Coat Donation Solves Two Problems

Written by Deborah Marcus. Posted in Daily Life at Unity Charter School, Sustainability, Uncategorized

Coats, Hats, Mittens and More by Jennifer Carcich

Unity is a community of caring which reaches beyond our walls and into the greater community. Throughout the Month of October, our entire school worked together to collect new, or clean used coats, for the Market Street Mission annual Coat Give a Way on the Morristown Green. This event is always held the first Saturday in November.

On October 15th, all of the children in grades K-4 sorted and tallied a portion of the donated coats and winter-wear. Each learning group then added their information to the school graph. Students were then able to solve real world math problems from the data.

Tallying the Donations

The school collected over 100 coats for those in need and will be sending middle school students and teachers to help distribute coats on the Green at the event.

Bags of Donations

Increased Sustainability to Replace Bin of Bags

Written by Deborah Marcus. Posted in Daily Life at Unity Charter School, Health and Nutrition, Sustainability

By Jennifer Carcich

Over the past three years the students and staff have been able to recycle all of the plastic that has entered our building through our very own “Bin of Bags” program. Unfortunately, the company we were working with has gone out of business. Our plastics were among those being sent to China for recycling and they are now enforcing stricter (and healthier) guidelines in this country. This is a healthy reminder to all of us that reducing waste is a much more effective choice than trying to recycle or dispose of it!

We are taking this as an opportunity to reevaluate and revive our practices at the school. Our mission of sustainability is the essence of our school. Please help us reinforce the mission by revisiting how you are preparing and sending in your child’s lunch and snacks. For those who are sending in lunches and snacks, please consider buying in bulk and sending portions in to school in reusable containers. This will not only reduce waste but may also reduce your expenses. Individual snack item wrappers were the most common item on our old Bin of Bags recycling program followed by juice/milk boxes. Yogurt tubes are another big landfill item in the Bin of Bags. Here are some helpful tips on how to provide some popular items in a more sustainable way:

  • Purchase large containers or yogurt and send in portioned amounts (reusable food pouches or containers)
  • Purchase cheese in blocks and cut into pieces for each day
  • Make your own lunchables with cut pieces of cheese and favorite crackers
  • Consider making your own cereal bars, nut-free granola bars, and other delicious snacks (visit the Unity Blog for some sustainable food recipes!)

We recognize that moving to more sustainable lunches and snacks may change the way you shop and may take some additional time for preparation. However, moving to a more sustainable practice is just a matter of starting new habits and these new habits will leave the planet healthier for you and your children. Perhaps try just changing one item at a time until you get the hang of it. Together, our community can make a difference!

Articles related to this topic:
http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/china-recycles-plastic/ http://www.huffingtonpost.com/news/california-plastic-bag-ban/ http://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2014/oct/06/smelly-contaminated-disease-worlds-open-dumps

About the Author:
Jennifer Carcich is the 2/3 Grade Teacher and Lower School Team Leader at Unity Charter School. This is her fourth year teaching at Unity Charter School. She is certified to teach both general education and special education students and has been in the teaching field since 1994. Jennifer takes pride in helping Unity Charter School continue to strengthen its unique and innovative approach to education and bring forth the school’s mission.

The opinions expressed by the author and those providing comments are theirs alone, and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Unity Charter School. Unity Charter School is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by the author.

Unity Charter School class visits Loantaka Brook Reserve for hands on learning

Written by Cat D. Posted in Daily Life at Unity Charter School, Education, Sustainability, Whole Child Education

loantaka3To make their unit study of water and the states of matter come to life, Jen’s 2/3 Learning Group took their first “in the field” trip of the year at Loantaka Brook Reserve in Morristown.

The students created underwater-scopes in class out of old yogurt containers and plastic wrap. They used these tools to help them observe the animals, plants and other items found in the brook. The children enjoyed lovely weather, fresh air and time in nature.

loantaka2The class found three frogs, a worm, fish, spider webs, bone fragments, algae and many leaves. We used our Science eyes to collect data both with and with out our scopes and record the data with sketches and words in our Water Logs. We look forward to at least two more adventures in local waterways this school year!

Unity Eco-School Interest Group Creates a Healthy Crunch Recipe

Written by Cat D. Posted in Health and Nutrition, Interest Groups, Sustainability

By Amy Hoffman
Healthy Crunch photo4
Healthy Crunch photo6
Healthy Crunch photo1

The Eco-School’s Healthy Foods group is working each Thursday to redefine snacking here at Unity! We worked tirelessly to investigate produce that we could grow quickly and here at school.

We have been fortunate to have been able to use the grow station that, parent, Rich Hoffman generously donated to grow Sprouts! So, the group needed to think of a snack that we could “invent” using sprouts…. Here is Unity’s very own snacking creation – Healthy Crunch!

Ingredients:
  • Gluten Free Bagel Chips
  • seeds for sprouts, soil, water, and sun.
  • hummus
Procedure:
  1. Plant seeds. Grow sprouts. Harvest. To harvest, cut near the bottom. Cut in small pieces. Wash well.
  2. Get a bagel chip. (G-F)
  3. Spread the hummus on chip.
  4. Sprinkle sprouts on hummus.
  5. Eat!

Community Earth Movie Screening Tells Interesting Story

Written by Stacy Havens. Posted in 07960, Sustainability

Community Earth Movie Screening Tells Interesting Story

By Alethia Stone

The screening of the documentary Drill, Baby Drill at Unity Charter School on Friday, October 4 was an interesting event and yielded a few surprises. When I first read that the school would be hosting the film followed by a panel discussion to include testimony from someone personally affected by the results, I expected a hefty turn out. It had been well promoted in the communications from the school as well as by the sponsoring organizations, Community Earth and Food & Water Watch. While the turnout was respectable, I had expected more for such a charged topic, particularly when it has such grave implications for our own lives.

The audience profile was a surprise. There was only one other Unity parent and in general the attendees were older, much older which left me to wonder do people understand what the drilling process also known as fracking is, or do they just not care? Perhaps it was that it was a Friday night or that the topic was too political. Whatever the reason those in attendance were committed to learning more and spreading the word.

The film itself was also a surprise. I was expecting something political but instead what I watched was the story of two towns an ocean apart. One has been living the consequences of gas drilling for four years; the other just seeing the dawn of drilling in their country. Based on they learned about other towns where drilling had, a group of farmers in Poland were inspired to become activists and fight the introduction of drilling in their village.

Both the film and the ensuing discussion provided food for thought. Questions were answered thoughtfully and candidly. In screening this documentary, Unity gave the larger community access to information and resources about a subject that is not often highlighted in the media. In the end I was left with questions about the integrity of our food and water supply and wondered if it could happen here.

You can watch the trailer for Drill, Baby, Drill on Vimeo, http://vimeo.com/63570033.

Learn more what happened in panelist Ray Kemble’s hometown of Dimock, PA.

There are two sides to every story. I would be remiss if I didn’t include a link to those in Dimock who still support the drilling. Consider both sides and decide for yourself what you believe.

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Photos by Alethia Stone