#EcoSchoolsAtHome Great Green Wall

#EcoSchoolsAtHome Great Green Wall

This is why we ask our Eco-Schools to share their amazing work with us on social media!

We try to like, share and comment on all the social media posts that you @EcoSchoolsEngland in on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook as we know how important it is for your Eco-Committees to get the recognition they (and you) deserve for working so hard on the Eco-Schools programme. When you share your school’s topic actions it allows us to celebrate your eco-achievements with schools from across the country as you work towards the Eco-Schools Green Flag.

When we were scrolling through Twitter earlier this week and came across a post from Laxton Junior School- we had to stop and find out more! This is definitely a best practice to magpie as it covers multiple Eco-Schools Topics, Step 4 Curriculum Links, Step 5 Informing and Involving and Step 6 Monitoring and Evaluation, all whilst teaching remotely too!

Here’s Mrs Humphrey, Modern Foreign Languages Lead from Laxton Junior School to tell us more…

The idea for our Eco House Challenge came from a chance viewing of another school’s fundraising campaign for the Great Green Wall (GGW). We had started to discuss what we could do as a school to bring the community together and a ‘virtual’ walk had been mentioned.  This seemed like the perfect location for our walk as it could bring together the community in a way that not only creates competition, which the children love, but also wellbeing, care for our community and the environment and a sense of togetherness, which we all miss so much. The GGW is 7750km long and passes through 11 countries, which gives huge opportunity for the children (and adults) to learn about the geography, people, traditions and culture of each different country.

We have linked this whole school environmental/well being/ community challenge to our Eco Team too. The children within the Eco Team are working together virtually to create videos to explain to the children and their families how they can save energy, reduce waste and save water, to tie in with our Eco Schools topics this year, as we work towards our first Eco-Schools Green Flag*

Our school is split into 4 houses, each with children from Reception to Year 6 and the teachers are also all part of a house. Each child can earn km from a variety of activities:

Build a den 5km
Build a futuristic eco Lego house 5km
Run 5km 5km
Walk 5km 5km
Sort and take out your recycling 5km
Tidy your bedroom (once a week) 5km
Cycle 10km (you will earn half the distance) 5km
Make a birdfeeder 5km
Do a litter pick in your area 10km
Do a load of washing, dry it, fold it and put it away. 10km
Cook a 2-course meal for your family 10km
Plant a tree 15km

As the children earn their kms, they post a photo on the GGW Teams Channel for everyone to see and they register the activity using a Microsoft form which records their house, points and activities. This collates a total for each house and we can look at which children are most active and what they have done. On a daily basis, a map is uploaded, using Google Earth with the progress of each house, drawn on using the appropriate colour.  This always creates a lot of excitement and chatter and comments of encouragement across all year groups.  Collectively, we have covered over 3000km in just 5 days. We have marked 500km checkpoints along the route and as the children pass each checkpoint, it releases Fact Files and activity packs for each country (flags to colour, word searches and other relevant activities).  Staff are also encouraged to add their km for walking, cycling and their community support (not cleaning and cooking as this could take us half way round the world!)

*Note from Eco-Schools- we definitely think this is above and beyond what a schools is working on for their 1st Green Flag Laxton Junior, amazing!

Here’s what those taking part have enjoyed…

Mr Marsden, Eco-Coordinator: Our GGW Challenge has been an ideal opportunity to get not just the children involved in an environmental and community project, but the whole parent body too, and with a brilliant response. This is definitely a challenge which could be easily adapted and completed outside of lockdown too.

Catrin  Y3: I like watching all the houses race and I am so excited to see if I can help Gloucester (house) win! The GGW is important because it brings food and water and stops Africa turning into a desert and it’s good that we learn about it because we can find ways to help with planting trees in Africa and planting trees here too.

Bea Y4:  I’m enjoying this challenge because I can help my house and it also gets us outside. I think it’s important to lean about the GGW because trees are really good for the environment and there are loads of opportunities to learn more about Africa as we travel through the countries.

Isabella Y5: I am really enjoying this challenge as it is bringing us together as a school at this tricky time. We are able to work individually to meet a goal together. We have such a positive community and working on this challenge together really helps boost my energy and positivity- seeing all the good others are doing. The challenges are really interesting and varied and there’s something for everyone across the school. Everyone can get involved and feel like they are doing their bit. I feel proud when I do a challenge knowing it’s helping my health, our environment, community and my house. I felt quite emotional learning about the Great Green Wall and how planting the trees could make such a difference to other peoples lives. It really inspired me.

Georgie Y5: I love that all the activities are either good for my health, good for the environment or help my family. Every time I do a challenge I feel a huge sense of achievement. It is a good way to feel part of our school community even though we are in lockdown. I think it is really important to be aware of the difficulties that other countries have around the world. The GGW project is amazing. I had never heard of it before and now I know a lot about how they are trying to make life better for their future. I think it’s a great project!

Georgina Y5: I like getting outside and doing different activities. It’s import to learn about the GGW because it’s helping to stop the desert growing and helping the environment.

Maria Y6: What I enjoy most about this challenge is, that it brings our community together and gives a bit of ‘spice’ to our houses- they love a challenge! I think it is important to learn about the GGW because it is our planet and we need to care for it, so that later generations can live happily and healthy.

Mrs H-C Y6 Form Tutor: I am enjoying having an extra incentive to go out for a walk or to complete some of the other challenges. I am also enjoying seeing the pupils baking, tidying and helping at home and in their local areas. Some of the meals look and sound delicious! I think it is important because we are working together, helping our home and local environment, responding to a challenge and learning more about countries that we may well never visit.

If like us, you are now truly invested in seeing which house at Laxton Junior Schools wins their Great Green Wall Challenge then follow them on Twitter @LaxtonJunior #GreatGreenWall

Good luck to all the houses!