Litter Bugs and Lady Bugs at PS 31
By Alison Schuettinger, NWF Greenpoint Eco-Schools Sustainability Coach @ PS 31
P.S. 31 had its first ever student – based Earth Day Assembly where we celebrated all the sustainability focused work students are doing in and outside of the classroom at PS 31. We kicked off the assembly by celebrating the DOE Energy Challenge Award of $10,000 that the school received for our energy campaign. With support of the teachers and families, students created posters, energy saving logos, participated in classroom lessons, upcycling projects, and created videos on energy tips. Ms. Ratcliff and Ms. Addeo’s 3rd grade class won as the most engaged classroom. They made “Litter Bugs” out of upcycled water bottles and discussed the connection between waste and energy consumption. They will be celebrating in an upcoming pizza party with Principal Scarlato.
Students from kindergarten to 5th grade presented on plant investigations and the role of Hydroponic Helpers in the Green STEAM Lab with Mrs. Tesoriero. One 1st grader shared, “I love going to the Greenhouse classroom, because we get to see lady bugs all over the room!” Students shared out about coding and using the engineering design process to build bridges and homes out of recycled materials in the Tech Lab with Mrs. Poveromo. This is both Mrs. Poveromo’s and Mrs. Tesoriero’s first year in the newly renovated labs with new nature-based and project based curriculum. As a coach, I have witnessed their beautiful shift in teaching to be more hands-on and student based. “We are really putting sustainability at the forefront of these kids minds the past few years.” Mrs. Tesoriero said. She also began teaching STEM afterschool with the Empire Program this past semester and integrating sustainability practices. One of her 4th grade students shared out about the environmental mission of his robot. “My robot helps plants seeds in the neighborhood,” Landen explained and is made out of upcycled cardboard cereal boxes, aluminum foil and plastic bottle caps.
It was great to see students across the grades celebrate and present their environmentally focused work to each other. At the end of the assembly each class presented their “Peace Pledge” to the Earth on a leaf and we created our own PS 31 Leaders of Change tree that now lives in the downstairs hallway. One student in the audience said, “The Earth is really special because it’s the only place we know that supports all this life!”