In celebration of Earth Day, I read The Lorax by Dr. Seuss to a 5th grade class. I used this classic Dr. Seuss book to teach students that they have the power to make a difference, not only for the environment, but for their school and community."Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot,
it's not going to get better. It's not."
The Lorax by Dr. Seuss
I asked if anyone in the class had ever read or heard The Lorax before. Only one student in the class had read the book. The students were very engaged in the story. I asked them questions during while reading such as "How do you think the Lorax felt when the Oncelor did not heed his advice?" and "How do you think the other characters, such as the Barbaloots felt during the story?" The students had great answers. They commented that the Barbaloots may have felt "devastated," "depressed," "lost," etc.
After reading The Lorax, I asked students more questions to facilitate discussion. I asked students, "Why does the Lorax speak for the trees?" The students answered, "they could not speak for themselves," "they were afraid," and "the Oncelor might not have listened." I asked, "Has there ever been a time in your life when you spoke up for someone or someone spoke up for you?" Most of the students answered that they have had someone stand up for them. One student told the group that just that day he helped two third-graders who were about to get into a fight. He told the boys that it was not a smart decision.
I also asked the students, "What does the Oncelor mean when he says, 'Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It's not.'?" The students had great answers. They said that it means, "even one person can make a difference," "if you don't do something no one will," "everyone is responsible for helping out." I asked the students for suggestions on how they could make a difference in their school and community. Some of the suggestions were, "cleaning up trash when you see it," "helping kids to work out problems without fighting," and "respecting each other."
I love using classic books and adding a school counseling twist to them! Check out other Dr. Seuss books I have used for lessons.
For more information and tips for using The Lorax to teach students about the environment click on one of the Lorax pictures.
Are there any Earth Day inspired lessons you use with students? Comment below, email me, tweet, or share on the School Counselor Blog Facebook Page!
Danielle is a K-12 Certified School Counselor, Nationally Certified Counselor, and blogger at School Counselor Blog, a place where school counselors share innovative ideas, creative lesson plans, and quality resources. Contact Danielle via email, follow her on twitter, and become a fan of the School Counselor Blog Facebook Page.