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sharing stories & practices: ontario ecoschools monthly newsletter

Newsletter Contents

Connecting to Curriculum



Math is the Path: link your EcoSchools program to Data Management and Probability in Grades 2 to 8 by having your class collect data through Energy Conservation and Waste Minimization practices. For elementary students, Number Sense and Numeration can be supported while conducting a Waste Audit or EcoReview. At the Secondary level, create links with Grade 11 Physics and Grade 12 Mathematics by using EcoSchools data to explore student behavior via trends or graphs.

Enlightening Energy: links to Energy Conservation are found in Grade 5 and 6 Science, Grade 10 Science, and Grade 11 Environmental Science. Consider using the Energy Conservation Walkabout Worksheet as a real-world application to classroom learning.

Encouraging Environmental Awareness: Students in Grade 11 Canadian and World Studies can share their understanding of important local and global environmental issues through various Environmental Stewardship initiatives. As part of your EcoSchools program, run a whole school environmental awareness campaign pairing learning and action.

Friendly Reminder: Deadlines fast approaching! November 30th is the first deadline for schools in Platinum Certification – all Platinum Yearly Planners need to be uploaded by this date. January 31st is the first deadline for schools applying for certification in 2014-15. By this date, schools need to input the results of their Initial EcoReviews for Energy Conservation (2.1-2.9) and Waste Minimization (3.1-3.9).

Please see the 2014-2015 Certification Guide for further details.

An EcoHall of Fame

What started out as a small bulletin board transformed into a hallway featuring environmental initiatives. Welcome to Northwood Public School’s EcoHall.

Based in Greater Essex County DSB, students at this elementary school put exceptional effort into creating a visual display of their EcoSchools program. As a teacher member of the Northwood EcoTeam explains: “The main purpose of the project was to provide a central, one-stop source of eco-information for members of the school community.”

The students decided to include tips on conserving energy, information on local bird species and marine life, pictures of students planting trees, a large recycling and waste minimization display called “Clean Our Stream,” as well as school-wide waste and energy audit results. The hall was officially launched during the school's 2014 Earth Week activities.


EcoTeam members felt the project highlighted key accomplishments from the year. Amrita, a grade 7 student reflects: “We learned about how much the Eco Club is doing at our school, like how we added a marker and pen recycling system, and that we planted trees for students to have more fresh air and shade.”

Prominent, colourful bulletin boards and displays make for a visible EcoSchools program and a more engaged school culture. With strong student involvement, these projects can be recognized under Ontario EcoSchools’ Teamwork and Leadership section.

Going Green for the Holidays


How can schools be green during the holidays? Notre Dame High School in the Catholic District School Board of Eastern Ontario (CDSBEO) provides one creative example through their Redi-Plant ornament campaign.

The Notre Dame EcoTeam had a few goals in mind when planning the campaign. The group of students wanted to build team spirit, have a fundraiser for their school garden, and create green gifts for the holidays. Hand-made, biodegradable ornaments became the order of the day.

The idea was adapted from popular crafts such as clay seed balls and biodegradable flower cards. Working from this concept, the EcoTeam gathered together after school to make the ornaments. They used recycled paper scraps and native seeds such as black-eyed susans and coneflowers to make their colourful ornaments.

The fundraiser was then promoted via posters, in the school blog and staff newsletter, and the ornaments were sold at the annual holiday concert. In the process, students discovered that their parents and school community: “Were very supportive of the project and loved the idea of giving eco-friendly gifts!”

From the proceeds, the EcoTeam purchased native plants for the school garden, including bee balm and butterfly bushes, as well as thistle feeders to attract goldfinches. Most importantly, according to one EcoTeam member: “We had a ton of fun, and it was a great team building experience planning and making the ornaments.”

Similar campaigns can bring a lighter footprint to the holiday season as well as a boost to your Ontario EcoSchools program. Make sure there are clear environmental learning connections and claim it in Environmental Stewardship.

New Climate Change Lessons for the Classroom

Climate change is a timely topic for the classroom, especially with recent world news such as the China and U.S. deal, and the UN final Climate Change report. With this in mind, Ontario EcoSchools has developed two Grade 9 Geography lessons for teachers.


The first lesson plan challenges students to recognize their assumptions about climate change. Through discussing how extreme weather events link to a changing climate, students learn to identify biases for a more nuanced understanding. This lesson can also apply to Media Literacy units as it builds critical awareness on how news media frames climate change.

The second lesson plan maps the impact of climate change in Canada. By looking at how ecotourism may be affected, students get a sense of the real world implications and long-term effects of climate change. This lesson is a creative way to get students to thinking about one of the most pressing environmental issues of our time.

Be sure to claim these lessons with completed student work in the Curriculum section of your Ontario EcoSchools program, and check out our other online Curriculum Resources.




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