Blog Archives

The Great Locker Clean Out

No one likes to see things go to waste.  Unfortuantely, as the school year draws to a close, many locker items simply get thrown away because it is just “easier”.  One of the CCS Green Team members ran a very efficient and effective all-school locker clean out for Clay Middle School that was designed to have as little as possible go into the trash.  Wendy DeLuca has outlined for us all how to run such an event.  Thank you, Wendy, for leading such a worthwhile project to minimize waste!

lockerAt Clay, by coordinating with school administration we helped first to educate students through periodic school announcements during the month of May, encouraging them to start taking things home that had accumulated in their lockers.  Then the week of locker clean out we had daily announcements, some to suggest to bring certain items home each day. Meanwhile we coordinated parent volunteers to be in the hallways during locker clean-out to encourage the kids to firstly, bring home as much as possible

or use next year (its amazing how kids think money grows on trees & that their parent will be happy to buy them a calculator each year!).  Secondly we encouraged them to put recyclable items into boxes we had placed next to the trash cans.  (We also spent time, sometimes with students helping) retrieving items form the trash bins that could be recycled or reused.)
Ideally it would be best to have 3 bins: trash, items for co-mingled recycling, & items for re-use.  We amassed the amazing amount of items for re-use in the school media center & organized it.  The media center specialist then emailed staff that they could come & take what they could use for their class/students next year. A day or so later, after teachers picked over the goodies, I then put what remained in my mini-van & took it to Teacher’s Treasures.  (In previous years we had also donated the items to IPS & Teach for America.)
Attached are documents from our efforts at Clay for locker clean-out. Perhaps with this as a starting point you can more easily assist at your school in educating & helping the students to reduce, reuse & recycle!
Download PDF of Timeline for locker clean out.
Several Weeks worth of announcements having students take home certain items each week so that the final locker clean out day isn’t so overwhelming! Download the Announcements for Locker Clean Out.
Wendy had only half of each grade go at a time so that it was not so overwhelming.  Good idea!  Each group had 20 minutes to clean out their locker.  Attached is the information to Volunteer information and outline of schedule they used on that day for each grade.
Posted in Green Ideas

Carmel Elementary Green Club’s Artistic Side

Recyclesaurus_RayCarmel Elementary’s Green Machine Club collected all the recycling they could for a week from the cafeteria.  They washed it all and sorted it into various groups (clear plastics, flat wear, etc).  Several parents showed up with their glue guns ready and they helped the children create their own sculptures.  Many students pitched in to make “Recyclesaurus Ray”, a T-Rex made out of plastic!  Great job showing us all how to reuse items and get in touch with our creative side!




Posted in Clubs

Orchard Park Green Club Creates a Bottle Tree

Orchard Park’s Green Club created a recycled bottle tree project. They began this project at their December meeting. The kids’ families collected plastic drinking bottles of all sizes, washing and removing the labels. The adult leaders were also gathering bottles for a couple of weeks beforehand. They selected 4 bright colors of paint, and let the kids paint the bottles, inside and out. While the paint was still wet, glitter was shaken onto the bottles. They were laid out to dry before being mounted. The art teacher at our school was kind enough to let us use the art room for this project, as it was a bit messy (to say the least). The kids, however, had a great time.  The tree is on display in the cafeteria.

OPE_bottle_tree OPE_bottle_tree6 OPE_bottle_tree15

Thanks for showing a creative way to reuse plastic bottles!

Posted in Clubs

Teacher Appreciation Luncheon Goes Greener!

recyclingearth_logoOn February 3, Carmel Middle School’s teacher appreciation luncheon was greener than usual, due to some changes implemented by PTO hospitality chairs Judi Hosfeld and Barb Moroknek.  Staff collaborated in a Reduce, Reuse and Recycle plan by bringing their own reusable cups to the lunch instead of using purchased paper or plastic tumblers.  They poured beverages from 2 liter bottles instead of using individual plastic bottles.  Judi and Barb created a homey atmosphere with cloth tablecloths instead of throwaway plastic ones.  And finally, staff put recyclable items into recycling containers instead of the trash.  The PTO Green Team celebrates all who cooperated to make this luncheon a success!

Posted in News

Felt Gift Bags

Name Marcia Roberts
Title of Activity Felt Gift Bags
Name of School Cherry Tree Elementary
Time Needed: 5 minutes per child
Materials Needed: Piece of felt or fleece
sewing machine
cording or yarn
cereal boxes or the like
Description of Activity: felt_bagFold the felt in half and sew the two sides together, leaving the top open. Turn the bag inside out. The cord can be used to tie the bag shut. Cut out holiday shapes from the boxes and use for gift tags. Tissue boxes are often nicely decorated already.  Decorate the brown side of the box. Tell the students that this bag can be used again and again for gifts.You can also show other creative ways to wrap/give gifts–using the comics, decorative tins, or send them on a scavenger hunt.
Posted in Green Club Ideas

