March 2017 - This is the third year our fourth graders have learned about various sources of energy in science class and then done research to provide details related to each type.
February 2017 - Another group of curious first graders are really focused on their science observation journal entry here after analyzing the trout to determine their recent changes.
January 2017 - Third, Fourth, and Fifth graders expressed their ideas behind the 3R's when the opportunity to enter a Recycling Coloring Book came upon them. We have passionate artists with a lot of 3R knowledge!
May 2016 - Fifth grade students participating in River Watch, a curriculum-based extension unit, written by Mrs. Young, engaged in instruction related to stream health, along with the human impact various land uses have.
Students started out by learning content vocabulary, through a jigsaw activity, specific to the role mactroinvertebrates play as indicators for stream health.
Then it was time to examine the watershed model to make connections to text.
Using the watershed model, land-use pollution is simulated, and then students write about pollution.
Now it's time to engage in the Watershed Decisions activity, by Penn State Extension, as we work through a simulation of a Watershed Association meeting, finding out just how stressed our waters really are.
Students researched specific land-use issues related to pollution, and then they researched potential solutions. Their research was documented in a Powerpoint presentation to present at the next simulated watershed association meeting.
After having learned about taking a stream sample, as citizen scientists often do, the River Watch students headed to the stream on AES school grounds to sample the stream water themselves.
May 2016 - Fifth graders, as part of their science instruction, had an amazing BioBlitz experience, using the iNature app on handheld devices to identify multiple species in nature. After using the app, they students came back to a "home base" to load their data and analyze it as well. In the end, all groups gathered to discuss their data and see some interesting creatures. It was an amazing day spent outdoors while using technology.
May 2016 - Our Second Graders sill raise butterflies each year as part of their science life-cycle curriculum. The butterfly release is always an exciting day!
April 2016 - Preschoolers engaged in multiple lessons on local songbirds. They learn the names of the birds, why their beaks are shaped the way they are, the songs they typically sing, and what they like to eat. Then the pre-schoolers helped to fill the bird feeders in our schoolyard in hopes it would bring the songbirds for us to watch.
As part of their bird studies, Pre-schoolers learned how birds gather materials to make their nests. Then the students did the same thing to experience what a bird does during nest construction.
They also did a matching activity that had them pairing a bird with its food, once they learned about the difference in birds' beaks.
2014, 2015, 2016 - Schoolyard Environmental Report Card - Fifth graders learn about human impact on the Chesapeake Bay watershed, and the culminating activity is to tour the grounds of the school in order to analyze and assess the environmental status of the grounds - and then to brainstorm initiatives they feel would improve conditions.
2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 - Each year, fifth graders are responsible for caring for Atholton's Rainbow trout, raising them from egg to fingerling. In addition to meeting once a week during recess to learn about the trout, Troutkeepers are responsible for testing the water conditions (pH, ammonia, nitrite and nitrate), as well as monitoring the operation of the chiller, pump and filter. They then release the trout in the spring.
April 2016 - During Earth Day Week, Mrs. Hamming, our Media Specialist, read books to all students in the school about caring for the Earth. Then every student in the school wrote and decorated a pledge to represent what they could do to take care of the Earth themselves. Mrs. Young's daughter came to school on Take Your Child to Work Day, and she worked to get an amazingly beautiful bulletin board together for all to enjoy our pledges to the Earth. It takes a village!
April 2016 - Second Graders used our Trout as the topic of their science journal writing. Excellent writing, scientists!
April 2016 - Kindergarten students had a lesson on how to be a responsible recycler.
April 2016 - Fourth graders did some math to complete an artistic representation of the idea that the health of the Earth is our responsibility. After enjoying completing this outside, they took a nature walk.
Spring 2016 & August 2016 - "He harvested a bean today from the seed that he got in your class" was the message a mom sent to Mrs. Pauley, third grade teacher at AES. "In the spring of 2016, we grew bush bean plants as part of our science studies. Since I had extra seeds, I sent them home with the students." So good to see our students are taking what they learn in school and extending those experiences at home as well!
April 2016 - First graders are READY to go! They are off to engage in a nature scavenger hunt, looking for a variety of signs of nature in our schoolyard.
