April 29, 2021 — While the Earth Day celebrations of Chardon’s virtual and in-person classes may have required a bit more out-of-the-box planning this year due to COVID-19 related limitations on in-person field trips, the planet-centric learning opportunities provided by Hilltopper faculty members did not disappoint. On Earth Day — April 22 — and throughout the month, students engaged in novel virtual and in-classroom activities, cultivating a reinforced appreciation for Earth much as they would in a non-pandemic school year.
At Maple School, Tiny Toppers kindergarten students in virtual teacher Rebecca Klembara’s class took an online visit to a farm on Earth Day.
“We learned about a farm that produces over one million strawberries a year,” said Mrs. Klembara who shared photos to social media of her students, on-screen and sporting Earth Day hats they had colored themselves.
While about 20-percent of the district’s students are voluntarily enrolled in the optional virtual program like the 100-percent online class taught by Mrs. Klembara, approximately 80-percent of Chardon Schools students have been attending class in the school buildings for the vast majority of the school year.
Nonetheless, virtual field trips were also a hit with in-building classes as well. For example, at Park Elementary, Juliet Peterson teaches a third-grade in-person class and though unable to venture to a local park this year, the young Hilltopper students were treated to a virtual field trip on April 22, an event hosted by the Nutrients for Life Foundation.
“Our class was able to visit farms located in Virginia, Kansas and Iowa,” said Mrs. Peterson. “We virtually voted with students across the country to name a new baby calf that was just born. The winning name was Buddy.”
Mrs. Peterson added that her class also enjoyed reading about Earth Day and writing about ways they can help our planet.
Meanwhile, in Miss Beth's Tiny Toppers pre-kindergarten class at Maple School, students have been in awe of the growth of their newly planted, potted grass seeds in the classroom, what began as a mid-April hands-on activity corresponding with a lesson on parts of a plant, the life-cycle of a plant, and how plants grow.
Two weeks after the April 14 planting activity, each student is proud to have their own cup of flourishing grass, made possible by the students' very own grass-watering efforts each day.
Students also observed differences in the grass they planted in a cup near a window versus the grass they planted in a cup in the center of the classroom versus the grass they planted in a pot in a cabinet, noting the stark contrast in the health of the three plantings of grass, thereby making a visual connection to the significant difference sunlight makes for the life of a plant.
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