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Stop Playground Clutter

How well-kept are playgrounds in your neighborhood or school? Encourage children and adults to help erase playground clutter.

  • Grade 2
    Grade 3
    Grade 4
  • 30 to 60 minutes
  • Directions

    1. With an adult accompanying the class during recess, students survey the playground at their school (or go with a parent to a neighborhood playground). What kinds of clutter do you see? Who is responsible for the playground and its upkeep? As the class discusses these questions, document responses on a classroom white board using Crayola Dry Erase Markers.
    2. Working in small groups, students develop plans to help keep the playground clean and safe. On white paper, use Crayola® Erasable Colored Pencils to make a list of recommendations. If children need to correct spellings, just erase. Check with the people responsible for the playground to make decisions about how you will proceed with implementing recommendations.
    3. Student action plans get put into action. One part of each plan might be to publicize a Campaign for Clean Playgrounds. Students might want to make posters that encourage people to help. Use Crayola Washable Markers and Crayola Twistables Crayons on white paper to draw beautiful playgrounds.
    4. Encourage the use of action words such as "Pick up your trash."
    5. Remind students to make their posters colorful by adding a bold border to be noticed wherever it is displayed. Send the message to classmates and community that safe playgrounds are important!
  • Standards

    LA: Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grade 3 topics and texts, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly.

    LA: Write informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas and information clearly.

    LA: Report on a topic or text, tell a story, or recount an experience with appropriate facts and relevant, descriptive details, speaking clearly at an understandable pace.

    SCI: Obtain and communicate information about the characteristics of groups of organisms and evaluate how groups help organisms survive.

    SS: Explore and describe similarities and differences in the ways groups, societies, and cultures address similar human needs and concerns.

    VA: Use different media, techniques, and processes to communicate ideas, experiences, and stories.

    VA: Use visual structures of art to communicate ideas.

  • Adaptations

    Possible classroom resources include: Earth Day: Keeping Our Planet Clean by Elaine Landau;

    Students work in small groups to investigate the history of Earth Day, its beginnings and yearly celebration to keep our planet clean. How does a look into this practice enlighten students about keeping their playground clutter-free? Ask students to look for the connections and suggest ways in which they can make this observance a part of their everyday lives.

    Students generate a list of terms appropriate for this lesson plan such as clean, environment, playground, clutter, etc. Post these terms in the classroom for quick reference.

    Students organize a written plan for keeping their playground clean and clutter-free. Arrange for a meeting with the school's administration to present the plan to the principal for approval.

    Students solicit the assistance of other classes in the building in keeping their playground clean. Each class may take, or be assigned, a week to police the building and grounds. Teachers will build "inspection" time into their week for students to accomplish these additional tasks.


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  • Creativity.
  • Capacity.
  • Collaboration.
  • Change.
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