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Teacher Resources: Environment

 The teacher resources provided on this site are courtesy of Cathryn Berger Kaye, author and leading international expert in service learning, with some additional links provided by RandomKid ("rk")


•    Sample Lesson Plans

Visit GoToServiceLearning and Learn and Serve for a range of water-related lesson plans.

Learn about inspiring clean up ideas.

•    Curriculum Webs

•    Book Recommendations

The Curse of Akkad: Climate Upheavals that Rocked Human History by Peter Christie (Annick Press, 2008). An original and informative examination of previous human encounters with drastic climate change, this book explains the relationship between historical events like migration and war to climate. From the days of Macedonia through witch hunts in Eastern Europe to Hitler’s quest for power, changing climate impacted our history in dramatic ways and includes information about how we can act now to curb the looming climate change disaster. 160pp., young adult
"Over 4,000 years ago, a scribe told a tragic tale, carved into dusty clay tablets.The ancient script on the tablets describes the curse of Akkad—and how an angry sky god was blamed for destroying the world’s first empire. Akkad’s citizens fled from a deadly drought that continued for decades, perhaps even for centuries, and its great cities were swallowed by dust and sand. Researchers now believe “The Curse of Akkad” may be an account of ancient climate change." From The Curse of Akkad

Empty by Suzanne Weyn (Scholastic, 2010) The date is en years from now and we are out of fossil fuels. The United States is at war with Venezuela, unemployment is soaring, and food supplies aren’t reaching the populace. In this New York State community, XXXX

Generation Green: The Ultimate Teen Guide to Living an Eco-Friendly Life by Linda Sivertsen and Tosh Sivertsen (Simon Pulse, 2008). Written by a mother-son team, this book is for any teenager who wants to know more or who is becoming a green activist. Topics include: Eating Green, Green Begins at Home, Guilt-Free Shopping, Hanging Out Green, Greener Schools and Careers, and Step Up and Speak Out. With teen culture imbedded in every page and resources throughout, it’s easy to join the Green Generation. 272pp., grades 8–12, nonfiction

Going Blue: A Teen Guide to Saving our Oceans, Lakes, Rivers and Wetlands by Cathryn Berger Kaye with Philippe Cousteau and EarthEcho International (Free Spirit Publishing, 2010) This book informs young people and adults about the issues surrounding our waters and provides strategies and examples they need to see themselves as change agents. With the aid of lively photos and illustrations, along with practical suggestions and activities, teens follow the five states of service learning in an effort to benefit our planet’s water system. 128pp., grades 5-12, nonfiction

Planting the Trees of Kenya: The Story of Wangari Maathai by Claire A. Nivola (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2008). This book recounts the experiences of Wangari Maathai, the first African woman to receive the Nobel Peace Prize. Before she left to pursue her education in the United States, Wangari’s native Kenya was covered in a rich and green landscape. When she returned, she found that the land had been depleted nearly into a desert, and even the sacred fig trees had been cut down. Instead of looking to the government for answers, she offered her people a very simple solution: they would plant the earth back into productivity. 32 pages, picture book
Recycle Every Day! by Nancy Elizabeth Wallace (Marshall Cavendish, 2006). A young bunny named Minna ponders the best way to make a poster about recycling, hoping her art will be selected for a Community Recycling Calendar. Her rabbit family spends the week doing various kinds of recycling as Minna considers many options for her poster. The student calendar is designed to teach lessons about recycling throughout the entire community. Great ideas for service learning!
Service Learning Idea! This book inspired schools in the Los Angeles area to collaborate on a calendar XXXXX. For a free download, visit

Scat by Carl Hiaasen (Knopf, 2009). A great eco-thriller by a master story-teller. Maybe Nick and Marta should be relieved that Ms. Starch, the feared biology teacher, has gone missing after a field trip to Black Vine Swamp, but something definitely feels amiss. Could the “class delinquent,” Smoke, be behind this? What about the Florida panther that may be on the prowl? And could a self-centered wannabe oilman be causing all of these problems? A real page-turner. 384pp., grades 5–8, fiction

True Green Kids: 100 Things You Can Do to Save the Planet by Kim McKay and Jenny Bonnin (National Geographic, 2008). This book has 100 short segments on what any green activist would want to know and countless ideas for doing them. This book will cause you to think about your actions at home, school, with friends, and may even influence what “stuff” you buy. Photographs show kids involved in service. Includes an index of useful resources. 144pp., grades 2–7, nonfiction

The Wartville Wizard by Don Madden (Aladdin, 1993). A man turns “wizard” to fight a town of litterbugs by making litter stick to the person who dropped it! A memorable and colorful tale of how people learn about the consequences of their actions.
Service Learning Idea! Transform this hilarious book into a student-authored play or musical to get across the idea of recycling across the community.

•    Service-Learning Guides

Click here to access new student guides I have written with EarthEcho International as part of their Water Planet Challenge, and more are forthcoming. Of special note is A Service-Learning Guide for Citizen Journalists to engage students in reporting their environmental action taken through their RandomKid initiative on an upcoming website, STREAM—Students Reporting Environmental Action through Media (watch for the launch later this fall).

Clean-up ideas can be found here.

•    Articles and additional links

EarthEcho International has resources to inspire youth as stewards of our planet.

Earth Force engages youth as problem-solvers for environmental issues.