April 2016 - Third graders learned about a garden planted in a community to bring the citizens together and to care for a green space that was once a lot filled with trash. They then used their math skills - perimeter and area - to plan a garden of their own during math class.
April 2016 - In technology, all students learned about clean water and water conservation through resources made available by the EPA. They then digitally create signs as reminders to conserve water.
April 2016 - Third graders gave up one recess a week to participate in the "Picturing Nature" instructional seminar. Students learned how to frame their subject, how to operate a digital camera, how to load them onto the computer and publish them in a pleasing format, and, most importantly, how to see the beauty of nature!
Proud of their masterpieces - well done, photographers!
April 2016 - Second graders made solar ovens out of pizza boxes, using the Engineering Design Process, and then it was out to the sun to try them out!
April 2016 - Our Reading Specialist was sure to choose "Caring" as the word of the week during Earth Day Week, and because of that, students of all ages submitted really meaningful statements using the word "caring."
April 2016 - Dr. Ridgely, our school psychologist, took Pre-schoolers out on our nature trail to learn how to be "whole-body listeners." Students used a graphic checklist of things to listen for, using their whole bodies.
April 2016 -Second graders head to the butterfly garden to make observations during science class.
March 2016 - Third graders work on the skill of calculating area to determine how much foam needs to be purchased to cover the trout tank when the eggs first arrive.
February 2015, 2016, 2017 - Fifth graders build terrariums in science to understand the dynamics of an ecosystem.
February 2016 - Second graders observe newly arrived trout eggs, which they document in their science journals with each new phase of the trout cycle.
February 2016 - Our fifth grade Green Ambassadors received a lesson on Tower Gardening when one of our school's parents came in to present the opportunity and teach us how it works.
January 2016 - Fifth graders simulate pollution in the watershed and demonstrate the impact various forms of pollution have on our waters.
December 2015 - Fifth graders learned about the geosphere and made models of the watershed. They eventually added water to discuss the hydrosphere. The students then added pollution to see how pollution travels into our waterways. Next, buffers were added to show how riparian buffers are an effective way to help stop pollution from getting onto the water ways. They then connected it to the Chesapeake Bay Watershed with their Bay Research Reports.
October 2015 - Second graders discussed schoolyard problems, picked up litter, and investigated soil and the effects of erosion after coming in from the schoolyard.
September 2015 - First graders engaged in a Plant and Animal Structure & Function science unit. All students planted several kinds of seeds and watched them open, root, and sprout. The following spring, a parents sent this photo to show the cucumber plant that the family continued to care for, which they ended up planting outside so they could one day harvest the cucumbers!
Sept/Oct/Nov. 2015 - When a fourth grader came to Mrs. Young to express his concern over the need to protect bats, as well as with his knowledge that bats make their home right on AES school grounds, a group of fourth graders was put together to voluntarily meet during recess to learn more about the friends we share our schoolyard with.
The first step was reading about bats and listing what we learned. Then we added to our knowledge base by researching in the computer lab. One of our Batty Over Bats participants brought in photos of the bat guest they had in their home, which they rescued by removing it from their pool:
The next step was a visit from the experts at Howard County Recreation and Parks, Sue Muller and her assistant came to supplement the kids' understanding of bats and to have a look at the schoolyard home of our bat friends:
In the end, the kids decided they would advocate for bats by putting together a presentation board of facts, as well as a PowerPoint, which they shared with the community at Excellence Night in the spring.
May 2015 - After learning about stream monitoring stream health, fifth graders work in pairs to put together Stream Health Photo-documentaries to inform the public.
May 2015 - Second graders engage in a science investigation, by hanging a plate of Crisco on one of our native trees. The goal was to measure air pollution using the plate of grease. Over time, kids were able to see that the plate wasn't quite as clean anymore. Other plates were hung around the schoolyard as well.
May 2015 - Kindergarten students get an extensive - and FUN - lesson on composting!
May 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 - Fifth grade math students relate Expressions and Equations to planning a native garden, using layers and clusters. But first, they must learn about and understand the importance of native plants in general. After watching a slideshow on native plants, featuring Atholton's native garden, students illustrated their understanding through a Sketch to Stretch activity.
