Free Earth Day Resources: Just a Dream to Save Our Planet

A few years ago I posted a question on Facebook asking teachers to tell me their favorite book to read aloud for Earth Day, and Just a Dream by Chris Van Allsburg was the top recommendation. I had not read it before, so I immediately ordered it. Just a  Dream is a beautiful picture book about a boy named Walter who imagines an exciting future on Earth – until he has a dream that takes him on an unforgettable adventure. In this dream, Walter sees what will happen to the Earth if we don’t take better care of our planet.

What a great introduction to environmental issues and problems! Thanks to everyone who recommended it. It was written in 1990 so I’m not quite sure how I missed this treasure! By the way, if you don’t have a copy of Just a Dream, you can listen to a teacher read the story aloud in this YouTube video.

I loved the story so much that I decided to create a set of activities based on the book.  Just a Dream to Save Our Planet starts with a quick Think-Pair-Share for students to discuss their visions of the future and is followed by a read-aloud session. After that, you can choose from several cooperative learning and writing activities.

New Google Classroom Resources

A few days ago when I realized that Earth Day was just around the corner, I decided to update the original freebie. Teachers need digital resources right now, so I decided to create Google Slides versions of the printable activities. The updated version now include a Virtual Group Chat with the discussion cards, a Google Slides sorting activity, a Virtual Journal, and a collection of Google Slides Environmental Issues note-taking pages.

Where to Find this Earth Day Freebie

You can grab this Earth Day freebie from my TeachersPayTeachers store. Everything is explained in the teacher directions, but here’s a quick list of what you’ll find:

  • 8 prepared discussion cards
  • 4 blank discussion cards
  • 9 cards describing the events in the story
  • 1 graphic organizer for sorting the event cards into categories
  • 4 problem-Solution graphic organizers for the environmental issues
  • 4 Google Slides versions of the activity pages

Why am I giving away Just a Dream to Save the Planet? It’s simple! Now more than ever, it’s important for kids to explore environmental issues and discuss ways to protect our Earth. So this freebie is my gift to you, and I hope you will make this lesson your gift to your students!

Just a Dream is a terrific book by Chris Van Allsburg, and it's perfect for Earth Day or any day! Download a free packet of discussion questions and writing activities to go with the book.