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Not Your Ordinary Easter Basket

Create an Earth Friendly Easter Basket

Easter is just around the corner, and it's by far my favorite holiday. I love everything about Easter. The significance of the holiday, the time of year, cute dresses, and the hope of starting fresh. I try to make spring a special time of year for my students. Although they're in fifth grade, these will be some of their last times to enjoy some seasonal fun at school.

Each year I work to impart some nuggets of wisdom for these young minds to contemplate and take with them into the world. I'm sure all teachers and parents feel the same way. For years, my classes have focused on being responsible stewards of our planet Earth. We've done school wide clean up days, family challenges, research projects, and one class even painted me green as a reward to themselves for changing their un-Earth friendly ways.

For several years now my students have made Easter baskets with a twist. I contacted the Energy Services department of our local city government (I imagine most cities have one) and asked if they had any promotional items that would help to encourage a family to be more Earth friendly. They have happily agreed for years to supply materials, and we appreciate it!

Each student brings in a used Easter basket. We take paper out of our classroom recycling bin and put it through the shredder for grass to fill the bottom of the basket. Next, we arrange items that the city has sent to us (i.e. CFL light bulbs, household thermometers, rain gauges, water and electricity saving tips, etc.). Brainstorming and a couple of lessons on energy later, students draft pledge cards for their families to sign. This is a commitment that their entire family will be more conscious of their habits and decisions when it comes to saving our planet. The students head home with an adorable, Earth wise, and educational basket. What better way to celebrate a season of fresh starts!

Other great ideas for alternative basket themes...

Make adjective baskets. Students put a kind and accurate adjective to describe each classmate in a plastic egg (a piece of candy wouldn't hurt either). Then allow them to pass them out. When the students open their basket of eggs they see a lot of great descriptive words, and feel a little confidence boost too! Put their creative writing skills to the test by having the student write a story using all the adjectives that they received in their basket.

Make science classification baskets. After teaching about different types of animals (mammals, fish, birds, amphibians, reptiles, etc.) have students sort pictures or names of animals into different eggs that are labeled correctly (either with a marker, sticker, or printed picture). Take it a step farther and have the children design an animal that is a mixture of the different animals that they sorted. For example an elephant with cheetah legs, a bird's wings, a manatee's tail, and a horse's body!

For younger children you could have them sort candy or items around the house by colors. Use the color of the Easter egg as your guide. Make it a hunt through magazines or around the house for added fun!

Whatever your Easter basket holds, we hope that is full of the sweetness of springtime!

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