And here are examples of the native gardens students planned based on the algebraic expression they chose within their group:
April 2015 - Second graders engaged in a science lesson on insulators vs. conductors using the trout tank. What a perfect way to use this structure for learning - especially because the tank has a metal conductor (the chiller) and it is surrounded by an insulator (the foam)! Students also used the time to update their journals.
Spring 2015 - A bulletin board makes a great opportunity for learning about our Earth and the impact humans have. This interactive board is looked at by students and adults of all ages every day. Thank you, Mrs. Wagner for making it!
March 2015 - Fifth Graders worked together to create a PowerPoint presentation to inform all students of the green initiatives taking place, and initiated by the fifth grade Green Ambassadors, during Earth Day Week.
November 2014 - All fifth graders got to experience a Bay Discovery Trip in the Baltimore Harbor by the Chesapeake Bay Foundation and funded by the Chesapeake Bay Trust, thanks to Mr. Castelbaum's excellent grant-writing!
Once back in school, students wrote about what they had learned about water quality and the creatures that live in the Bay.
August 2014 - By raising funds for our Green School, donating gently used textiles for reuse, we were able to purchase GPS devices to be used by our students for outdoor experiences. The Green Team and the STEM Team at Atholton paired up to put together waystations, a template for kids to use, geocache for each station, which included questions about nature, and directions for teachers to use for facilitating this experience.
June 2014 - Kindergarten students were visited by a a student's mom, who taught a lesson on composting and red wiggler worms.
May 2014 - Second graders were treated to a visit by a student's grandfather, who is a real bug scientist! He brought his assistant, and the kids and teachers learned a lot about insects.
May 2014 - Through the Journey North program, fifth grade math students used the skill of finding percent to create personal glyphs to include in a Symbolic Monarch that was sent to Mexico for the winter, and then delivered to a school somewhere in the U.S. as it made its way back up to the U.S. on its second major migration. All the while, fifth graders learned of the amazing journey the Monarch makes.
May 2014 - First graders were paid a visit by the Zoomobile, where they learned that there are endangered species in the world, so we have to conserve to preserve these special animals.
April 2014 - Preschoolers benefited from the amazing Earth Day Week instructional activities they engaged in: "We created an Earth Book for our classroom, reviewed how to take care of our Earth and what to recycle. We also talked about the plants we were growing in our windows and how they help us and the environment. We talked about the Earth we painted a few weeks ago, went outside and drew the environment around us, as well as used our goggles and magnifiers to look for bugs and different types of leaves." The last photos are of students signing our schoolwide pledge.
And here is even more of what our lucky Preschool students engaged in during the course of the school year: "Here are some of the walks/outdoor classroom walks we took this year. We have learned about bugs/insects, streams/waterways, the environment and habitats. Talking about where animals live was their favorite."
April 2014 - Third graders engaged in meaningful Earth Day Week activities: "I have attached a picture of my kids participating in a 20-minute clean-up on April 10th. They were disappointed by the amount of trash we found, but were proud of the work they accomplished. 2. Today we went outside to complete the scavenger hunt. We also spent time collecting seeds for our plants and trees science unit. Students will study these seeds in a follow-up lesson."
April 2014 - Mrs. Muir's Technology class is a great place for our Third, Fourth, and Fifth grade students to engage in some Earth Day learning.
April 2014 - First grade students engaged in lessons related to Earth Day the entire week, including expressing ways to take care of the Earth and outdoor nature hunts.
April 2014 - Well Done, Environmental Artists! In conjunction with the Endangered Species Coalition and Atholton's Green Ambassadors, the following students submitted artwork for the Endangered Species Youth Art Contest: Sara in kindergarten, Ava in first grade, Aedan in second grade, Cassidy in third grade, Isabel in fourth grade, and Elizabeth, Dilnaz, Sophia, Samantha, Faith, Gianna, Melina, and Holly in fifth grade. We truly have talented artists here at Atholton, and even better, those who care about the Earth! Fifth grader Evan should also be recognized for designing the art contest flyer sent out in Friday folders advertising the opportunity. Way to go, artists!
