Look Around Your School for Earth Day Treasure. Recycle. Reuse. Refurbish.

Around Earth Day we can't help but think about all the "stuff" we use in our lives on a daily basis that get thrown away. I especially do this at school. When it comes to teaching items, things can be expensive. A brand new teaching cart can run from $150-$400. And, if you prefer a cart with a bottom shelf, plastic, or maybe has a drawer, well then you are way out of any teacher's budget! 

One Teacher's Junk, Can be Another Teacher's Treasure!
In 2010: After several requests for a cart I was lucky to receive a dilapidated 35-ish year old full metal cart from the world languages department. I was fortunate though, there was not a cart in the building without an owner. This cart was an eye sore; it had scratches, rusted shelves and legs, lots of half-ripped stickers, questionable stains, and dented. But I didn't mind! It was all mine! I was ready to give it some TLC. So slowly, I began to use the cart for student's projects. But, then, it sat in my department office. Idle. Lonely, Cluttered. Collecting unwanted junk.

November, 2012: My co-teaching partners and I embarked on a journey, in a pilot program to teach with "secondary centers." All of a sudden we needed to be mobile with our folders, task cards, posters, index cards, markers, file crates, clip boards. Wall-ah! The cart was ready to rise to the occasion in the English department and house our centers and teaching materials.

Summer, 2013: Pinterest gave me inspiration, lots of hope, a dream. I saw lots of pins on how to refurbish old filing cabinets, old office chairs, stools, metal desks...so why not my cart?

September, 2013: With the expertise of my physical education teacher husband (who has a summer painting business) we made a list of all the things I needed from Home Depot to complete the process: spray paint, blue tape, 4 bags, steel wool, and clear contact paper (optional) 

So here are the before and after pictures of our process in turning the cart into a viable and integral teaching center! ENJOY!

Here are some Earth Day teaching ideas for your classroom this week...


Grades 1-5. Once assembled your students will love that it will actually look like Earth! Lines up perfectly with numbered pages, dashed guidelines for cutting, and engaging pages with activities. 
  • Facts, history, and background about Earth Day
  • Reuse, Recycle, and Reduce 
  • Coloring and sorting activity
  • Puzzle & Writing Prompt pages
  • Acrostic Poetry page
  • Slogan and T-Shirt design page
Great for ELA, science, social studies, or health. CCSS Reading Informational Text, Writing, and Language. Recommended for grades 1-5. You know your students best. 
  • Display in your classroom on the wall...better yet, hang them in the hall in a showcase! 
  • Have the assessment due on April 22nd… which is Earth Day!
  • Earth Day is a great school holiday because all students will enjoy the celebration (there is no religious significance).
  • Earth Day is celebrated worldwide! 

Here is an Earth Day FREEBIE in my TpT store that would be perfect for grades 7-12. 

FREE Earth Day Task Cards


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From Fern Smith's Classroom Ideas, here is a great Earth Day Math activities pack for grades K-3...Earth Day Addition and Subtraction Centers, Printable Seatwork and Foldables

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And...A blog post from Teach 123, "Earth Day Fun"
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