The Superhero Within Each Of Us: ESD with Grade 1 and 2

After seeing posters for the new The Lorax movie, I was reminded  of the education for sustainable development unit I did last year in my grade 1 -2 practicum classroom. The ESD project came about as I was rounding up a science unit on the ‘characteristics of objects and materials’. Early on in my blogging journey I wrote a post about the incredible Trash-o-saurus we created together as a class. In that post I mentioned how we sat down and discussed how we could all help take care of the earth and be agents of change in our world. I must say one of the most rewarding things about this whole project was help students see themselves as being powerful enough to create change for the better in their world despite only being 6 or 7 years old.

Being in a grade 1-2 classroom the natural way for me to kick off the discussion was to read stories on the theme of environmental stewardship, Dr Seuss’s The Lorax was one of the many books I chose as one I would share with the class. At first I was a bit apprehensive reading it to a group of 30 grade 1 -2 students because at times the book can get a bit complex and tricky to understand. However, the themes in the book are ones that all young students can understand: use your resources wisely and take care of the planet. I could never do a synopsis justice so see the video below for a full dramatic reading of the book!


A  few of the other books I read to the class were:

  •  Michael Recycle written by Ellie Bethel,
  • The Garbage Monster by Joni Sensel,
  • The EARTH Book by Todd Parr, I Can Save the Earth : One Little Monster Learns to Reduce, Reuse, Recycle by Alison Inches

Sadly those are the ones that  I can remember reading, just a few of the many we did read!

After reading each story I made a point of asking the students if they could do anything to help take care of the planet; each and every time they said yes. Together we brainstormed and learned about all the ways we could be our very own superhero’s and save the planet one small step at a time. Each child made a leaf with a deed they would do to be environmental stewards and together we created our own Earth Day pledge tree.

C.C. Grade 1/2 M 2011

 During the project  I challenged my students to create informational posters to help teach their schoolmates about the importance of recycling! Below are two examples of what they came up with.

C.C. Grade 1/2 M 2011

C.C. Grade 1/2 M 2011

During all this time we were also creating our very own classroom Trash-o-saurus! (If you would like to learn more about how to make your own dino, head on over to my earlier blog post: Prehistoric Enviro-Art Project)

Some links and resources:


3 thoughts on “The Superhero Within Each Of Us: ESD with Grade 1 and 2

  1. Hello there! I just got done reading your most recent post, and I can tell you that I truly enjoyed your notes. The Lorax is a favorite book of mine and I’m an avid lover of Dr. Suess and his whimsical background. I found your post to be quite inspiring and insightful. I’m an aspiring game designer and getting an opportunity to read an article about one of my favorite childhood books and seeing how you’ve gone about teaching children the act of conservation through it really spoke to me.

    I’m hoping that one day I’ll be able to create games that will evoke the same sort of learning and growing experiences in both children and adults, because often times I feel like even as we get older we forget some of the lessons taught to us in our youth. We become complacent with the world around us and we forget that we’re still capable of changing major issues in this world.

    Thanks again! I was wondering if I might borrow that video as well? I’m doing a review of the new Lorax film for a friends blog and it would be awesome to have that as a contrast to explanation of the film version to show the differences in mood. Thanks again! You have a wonderful blog here!

  2. Thanks for your kind words! Education for sustainable development is such an important thing to teach young children. I’m glad that I can use literature and art to help deepen the message!

    If you want to use the video grab the html code from Youtube and embedd it into your post. I forgot to cite the author but will do so now!

  3. Hey Mary!

    I just recently did a post on education and video games, I figured you’d be interested in it, but didn’t think it would be right just to post a link here in your blog. If you’re interested please feel free to check it out. I’m all about how we can help make the world a better place through educating the children of today with the technology of the future – also, I’ve read a few other articles from your blog and it’s a lovely glimpse into the world of teaching for me.

    I’m going to use what I learn from your blog in my work as a designer for sure. Take care and have a great day!

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