April 2014 - During Earth Day Week, Mrs. Muir's Technology class is always a place to learn and create, based upon environmental conservation. Here are examples of the door hangers made by her kindergarten students, showing ways they can take care of the Earth.
April 2014 - Second grade prepares for a special herb-planting project, requesting containers from parents to be reused for planting.
March 2014 - Budding fifth grade graphic design artist, Evan, took it upon himself to design a flyer for this year's Endangered Species Day art contest. He did a fine job, too!
January 2014 - Environmental issues always provide young writers a great topic for Opinion Writing. We have passionate third graders at AES!
November 2013 - Fifth grade Green Ambassador students take their job very seriously. In order to introduce themselves to their assigned grades, they chose to learn how to put PowerPoint presentations together using Google Docs. The PowerPoint presentations were then shown during their assigned grade's lunch shift. The first topic? Glue stick upcycling.
October 2013 - Fourth grade took a field trip to the Howard County Conservancy. Students learned about producers, consumers, decomposers, and food webs, which related to their upcoming science unit.
May 2013 - Fourth grade used conservation as a platform for opinion writing.
May 2013 - First Grade took a trip to the Robinson Nature Center.
May 2013 - A Visit to the Insect Zoo related to science curriculum for Second Grade
OBJECTIVE 1.2: PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT
August 2016 - Monarchs & Mojitos at the Howard County Conservancy - Mrs. Young met a colleague at this wonderful PD opportunity to brush up on her Monarch knowledge, particularly related to the specifics on Milkweed.
June 2016 - Mrs. Isensee, one of our First grade teachers, enrolled and participated in a 3-credit 5-day summer workshop called Ag in the Classroom, for teachers Grades K through 5, sponsored by Maryland Agricultural Education Foundation, Inc. She reported it was a great learning experience. "They also give you the books to go with each lesson/activity. I came away with about 25-30 new books for my classroom!"
April 2016 - Two Master Gardeners came to Atholton to train the fifth grade team using the iNaturalist app, since the fifth graders would soon head out on a BioBlitz field trip to identify various species using iNaturalist as well. Trained participants were Fifth Grade Teacher,Mrs. Hoffman, Fifth grade Paraeducator, Mrs. Haugh, Special Ed. Paraeducator, Ms. Van Houton, Special Ed. Teacher, Mrs. Stull, and Tech Teacher, Mrs. Muir.
March 2016 - An Environmental Educators Open House was offered in Montgomery County at Brookside Gardens. Principal's Secretary, Mrs. Simon, 3rd Grade Teacher, Mr. Castelbaum, Special Ed. Teacher, Mrs. Vorel, and GT Resource Teacher, Mrs. Young all attended, and boy did they have fun!
March 2016 - As part of the third grade science curriculum, Monarchs are raised in the classroom. Third grade teachers from around the county gathered at the Howard County Conservancy for professional learning around this instructional experience. See our third grade teacher, Mr. Castelbaum, front and center, in the green!
February 2016 - Many of our staff members received PD on Tower Gardening, when one of our school's parents came in to present the opportunity and teach us how it works. Those attending:
Michelle Simon - Principal's Secretary Sandy Sehman - 1st Grade Paraeducator Laurie Stewart - Art Teacher Karen Hamming - Media Specialist Christine Park - 1st Grade Teacher Susie Schaaf - 2nd Grade Paraeducator Joanna Pauley - 3rd Grade Teacher Kerry Beuchler - PreSchool Teacher Deedee Haugh - 5th Grade Paraeducator Mary Wagner - Kindergarten Paraeducator Lisa Young - GT Resource Teacher
December 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016 - Annual Trout in the Classroom training is held by the wonderful Trout Unlimited crew to prepare for each new TIC season - always updates and newly created resources. Mrs. Young attends this training each year.
