Zero Hunger Zero Waste Hero: Valley View Elementary transforms plastic

Too Much Trash, a unit spearheaded by teacher Rita Lewis, was implemented this year in the fourth grade at Valley View Elementary. Rita explained that Too Much Trash is a Project Based Learning (PBL) endeavor. She said PBL focuses on enabling students to face real-world situations and problems, and that it prepares students to meet and accept challenges in the world, mirroring what professionals do everyday in the workplace.

Too Much Trash is changing the way Valley View Elementary and the surrounding community thinks about waste. Here are some of the ways the fourth graders have created change in their school and abroad:

1. Adobe Sparks - Media Arts impact videos created by the students. Riley Erickson and Emma Moak read some Haikus that represented the content of the videos. The media arts, communication skills, collaboration, and creativity are all part of our 4th grade core.

2. Totem Pole - Brooklyn Brown showed us a completed totem pole created collaboratively by the students, made entirely of plastic waste.

3. Impact Posters - Jane Hughes told us about the posters that explain where trash goes and the state of waste in our world, and that these posters are posted around the school. The skills involved in making these - reading, research, note taking, and persuasive - are all an integral part of their fourth-grade curriculum.

4. Percussion Instruments - Student Ella Jardine with the assistance of music specialist, Laurie Hardy lead students in a song accompanied by percussion instruments made from recycled plastic.

5. Reusable Bags with Persuasive Statements - Rita Lewis reached out to Smith's Food & Drug to help support the PBL idea for the fourth grade. Aubriana Martindale with Smith's Corporate Affairs responded, donating 1,000 reusable shopping bags together with the Zero Hunger | Zero Waste logos. Students Maddex Dredge and Paisley Peterson showed the bags that they pass around the community, complete with a "persuasive statement" attached - written by students - about highlighting the impact of plastic bags to our environment and the benefits of using reusable trash bags.

Because of their efforts to prevent waste and turn existing waste into art, Rita Lewis, the other fourth grade teachers, their students, and Valley View Elementary as a whole are recipients of the Zero Waste Award from Smith's Food and Drug and Fox13.

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