Help students learn to appreciate the environment around them and learn new vocabulary. You can also use some of these resources to create text sets for students. Using multiple texts will help to build students’ background knowledge and increase their vocabulary as they read or listen to new texts. Here are some ideas for celebrating Earth Day with ELLs. These are also great activities to get students outdoors and/or learning about the world around them.
Learn About Climate Change
Earth day is a holiday about taking care of the environment. Any time of the year is great for students to learn about the impact of climate change, but especially around Earth Day.
Earthday.org is the official Earth Day website. It has articles, videos, and information about events each year.
NASA has a kid-friendly website introducing students to the causes of climate change. The site includes articles with photographs, charts, and graphs, and videos.
Larry Ferlazzo shared a climate chage lesson plan that includes a poem from the UN, videos, and research activities he used with high school students.
NickJr has an article with steps kids can take to raise awareness and help end climate change.
The American Museum of Natural History has an Olgy website about climate change with videos, articles, and experiments for kids.
Look for ways to take lessons outside. Going outside is great for student engagement. A recent study described in Psychology Today describes the benefits of outdoor learning. Here are some activities to try outside.
Use Recycled & Found Materials
Use materials from nature or recycles materials to create a picture. You can also challenge students to use recycles materials to create a structure (building) or toy (car, house). You can have students talk and write about what they make. This is a fun way to integrate STEM and language.
toilet paper rolls, cardboard boxes, egg cartons, junk mail, milk caps
Materials from Nature
twigs, flowers, pebbles, bark, leaves
Read books about Conservation
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Climate Change and How We’ll Fix It: The Real Problem and What We Can Do to Fix It– This kid-friendly guide shares background information about the causes and possible solutions of climate change. Many of the topics would work well for a small group to read together to practice finding the main idea and supporting details.
Jayden’s Impossible Garden– Jayden loves nature and works hard to show those around him that there is nature even in the city.
We Are Water Protectors– This book is written as a lyrical poem about the importance of water and why it is necessary to protect it.
Greta and the Giants: inspired by Greta Thunberg’s stand to save the world– Learn about the work of Greta Thunberg in this retelling of her activism to help fight climate change.
One Plastic Bag– In this story, 5 women living in Gambia work together to come up with a way to help solve the problem of plastic bag garbage in their neighborhood. Visit the book’s website for background information and teaching ideas.
Thank You Earth uses photographs and simple sentences to describe animals and natural resources.
Ten things I can do to help my world gives simple steps that kids can take to help the earth along with basic facts and colorful pictures.
Speak and Write about Conservation
Have students speak and/or write about ways they can conserve resources and recycle materials. I have a set of Help the Earth picture task cards to support ELLs.
Use Earth Day Illustrated Vocabulary Sheets to help students talk about activities to help the earth and to learn about parts of speech. There is also a set of Earth Day color by code sheets that uses the same vocabulary.
Get these materials along with other Earth Day activities in the Earth Day Bundle.
Take part in Earth Day with ELLs with videos. There are many videos of songs and short explanations of ways that kids can help the earth. Including visuals will help make this content more accessible to ELLs. Songs are also fun ways for ELLs to learn new vocabulary words.