Plastic Bag Chain

Name Marcia Roberts
Title of Activity Plastic Bag Chain
Name of School Cherry Tree Elementary
Time Needed: 1 hour to make the chain and extra time to hang it up
Materials Needed: 300 plastic bags (have students bring them in)
paper clips
fishing line
facts about plastic bags
Description of Activity: plastic_bag_chainThe average American uses over 300 plastic grocery bags per year. In an effort to show how many this really is, create a plastic bag chain. Simply tie the handles of the bags together and watch the chain grow! We suspended the chain from the ceiling using fishing line and paper clips that were stuck under the ceiling tiles. CHECK WITH YOUR PRINCIPAL HOW FAR THE CHAIN NEEDS TO BE FROM THE CEILING. THERE IS A FIRE CODE REGARDING THIS. We also hung a piece of paper in a plastic sleeve on the chain with a plastic bag fact on it every 20 feet to educate people. It was amazing to have people stop us while we put up the chain to ask “What is this for?” and have the opportunity to talk to them about using mesh bags, reusing bags or not using a bag at all.
Posted in Green Club Ideas

Swap Shop

Name Marcia Roberts
Title of Activity Swap Shop
Name of School Cherry Tree Elementary
Time Needed: 20 minutes
Materials Needed: Ask every member of your club to bring in items they no longer want or use. This could include games, books, jewelry, toys, etc.
Description of Activity: CTE_swap_shopPlace all items on a table and allow children to view what has been brought in. Emphasize to the students that the activity is about giving something to someone who would use it when you no longer do. It is NOT about getting something. This helps students understand that there might not be something they want and that is ok. Draw names out of a hat to see who gets to go first. Take all leftover items to Goodwill or an equivalent agency. Encourage students to do a reuse it swap with friends–they can exchange books, puzzles, games, etc.
Posted in Green Club Ideas

What Happens in an Oil Spill

Name Ann
Title of Activity What happens in an oil spill
Name of School Cherry Tree Elementary
Time Needed: 20 min
Materials Needed:
  • large clear plastic box or bowl of water 
  • tablespoon or so of cooking oil 
  • large spoon or beater 
  • a few rocks 
  • (some fur or dog hair can also be used) 
  • feathers for everyone
  • paper towels
  • toothbrushes
  • soap
Description of Activity: Set up the clear container of water at eye level for the kids. Have a few rocks in the water.

Pour a small amount of oil into the water. Watch it spread by itself, then mix it with the beater to simulate the waves.

Examine where the oil is.
Show how the rocks in the bottom don’t have much oil, but get oily when they comes out of the water. Maybe this happens to animals. You can show this also with animal fur or hair if you have some.

Dip some feathers into the oil and compare to dry feather. (You can let the kids dip a feather in)

Have the kids try to clean off the feathers and get them back to normal. Not easily done. This shows how animals are effected and how hard it is even for people to help clean the animals.

Posted in Green Club Ideas

Snowman Tin Can Pencil Holder

Name Ann
Title of Activity Snowman Tin Can Pencil Holder
Name of School Cherry Tree Elementary
Time Needed: 30 min
Materials Needed:
  • Clean, empty soup-type cansblack electrical or duct tape
  • white yarn cut into 6-12 inch pieces
  • orange felt
  • black felt
  • craft eyes or buttons
  • glue
  • scissors
  • something to pour glue onto
Description of Activity: This is a cute holiday or winter activity.Adults may want to cover the top open edge of the can with the black tape before the kids start the project. It should cover the metal edge and about 1 inch of the outside top of the can to represent the snowman’s hat.

The kids take strips of yarn, dip them in glue, then wrap them around the can below the black tape. You can also put the glue on the can first, then put the yarn on that. Both ways work.

Once the can is covered with yarn, add snowman features like eyes, nose and a mouth.
When it’s dry, it can be used as a pencil holder or a cute gift holder.

Projects like this are great to show kids how to reuse items.

Posted in Green Club Ideas

Junk Sculpture

Name Ann
Title of Activity Junk Sculpture
Name of School Cherry Tree Elementary
Time Needed: 45 min+
Materials Needed: Junk
including cardboard, egg cartons, parts of old broken things like beaters, bicycle pedals, interesting packaging shapes, peanut butter jars, margarine tubs, jar tops, wires, buttons, old cd’s, plastic bottles, cleaned lunchroom sporks, etc. Really anything you can find can inspire some sculpture.Hot glue, tape or other adhesives (We usually have packaging and duct tape available.)
permanent markers for adding details
Description of Activity: There are a number of artists and craftspeople who create new things out of old stuff. This is a chance for the kids to use their imagination and create something new.If you have a lot of time, you can let the kids create anything, but if you are a little pressed for time, I suggest having a theme to help focus the possibilities. Some theme ideas include: creatures, transportation, the garden.

Place all the “junk” in a common area and give the kids a few minutes to dig around and see what inspires them. Then get them to start making things. They will probably need help with the glue gun, but it is also useful to have lots of tape.

If your library or display windows are available, have the school display the works of art.

Posted in Green Club Ideas