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Walking to School

10% Energy Challenge 2009

The participating elementary schools are all kicking-off the challenge on April 17th. The goal is to get as many families signed up as possible by May 30th. Several schools are promoting the challenge through "Lights out" campaigns the morning of Earth Day and/or by having students add leaves/fruit with an Earth Day commitment to a tree display. Participating schools will have a poster with a thermometer in a visible location. The school will track the success of the challenge on the thermometer. Information explaining the 10% Challenge will be sent home in students backpacks.

Earth Day 2009

The Needham Public Schools celebrated Earth Day a week early because of school vacation week. All of the schools had a range of activities that students, teachers and parents participated in.


  • Walk to School day
  • Students wear green
  • Plant for every classroom
  • Green lunch in the cafeteria
  • List posted in Cafeteria of “4 simple things you can do” – kids stamp category
  • Tree of hope
  • Encourage 10% Challenge sign up


  • Walk to School day: walkers pick up trash on the way to school and deposit in a central collection bin
  • Encourage everyone to wear green
  • Decorate lobby with balloons
  • Provide apples as a healthy snack to all of the classrooms
  • School assembly:
  • Kids sing 2 rehearsed songs
  • 5th grade leaders do a Polar Bear reading w/ pictures
  • Award certificates to recycled art show participants
  • Award polar bear to winning classroom
  • No utensil day in cafeteria. Students to bring reusable bottles
  • Traveling book basket--one for each class
  • Lobby will be decorated with an endangered species display
  • Spring Phoneraiser

In addition:

Recycled art show –students, on their own, make creations out of recycle materials to be displayed in the lobby the week of Earth Day. All participants will be awarded with a certificate and a piggy bank made from recycled electronics. We’ll give out the awards at the Earth Day assembly or simply read out their names if there are too may kids.

Adopt a polar bear from Worldwide Wildlife Foundation we have “adopted” a polar bear through the WWF in order to help preserve an endangered species. The adoption comes with a stuffed polar bear. Each book basket will have age appropriate books on polar bears. Each classroom will be given the opportunity to name the stuffed bear. The winning classroom will keep the bear as a class pet for the rest of the year.

Participate in Needham’s 10% challenge for elementary kids --kick off of town wide event. Classrooms can participate in the kickoff by choosing to keep lights out in the classroom until 9 a.m.—or approximately 10% of the school day. Each student will be given a 10% challenge bookmark as well as a notice to go home to parents explaining the challenge and providing tips to do at home.


  • Children will be encouraged to walk or ride bikes to school that day
  • Children will be encouraged to wear Green to school that day
  • A "GREEN" lunch is on the school menu. The children will be encouraged to use no plastic utensils that day.
  • A paper tree will be displayed in the lobby and all of the Hillside children will place a PLEDGE on a leaf and put it on the tree.
  • Teaching in the classroom all week about how to pack a recyclable lunch (no plastic etc) A poster demonstrating a Green packed lunch will be in the lobby.
  • We will sing the song "Reduce*Reuse*Recycle using the African drums

Our 4th and 5th grade Green teams will give a talk on the inner school electric reduction campaign

  • We will post the results from our TAP water project
  • We will plant a tree on the school grounds with the whole student body watching


Mitchell Earth Day presentation will include:

  • an address by our prinicpal with an Earth Day theme.
  • An 8 minute film about what happens to the things we recycle via a visit to the Springfield, MA RTS
  • A brief presentation (10 minutes) by a member for GNC, in which she will demonstrate different types of recycling via a plastic bag full of items and pull things out of the bag and ask "what could we do with this? i.e. plastic bottle, old pair of pants, aluminum can, old banana peel, etc. Then compare the original filled bag, to bag after they recycled/composted/donated.
  • Student Council banner will be displayed with Student Council designed Green logo and handprints of all school kids.
  • Display of framed student council designed green logo to be hung in front lobby.

In addition to the presentation:

  • encourage kids to wear green
  • encourage kids to walk to school
  • have green lunch - No utensils
  • encourage parents to pack "responsible" lunch if bringing from home
  • Display "responsible" v. "disposable" lunch posters
  • Publicize recycling initiative, with distinction between pre-waterbottle counts and post-waterbottle counts (Mitchell Reusable Waterbottle)
  • Publicize results of cell phone recycling campaign
  • Kick-off participation in Green Needham 10% Energy Challenge
  • Send home email pre-notification of events to help involve parents


  • Encourage everyone to wear something green
  • Walk to School Day - Sight and Sound Scavenger Hunt
  • Lights Out Newman - teachers are encouraged not to turn on lights or computers for the first half hour of school


  • Principal will speak about Earth Day
  • Assembly song - This Land is Your Land
  • Pre-schoolers recite poem
  • kindergarten - song or poem
  • 1st grade class to sing special Earth Day song
  • Entire 3rd grade recite poem
  • 4th grade class to present a special Earth Day project
  • 5th grade class to present on rainforest followed by a skit called Little Green Riding Hood (written by Francoise Flourens- Kindergarten mom)
  • Lance Remsen, Town Arborist, will speak about Arbor Day
  • Students will help plant several apple trees (and cherry blossoms) in the island in front of Newman
  • Each student will receive a tree seedling to take home
  • 10% Challenge Kick-off. Students will write one Earth Day commitment which will be hung on painted trees in the cafeteria
  • Encourage "No Waste" lunch. Asking parents to send in all reusable packaging and utensils
  • Fifth graders will choose and announce a Green tip every day of the Earth Day week
  • Media Center will display Green books in the window all week and will promote these books during media time
  • Students will make Earth Day posters to decorate the school
  • Announcement of the winner of our vote of which endangered animal for the school to adopt
  • New "No Idling" signs to be installed for Earth Day. The sign was designed by Newman student Amber Crossman
  • Newman Earth day website - students, parents and teachers will be encouraged to check out the educational resources put together on the website