Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Ethics and Stewardship by Austin W.

Our first unit was about Ethics & stewardship. So far this year in charter I have learned a couple of new things, one thing I learned was how the littlest things can cause the biggest problems for our eco system and the things that live in them.

Environmental ethics means to make the right decision that can effect the environment. Environmental stewardship means to take care of the environment so we can preserve it for the future generations. One thing that we did was find our ecological footprint. To see what our Ecological footprint is, we went to www.myfootprint.org. My footprint was 3.45, which means that if everyone in the world lived like me we would need 3.45 Earths.

You can reduce your ecological footprint by changing your behavior.

Something that I learned about was pollution. Pollution is contamination of the environment. There is not just one type of pollution. Some examples are: water pollution, noise pollution and air pollution. Water pollution is when un-natural things, such as oil, find a way into the water. Water pollution can also come by when water runs down the storm drains in the streets. Noise pollution is when you can’t hear the natural environment that you are in. Air pollution is pollution that is in the air that comes from chemicals like gasses. (Green house gasses, propane, etc.) We also learned about environmental awareness. Environmental awareness is about being aware of the environment, not just around you, but environments in far away places. For example, Japan’s environmental problems with the nuclear pollution and the earthquakes.

Environmental awareness is also about composting your fruit and veggie scraps instead of sending them to the landfill.

Something that I have learned that I can share with others is, by observing and watching what the teacher shows in class, I can learn a lot. Some people I learned from were Bill and Chris from the Renewable Resource Center. They taught me what I can put in my compost pile and what I can’t. They also told me about different types of pollution, and what resources we have used the most in the past century. I have also learned from Mr. Schultz at the prairie and on one of the first days of school. He told everyone about different types of prairie plants, like Showey golden rod, and which types of plants are native and which are not. When Mr. Schultz came the first time we were working in the court yard, at that time he told us what plants to take out of the court yard and what plants they put in the courtyard last year, now the courtyard looks fantastic compared to when we started. These were both very exciting field days.

This unit was very fun. If I could I would do the unit over again, but we have to move on to the next unit which should be very exciting. I liked the prairie because some schools take field days to indoor places and this one outside in nature on a beautiful day. It was interesting because who gets to learn about a prairie for science class?! This unit was fun because our teacher, Ms. Strobel, is fun and amazing and the best teacher ever!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Little School on the Prairie

On September 28th, students in the Green Lake Global and Environmental Academy had the pleasure of spending the afternoon at the Green Lake Conference Center, learning about prairie plants in a hands on setting. Local experts Tom and Wendy Schultz led the activities by showing students the different types of plant life that commonly grow in the prairie and how to identify them by their unique characteristics. After the lesson, students were each assigned their own plant let loose in the prairie to try and find their plant among all of plants growing free on the land. Students were completely engaged and excited to find their plants, and many of them constructed bouquets from the plants they collected. The weather couldn't have been better; blue skies, fluffy white clouds, and vibrantly colored plants added to the perfect day. Seventh grade Austin W. said, "I loved this day! I wish we could do this entire unit again so that we could go back." "It was a fabulous experience for our students and their teachers--who are also pretty fabulous," stated Wendy Schultz. If you see a GEA student, be sure to ask them about their prairie plant and how to spot it in a field!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Ecological Awareness

