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Charity spotlight

A Natural Selection

What are your plans for Earth Day 2012? When you think of charities to help out, think trees and grass and critters, and the organizations working every day to protect them.

We love nature, so it's only natural that we love The Nature Conservancy too. This organization works around the world to save lands and waters for nature and people.

The Nature Conservancy has preserved more than 119 million acres of land and 5,000 miles of rivers worldwide — and they operate more than 100 marine conservation projects globally. With a foot in all 50 states and more than 30 countries, they protect habitats from grasslands to coral reefs in places all the way from Alaska to Zambia. Check Nature Conservancy out today.

Great idea

Earth Day is April 22, but you can celebrate all year long with clever craft activities!

One of our favorites is planting a simple herb garden. Just grab a grownup and a small planter. Decide on your three favorite herbs -- we recommend pizza toppers like basil and oregano, and mint for summer lemonade. Use a long rectangular planter and cluster the seeds in three areas so they grow together.

Start the seeds indoors now, and before you know it, you'll have a garden full of good taste. When the seedlings are sturdy in a few weeks, move the planter outside and enjoy your delicious greens!

Home For teachers
For teachers
Great Role Models for Our Kids

Teachers know better than anyone how important it is to encourage children to develop empathy and kindness toward others – in the classroom, the school, or the broader community. And teachers play a critical role in their students’ development.

Teachers can be strong role models for their students. By sharing the wonderful things they do to give back to the community, teachers can show students what service is all about. Students love to hear what their teachers do when they’re not in the classroom, whether it’s supporting groups that restore wetlands or volunteering at a battered women’s shelter.

It’s easy to link philanthropic ideas to curriculum. Learning about animals? There are plenty of great organizations that help to protect endangered species. Maybe students are sharing stories about their own pets? That’s a great chance to teach them about animal shelters and the services they provide. Children can be very interested in learning about natural disasters, part of which should be the uplifting stories and heroics that often go along with them.

The parties outlined in The Good Fun! Book are filled with ideas and activities, good food and fun crafts. And while it’s not possible to spend a whole school day partying in the classroom, teachers can easily pick and choose activities or learning opportunities that best fit student interests and the time allotted.

We know teachers don’t need any more work on their plates during the school day. While students will need their teacher's guidance (and permission) for the parties, these activities are designed for children to organize themselves. Part of learning to give back and feel empowered is to do the actual work involved, including cleanup! If students are not the ones making the effort, they will miss the invaluable learning opportunities.

And by sharing what they've done with a video clip or by writing an essay, students can become teachers themselves and show others how to do the same.

We’d love to hear from you! If your classroom is working on a particular issue around helping your community, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ! We'd be happy to share it with other classrooms and teachers.