. The school's weekly newsletter, The Wire, is sent electronically through HCPSS News. Hard copies are provided for families without access to a computer. New this year: our band and orchestra teacher prepared an A,B,C,D schedule to use the entire year. He sent the schedule electronically and made one set for each teacher. Instead of giving his students a new schedule each week, he now just has to announce what letter schedule it will be for the week.
School Years 2012-2014: Our paraeducators have been an integral part of our recycling program in our school. Paraeducators are with the students in the cafeteria to educate and encourage the students to recycle properly. Photos of our students recycling in our cafeteria are shown below. When the cafeteria recycling began, the recyclables filled up one trash can throughout all six lunch shifts. Now that the students have become more proficient at recycling, three recycling cans are filled. The students and their families have become so knowledgeable about waste reduction, that many students bring trash-free lunches to school on a regular basis.
2012-13 School year: The Green School Club was interested in offering an electronics recycling program at our school. They researched programs and chose the Cartridges for Kids program. Empty ink cartridges, cell phones, cameras, laptops are collected in a box in the school lobby. When there are enough to fill a box, they are packed up and sent to the company. The school receives money for the items collected and sent. The money earned will be used to purchase plants for our new butterfly garden.
Fall 2013: 2nd Grade Language Arts: Recycle Bingo. Students cut out pre-printed pictures and glued them onto cardstock gameboards to create bingo cards. The final product is a classroom set that is distributed throughout the building for classes to play each year.
2013-14 School year: Students begin their physical education classes with a warm up that includes jogging and exercises. Weights were needed for the students to use when they jog. The physical education teachers placed bins in the staff lounge to collect plastic bottles. They filled the bottles with sand and turned them into weights! Students use the bottles in many ways as part of their warm-up fitness routine. The pictures below show the different ways the weights are used.
Fifth Grade students formed a Green School Club with a staff mentor. One of their first initiatives was to discuss recycling during morning announcements and they even came up with a recycling cheer for the entire school to chant in the morning. Their script and cheer are posted in the below.
Students in the 5th grade Green School Club wrote, directed, acted and filmed a skit about the Terracycle Program that will be shared with all students in our building. The skit teaches the importance of this program and how to participate. The students will share the video with each grade level team during a team meeting in April as part of Earth Day activities.
2012-13 School year: We consulted with Howard County Master Gardeners to discuss creating a butterfly garden in the courtyard in the center of our school. The Master Gardeners provided suggestions for cleaning up the existing courtyard plantings. There were evergreen bushes damaged by insects and several plants in need of pruning. 4th and 5th grade students pruned and removed the dead bushes. This was the first step in preparing the courtyard for the butterfly garden.
The Master Gardeners provided our Green School Committee with information about butterfly gardens including the use of native host plants and nectar plants. The grandfather of one of our students is a landscape architect and volunteered to design the butterfly garden using plants suggested by the Master Gardeners. He spent quite a bit of time researching butterfly gardens so his design would attract and sustain butterflies. With the assistance of a local landscape company, Salt Creek Gardens, Inc., parents and students will plant the garden in April. Some of the plants will be donated by families willing to divide perennials (such as Black-Eyed Susan's and Cone Flowers) from their home gardens.
Spring 2013: We worked with the HCPSS Grounds Department to establish a "no-mow" zone on the Waverly school property. The options are limited because most of the school's property backs up to homes with a thin tree line separating the two. The Green School Committee suggested that the grassy area between the school and a line of White Pines along the northern side of our property be a "no-mow" zone. Not only would this zone lessen the pollutants that go into the air from mowing, but it would also serve as a barrier to trash from the athletic fields that often blow through the tree line to Route 99. The trash could easily be collected along the school side of the "no-mow" zone. After meeting with the Grounds Department, it was determined that the no-mow zone would be in back of the school in front of the woods that separate the school property from a neighborhood. This is a larger area than the area first considered.
Structures for Environmental Learning
2013-14 School year: A learning space was created to compliment our habitat restoration in our courtyard. The windows that are along one side of the courtyard have pictures and labels of the plants and insects that are found within this habitat. This will enable students to easily identify plants and insects they see when they look out the windows into the courtyard. The PTA purchased cement benches for the courtyard several years ago. These benches will now be used by students as they sit in the courtyard for a lesson or as a writing surface when they make observations as part of a curriculum lesson.
Photos of our hallway looking out into our courtyard. We have labeled plant, butterfly and bird species that can be found in our new butterfly garden.
Students using our courtyard as a learning environment.
Photos of our staff preparing the courtyard for our new butterfly garden:
Spring 2015: 2nd Grade GT Instructional Seminar: Bird Watchers. Students who were interested in nature and birds were allowed to stay in during recess and participate. They learned what makes a bird a bird scientifically, why various species of birds are different, how to use field guides to identify common birds. The students will soon make simple bird feeders for their own backyard and investigate the habitat surrounding them. In addition to making bird feeders at home, they will also make some for Waverly.