The 7th and 8th graders were treated today with a speech by keynote speaker Margaret Swedish, founder of Spirituality and Ecological Hope and author of “Living Beyond the End of the World; A Spirituality of Hope.” She took students on a journey through the Earth over time, showcasing our ecological footprint over the span of her life. “In just 62 years, the Earth has changed dramatically. We’ve done a lot of damage to this place we call home.” Showing the students photos of how Earth appears from outer space, they were amazed to see that even though the United States isn’t the largest country on Earth, we the largest ecological footprint. They also learned that if every country had the same standard of living as us, we would need almost 5 whole planets to support the usage. “We are now at a point that we are living beyond the ability of the Earth to support us, “Swedish explained.  “We are in debt and we are spending more than we currently have. We are in debt with the planet and the planet can not replenish it.”  She then challenged the students to think about things in their lifetime that they could do to help diminish their ecological footprint. Danny suggested finding new ways to recycle plastic and safer ways to mine resources. Students were shocked to find out that plastic never breaks down. Swedish stated: “Think about how much plastic you use…..you go to the store, you get something in a plastic bag. You buy bottled water and soda. Every 5 minutes of every day in the United States, 2 million plastic bottles are used.  It’s one material that the Earth is not able to break down, ever. If all the humans disappeared from the earth today, 10 thousand years later there would still be plastic. Where the plastic ends up is forever.” Seventh grade student Sully D. remarked; “we need to start cleaning up the world because it’s a big mess. Soon, we’re gonna run out of resources.”
Danny K explains his suggestions on reducing our ecological footprint

Friday, April 15, 2011

Jamaican Sensation!

Green Lake GEA was privy to a rare treat on April 12th. Damian Anderson, a 5th grade teacher from Kingston, Jamaica, came into the class to talk and answer questions about his country and how students differ between Green Lake and Kingston. Students listened to a brief introduction by Anderson before they could no longer contain their questions, and hands were raised all over the room. Students asked questions that spanned a wide variety of topics, such as what Jamaicans liked to eat for dinner, what kinds of sports are preferred, what the main income source was for residents, what kinds of technology do Jamaicans have, and what role to government plays in their everyday lives. They were stunned to learn how one US dollar is worth almost 100 Jamaican dollars, and Jamaican currency goes all the way up to a $5000 note. “I would love to go to Jamaica!” Exclaimed Travis. Some other aspects of Jamaican culture that was discussed was how hard it is to go to school there. “Most people have a hard time just getting their children to middle school,” explained Anderson. “It’s very difficult to reach college. Only about 1 in 20 students make it that far.” Transportation is sometimes hard to come by, and schools are often times poorly made. “I can hear the other classes right through the walls of my classroom. Sometimes it’s hard for students to concentrate because they can hear the other classes just like we were in the same room with them.” After the visit, students were asked what they thought about Anderson and what they learned about Jamaica. “I thought he was awesome,” said Max L. “Just in general, he was awesome!”  Travis thought he was “beast!" Because "it’s kinda hard in Jamaica to go to college and get a job, yet he got enough to become a teacher.” Kylie’s favorite part was his accent. Damian Anderson is currently staying in Ripon and has offered his help in coordinating pen pal relationships with his students and ours.

Monday, March 21, 2011


Welcome back Lakers! Spring Break has passed, which means the end of the school year will soon be upon us. Even after a week of relaxation and freedom from the classroom walls, excitement is still running high in the Charter room. Students hug and smile as they greet their classmates back, sharing stories of places they went or things that they did. The vibe is positive and the kids seem recharged.

Before break, students participated in an event that happens once every 3-4 years; the celebration of the Beads! The Charter beads represent the IB learner profile characteristics practiced in our school; Risk takers,Communicators, Principled, Thinkers, Balanced, Open-minded, Reflective, Knowledgeable, Inquirers, and Caring. Periodically throughout the year, students were able to share stories about how they practiced those different characteristics. With each story, a scoop of colored beads that correlated with each standard was poured into a large glass container in the room. “When the container is full,” explained Mrs. Hunter, GEA’s Humanties teacher, “we will celebrate by getting all of the past and present Charter kids together to share a meal and reflect on how we got to this point.” This tradition of scooping beads has been being practiced since the Charter school first opened it’s doors in 2008. “It took us 3 years to get it done, but we finally did it!” Students met during lunch on the last day of school before break and consumed over 15 pizzas ordered in from the Gooseblind, a local business in Green Lake. “It was cool to have all the Charter people together,” said Kylie Pischke, 8th grader. “It’s also really cool to see the beads all done. It’s a creative way to show that we’re dedicated to being International Baccalaureate students.” The bead container sits on a shelf in the Charter room as a constant reminder of their combined accomplishment.