Last Week’s 3 R’s

It wasn’t what you think – rather it was Reduce, Re-use, Recycle!  Mary Beth Calnan came to visit and educate students at Winthrop, and re-invigorate our efforts toward protecting the planet. Mary Beth brought along Jessie Schmidt, who is an intern working with the Energy Efficiency manager, and who promised to come back later in the year to help us get better at energy conservation.

Together these ladies stood on our stage, dumped out some trash collected from the day before, and evaluated our efforts at sustainability.  We learned about a recent change to cardboard recycling in Melrose (no more cutting!), a bit about composting, and grew excited to participate again in the Trex plastic bag recycling contest!

In the week that has passed since the assembly, the staff at Winthrop has redistributed recycling bins so that all classrooms and common areas have both a paper/cardboard and a plastic bin, and we’re working to see that they’re clearly labeled.  Our plastic bag containers were quickly overflowing and they’re already in need of emptying.

If you’re interested in working more as a family, the county of San Mateo (California) has a child friendly website which incorporates the science behind “the 3 R’s.”  Also, National Geographic has a game on its website entitled “Recycle Roundup” which is very similar to what the students did with Mary Beth and Jessie.  The library is always a good resource for books you might not normally pick up at the bookseller.  It would be interesting to find a fictional story or picture book, and then match it to a non-fiction selection on the topic.

However, the most important thing you can do as a family, much like what we’re trying to do here at school, is to model the behavior we want children to repeat.  So, go ahead – reduce, re-use, and recycle!

“If you are planning for a year, sow rice; if you are planning for a decade, plant trees; if you are planning for a lifetime, educate people.” ~~ Chinese proverb

Life in the Lunchroom!

During our first few, short, weeks of school the staff and I have been working on lunchroom expectations with the students. It can be very chaotic with over 100 kiddos in the all-purpose room for each lunch period, so we need to maintain some level of calmness and order.  However, we also need to provide a time for students to decompress, refuel, and prepare for an afternoon of learning!

I went class to class and spoke with the students about what should – and shouldn’t – happen in the lunchroom. Their ideas were right on, but not always easy to put into practice.

This week we’ll continue to work on what it looks like, and sounds like, in the Winthrop lunchroom, and I hope to start discussing manners – those little words that help us live in a civilized world – and lunchroom!