Carmen Clay

Co-teacher: Mark Clay
I retired from teaching service learning and Spanish to help with my grandchildren.   My grandchildren are attending in-person pre-school and Kindergarten in Massachusetts where I am exploring a permanent move.    I am adapting the curriculum to 3- and 5-year old minds without any elementary education background.  My grandchildren and I will be participating for the second year.   Last year, my grandson got his parents to start composting, rec


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School: Homeschool 2 students are involved The average age of the students: Pre school-kindergarten Year

Projects 2021

Week 1 2021

September 27-October 4th

Understanding of weather and climate-related seasons is improving from last year.  We connected climate change/global warming to NASA's "The Earth has a Fever."  See process and notes of children's reactions at Climate Action Challenge 2021.

Thomas's big conclusion this year is that gasoline from cars is a big cause of climate change.  Carbon monoxide released into the atmosphere is warming the earth's surface which in turn is warming the oceans and killing sustaining life.  He sees electric cars like the one his dad bought as part of the solution to help lower the earth's temperature.

After watching Zaki's Adventures, The Earth Has a Fever and reading the first pages of The Global Game Changers by Jen and Rachel Helson, my grandson stated that "people not caring, like the "dark cloud" the Global Game Changers were fighting is also an explanation for the earth having a fever.  He is trying to help the earth by recycling, composting, and repurposing paper, containers and cardboxes to create and play.  He needs to work on conservation of tape and other materials.

Week 2: Causes and local effects of Earth's Fever

Our connections and PP to the challenge weeks can be found at My Wakelet, a tool provided this year that I like more than the Goggle classroom and blogging for my teaching and learning from now on.   After reflecting on the differences between weather (clothing for the day-is it hot or cold) and climate (all the clothing in your closet- some for warm climate-spring and summer, some for cold climate-fall/winter), the children made a poster of the seasons and the "normal" climate during the seasons.  Then, we watched the Earth has a Fever by Nasa and a 45-minute cartoon of Zake's Adventure-The Earth Has a Fever.  The children concluded, "the penguins did not care about the garbage around them in Zake's Adventures.  That is one cause for the earth's fever."  We must care and clean up our garbage as the penguins did."

As the children were making seasons dioramas with shaving cream and leaves and after watching the Zake video, they noticed two things, which they concluded as causes:

Global: The ice is melting where the polar bears live.  They will not have a way to transport themselves to get food.  They will die if they do not adapt and the ice is melting faster than the bears can learn how to change ways to survive.

Local The fall leaves are beautiful and they are a natural resource for our art pieces, but it felt funny to be wearing summer clothing during the fall.  We are having warmer weather during the fall in New England.  Last year, they learned how the warmer weather in New England affected the production of their favorite pancake syrup, "Maple Syrup".



Week 3: Global Causes and Effects of Earth's Fever

We are still working here, but the first impressions are:

1. Polar bears are looking their habitat

2. Bees are disoriented like the first day in kindergarten because they do not know what is going on with the weather and they are not adapting to the changes and are surviving not thriving.

Week 4: Solutions

My kindergarten grandson made a video to send to the astronauts at the Space Station before seeing them at the beginning of the EarthShot Prize Awards. In the video he states his solution: Use, reuse, recycle, repurpose.  He has consistently done this for the past two years.   He attended a farm school last year.  There, he learned about composting and made his parents start composting at home.  He stopped using a lot of toilet paper to save the trees.  He also took farmers' discarded produce, still in good condition, to make "home culinary creations."  This year, he was described as being the ring leader of dumpster diving.  He will bring home paper from the waste paper basket to add texture to his art creations.  No Amazon cardboard is safe.  He destroys them to place them in the recycle bin or uses them to build rocket ships, imaginary constructions, innovative creations.  He involves the whole family in the process and gets us to participate in playing with the finished products.

I will keep updating this throughout the year because I want to see what greater exposure to the resources and apps in the Climate Action curriculum and lesson plans will generate in this highly active and innovative mind.  I am also ordering some of the books recommended here for my grandchildren for the upcoming holidays.  I wonder what those books will bring to the hearts and minds of my grandchildren.  The list of books sounds fabulous, but some are not available at our public libraries yet.  I will make sure I request them to be purchased for more kids to be exposed to at least the high quality childrens' literature in the book.

My granddaughter at this time is just following his lead.  As my grandson states, "She will listen to me, not to the grown-ups.  She copies me."  His kindness and concern for the environment are also making him value his sister's athletic abilities.