October 2015 - Rain Garden 101 for AES Staff and families, led by a specialist from Chesapeake Bay Alliance - designer and project manager of Atholton's rain garden. Staff, parents, and their children were invited to the early morning, before-school PD session. The goal was to educate our staff members about the design and purpose of our rain garden and to encourage the community to consider the same option. The session started out in the portable - and it was a FULL HOUSE - and then moved out to the actual rain garden. Staff attendees included:
Mrs. Schaaf - 3rd grade Paraeducator Leonie van Hemert - 2nd Grade Teacher Jason Schoenhut - 4th Grade Teacher Karen Hamming - Media Specialist Jennifer Eckert - Fifth Grade Teacher Cindy Grabow - 3rd Grade Teacher Kerry Buechler - Preschool Teacher Sandy Sehman - 1st Grade Paraeducator Joanna Pauley - 3rd Grade Teacher Joshua Castelbaum - 3rd Grade Teacher Pat Vorel - Special Ed. Teacher Laurie Stewart - Art Teacher Lorraine Carmona - Special Ed. Teacher Amy Gigler - 2nd Grade Teacher Sheila Shaw - 4th Grade Teacher Mary Wagner - Kindergarten Paraeducator Barbara Garnett - 4th Grade Paraeducator Stacey Fishman - GT Resource Teacher Lisa Young - GT Resource Teacher Melanie Secula - Assistant Principal Denise Lancaster - Principal
October 2014, 2015 - Mrs. Young attended the MAEOE Green School information session to ensure she was able to accurately lead the school toward Green School certification, as well as to mentor other schools in the county.
September 2015 - Mrs. Young participated in Penn State Extension's webinar on the Watershed Decisions kit, and after ordering it and using it with her fifth graders, she wrote it into the curriculum, and now the kit is housed in many schools throughout the school system. What a great way to engage in watershed and stream health instruction!
April 2014 2015 - Mr. Castelbaum, someone who teaches about human impact on the Chesapeake Bay watershed, took it upon himself to engage in some hands-on professional learning aboard the Snow Goose to discover more about the Patapsco River and it's health.
March 2015 - Mrs. Young participated in the Mid-Atlantic Sustainable Schools FieldScope webinar in order to support the Green School application process for both her school and to support other HCPSS school as a Green School Mentor.
October 2013 - After applying as a participant of the Gonvernor's Explore & Restore Your Schoolshed program, an acceptance letter was sent out, and required notice for attending PD, which Mrs. Young attended at the Irvine Nature Center in Oct. 2013, where she learned about stream health and macroinvertebrate testing.
April 2013 - Three nature experts from the Howard County Conservancy paid a visit to Mrs. Young to provide advice on using Atholton's stream as a vehicle for learning. They shared the many aspects of the stream ecosystem and habitat that could serve as meaningful outdoor education for her students.
OBJECTIVE 1.3: ENVIRONMENTAL BEHAVIOR CHANGES
The AES Green Team: Every month, a committed group of Green Team members meets to discuss issues and ideas related to our Green School. The mission is to keep the Green momentum in gear and to brainstorm new and innovative ways to incorporate environmental practices, engage in and promote best management practices, and celebrate our Green-ness!
Catalog Elimination: When the Principal's Secretary takes it upon herself to establish a protocol for eliminating unwanted education catalogs, and the Teachers' Secretary makes the calls to cancel them, you KNOW you work in a Green School!
Staff Daily News: When the Principal includes Green School notifications in the Staff Daily News, you KNOW you work in a Green School!
Student Job Magnets: When the Principal's Secretary designs and distributes student job icons for each classroom to use, you KNOW you work in a Green School!
Clean Planet Program: The Konica is the copier all staff members use. Atholton participates in the Clean Planet Program to ensure all cartridges are recycled with zero waste.
Hand Soap: It's good to know the soap our kids and staff use every day is environmentally-friendly!
Let's Get That Green Spirit! - So lucky to have talented and willing staff members to contribute their creativity when it comes to our Green School initiatives! This is the design Ms. Van Houten created and drew for all to see as soon as they enter our school!
Plastic Bay & Wrap Recycling - For many years now, we have had a container for plastic bag collection in our staff lounge. We do the same thing in the cafeteria for breakfast and lunch. Once the container is full, the bag is bundled, and the bags are taken in for recycling.
