Mrs. McGowan's First Grade Class
H.W. Mountz Elementary School
Spring Lake, New Jersey
The River Ran Wild, An Environmental History


Our project in a nutshell: after reading lots of springtime and environmental themed stories, the children wrote something they can do right now to make a difference in keeping the earth clean and safe for living things. They wrote this in the traditional way (paper/pencil) and created a Readers Theater script from this work. We read the script to two other classes on Earth Day.

Then, in response to Lynne Cherry's book, The River Ran Wild, An Environmental History, the children used their ideas to create "postcards" for a class of firstgraders who will be in school twenty years from now. This activity focused on doing something practical right now to help the earth while thinking about who might benefit in future years - other children, maybe even their own.

They typed their postcards in a wordprocessing program (MS Word), using a teacher-made template. Then they created graphic images in PAINT to use as pictures on the cards.

Postcards to the Class of 2025 ... We're Making A Difference

Students created pictures to show the story elements (beginning, middle, end) in The River Ran Wild


The river was clean and ran fast.


People dumped paper pulp, trash and chemicals into the river polluting it. It moved slowly, smelled bad and the fish died.

In the 1960's laws were changed, dumping stopped, and people helped clean up the river. Now it is clean and a home to fish again.

Here's a pretty spring flower that Jessica made in PAINT

You can see all the Earth Day Postcards at my webpage.

New Jersey Core Curriculum Standards:

Language and Literacy
3.2 listen actively in a variety of situations to information from a variety of sources.
3.3 write in clear, concise, organized language that varies in content and form for different audiences and purposes.
3.4 read various materials and texts with comprehension and critical analysis.
3.5 view, understand, and use nontextual visual information.

Social Studies 6.9 acquire geographical understanding by studying the environment and society.

Science
5.10 (ENVIRONMENTAL STUDIES) All students will develop an understanding of the environment as a system of interdependent components affected by human activity and natural phenomena.

National Educational Technology Standards for Students. (NETS)
Use technology communications tools: Students use telecommunications to collaborate, publish, interact with peers, experts, and other audiences.


Susan Silverman & Linda Brandon - Beautiful Spring, Beautiful Earth 2005