Week 5: Virtual Interactions - Sharing Solutions

My grandson wrote a letter when he was learning how to form letters to my apartment's garden committee to get a plot to garden with me in the spring of 2022.  We received the raised garden plot in October.  If it is not clean by Thanksgiving, we will begin cleaning and preparing the soil for Spring planting in New England.

My granddaughter is interested in writing letters and numbers.  We started a picture book last year as a possible way of raise awareness of climate change and our family's solution to two challenges, learning how to read and write as well as keeping our earth from getting sicker.  Our process can be seen at  Because Earth Has a Fever has been so much part of our journey through this year's challenge, we are changing the name to  Earth Has a Fever  First Word, First Steps to make it better.   I wonder what the final title will be.


We connected with a teacher in the USA with whom we collaborated last year, but she was not participating in the program.  We did not receive a reply from the other two educators we contacted at the beginning of the Challenge.  We will keep on trying.

We will continue to build our bilingual picture book of Earth Has a Fever ABC with words we will be learning from the LEGO resources and the EarthShot Generation website.  We will also try to read all the pictures books recommended this year.

Week 6: Actions

After seeing the LEGOS Introduction and the Bees unit, which I did not present in its totality or in the way LEGOS intended it, I am excited to see how my grandson has developed his solutions for this year with great optimism of being the change he wants to see.  I saw real commitment in his eyes because he is beginning to understand the science behind his actions.

Before seeing the Bees video, he already had written a first word's letter requesting a plot at a community garden.  He is committed to making this little garden a biodiverse habitat, with flowers for bees to do their pollination job, for insects to grow as he has even started composting and for us as a family to have fresh produce by planting vegetable and herbs seeds to grow next spring.  He will begin the clean-up of the soil after Thanksgiving which is the time when he takes possession of the garden.

With the introduction video and NASA's Earth has a fever as well as Zaki's Adventures, and the seals not able to keep the children home; my 5-year-old is committed to using, reusing, recycling, and repurposing at home and school, the two areas where he lives, to make sure that the polar bear and seals Artic home is not destroyed by global warming.  He is also committed to decreasing the use of plastic, which he started by using metal straws.

My 3-year-old granddaughter is not grasping concepts yet, but she likes to see the LEGO videos over and over and take the surveys which empower me to rectify first presentation mistakes and generates great connectivity as she learns the meaning of the words by the reflective and grasping power of her drawings and storytelling of her drawings.  This puts us on a good path to make what has started as an online My first letters and words picture book, to My first cardboard letters and words picture book on Climate Action. The title of the book, at the seed idea stage, is "My Climate Action Cardboard Book". The inspiration for this work is the books about cardboard reused presented in the Wakelet Curated list for the Climate Action Project 2021.

Meanwhile, We will continue to update this reflective portfolio.  I feel we have taken baby steps and feel good about our small progress.  The grand finale connected to the EarthShot Awards and Generation gives more than hope that systemic solutions are being embraced by the people who have the legislative and financial power to lower the earth's fever.

We continue our commitment to learning about why the earth has a fever and what a grandmother with her two toddler grandchildren can do to help it get better. 

Yesterday, when we did the Lego's bees activity with my grandfather, it was amazing how the children and my husband connected to the videos and the surveys.  It was like learning to care by playing together.  We designed our little plot of land to help the bees.  The real plot is the small area provided by the Gardening Association in the apartment where my husband and I live in retirement.  The children took the reflective drawings to share the stories with their parents.  My 3-year-old granddaughter was so proud to learn about pollen and the bees, she displayed her reflective drawing on the wall with tape.  

Thank you for the quality of educational tools you provide.  Retired educators, like me, inexperienced with early elementary-age children feel empowered by a clear, creative, and age-appropriate process. Your curriculum and lesson planning were enhanced with the adaptation example provided by the Legos team of what online engaging education must be in 2021. I also started my Wakelet site to keep our progress documented.  What amazing connections!  I look forward to participating again next year.  I will keep on working with my grandchildren. We look forward to the big surprises you will bring to us next year.


Images by Carmen Clay 2020-11-01Clay
Images by Carmen Clay 2021-11-03Clay
Images by Carmen Clay 2021-11-04Clay
Images by Carmen Clay 2021-11-03Clay
Images by Carmen Clay 2021-11-03Clay
Images by Carmen Clay 2021-11-03Clay
Images by Carmen Clay 2021-11-04Clay