OBJECTIVE 1.4: CELEBRATIONS
November 2016 - and EVERY November! - We celebrate America Recycles Day by providing an opportunity for the kids to make sculptures made entirely out of recyclable materials. Students of all ages participate in this - some every year! We love the creativity of our students at AES!
November 2016 - One of Atholton's fifth grade Green Ambassadors graduated in June of 2016 and went on to contribute to a blog that focuses on the health of the planet, informing readers of the experience she had at AES with problem-solving around solid waste reduction in our school cafeteria. We love knowing we have left a lasting impression on our students, who will truly set out to become agents of change! To read the rest of the blog post, go to: http://earthforallages.com/elementary-effort/.
May 2017 - Another Successful Trout Release - We are so lucky to be able to meet our Troutkeepers and their families right out in their neighborhood at the Middle Patunxent River for our annual Trout Release event. It is a true celebration of all the work put in to raise thriving Rainbow Trout!
April 2016 - Earth Day Week at Atholton - "No Child Left Inside" - The AES Green Team, along with fifth grade Green Ambassadors, agreed on a theme for Earth Day Week that would promote getting outdoors to learn. Every class in the entire school got outside to learn during the week, with most classes getting outside multiple times throughout the week.
Here is Second Grade having Math class in the outdoor classroom:
And here are first graders getting outside to clean up the school yard during Earth Day Week:
Our Band/Strings teacher even got his kids outside during Earth Day Week! Symphony in the woods!
Fourth graders enjoyed a good read in the great outdoors during Earth Day Week:
Kindergarten got some fresh air, holding Math class outside on the front steps of the school
Second graders got outside during music class to learn a new dance to the song they had learned.
Fifth graders met in the outdoor classroom to discuss an upcoming Socratic Seminar topic.
First graders got outside to engage in a nature scavenger hunt in our nature-filled schoolyard.
After learning about songbirds that visit AES school grounds, Ms. Kerry took preschoolers out to fill the bird feeders.
Fourth graders got outside during Earth Day Week to pick up trash on our school grounds.
Kindergarten students enjoyed math class outside during Earth Day Week.
2015-2016 - We are proud to show we are a MD Green School, and we want those who walk into our school to see that we do indeed learn through the Earth!
May 2016 - At Atholton's annual Excellence Night, 'Picturing Nature" participants celebrated their photography talents by sharing their work with the community.
May 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 - Trout Release! After six months of caring for our Rainbow Trout, it was time to release them into the wild. Definitely a time to celebrate our success in raising another school of healthy trout!
November 2013 (2014, 2015, 2016) - On November 15, kids all around America celebrate recycling on America Recycles Day. For the past five school years, Atholton's kids have celebrated, too, by creating and displaying sculptures made from recycled materials. We have had anything from ants to giant robots. These sculptures get displayed all through the week in the front hallway during American Education Week. Each participant receives a special certificate. This is always an exciting and creative event at our school!
October 2013 - Every year, Atholton students and staff honor our Green School by wearing AES Greenwear on Wednesdays all school year. It's a way to celebrate the spirit and culture of our Green School. In 2013, we paired up with the P.T.A. to work as partners in our Greenwear sale. Thanks, PTA!
Fall 2013 - Celebrating our MD Re-Certified Green School at the Recognition Ceremony at Robinson Nature Center. Three of our students recited a poem (below), as the audience watched a slideshow of photos that matched the content of the poem.
September 2013 - What better way to kick off another Green year at Atholton than to put on a Green Fashion show during lunch for every grade?!? Paraprofessionals acted as MCs, while other staff members strutted their stuff down the green runway. The students thoroughly enjoyed the show, and they were SOLD on the wearin' of the green for every Wastefree Wednesday - that's for sure!
June 2013 - Athotlon fifth gradersdedicated a native Dogwood tree just before graduation, in honor of the Green class of students they had been since kindergarten - and in honor of our MD Green School. During the ceremony, all fifth grade students helped to plant the tree, they took a vow to remain environmental stewards, and Mrs. Young presented a poem and photos of what their young sapling would become. Farewell, Class of 2013 - We wish you many many years of Green growing and living!