It’s spring! As a classroom teacher, who taught grade 4 for a number of years, it was always my favourite time to teach our unit on habitats and communities. As nature comes back to life after a long winter of hibernation, I’ve always found it to be the best time to be outdoors, observing changes that are happening and having the opportunity to wonder. For this post, I’m writing about the great opportunity that we have as educators to teach about the environment and climate change.
With Earth Hour upon us and Earth Day coming up, there’s so much already being said about our environment and the classroom is a great way to have students consider their role in being great stewards of the earth. In my quest to find resources to share – and there are numerous – I happened upon some great resources on the ETFO website. I’ve taken some time to dig into 3 that I liked and would absolutely use in my classroom.
World Water Day 2019
March 22nd, 2019 was World Water Day. The theme for this year was Leaving no one behind which speaks directly to the UN’s Sustainable Goal #6 – Water for all by 2030. The goal was for everyone to be thinking about tackling the water crisis and considering reasons why so many people – mainly marginalized groups – are being left behind. There I found a link to a great fact sheet that I think would be a great tool to get the conversation going in many classrooms. Used as an informative texts, groups of students could engage in finding out some of the reasons why equitable access to water is something that we all need to be fighting for. With calls to action at the end of the fact sheet, I could see students engaging in activities to bring awareness and even thinking about potential solutions to problems in their local, national and global communities. With print resources and short videos, there are so many different ways in which we can help students understand the disparity that exists and create our own calls to action as we think about our impact.
This project reminds me of a great investigation that the students in Barbara Robson’s Class. A truly inspiring educator who worked with her students around issues of environmental concern, particularly in the area of recycling.
This project, The collaborative Green 2 Go Project, aims to assist Vancouver in its goal of reducing landfill-bound solid waste by working with city restaurants and the public in dialogue and support in reducing take-out container waste. With engaging infographics created to share powerful research, I can see great connections that can be made in both Math, Science and Language. While the information speaks to what’s happening in Vancouver, it might be nice for students to be able to use some of these ideas to see what’s happening right here in different communities in Ontario. The information on this site has changed some of my views on dining in locations where containers with black plastics are used, I wonder how this information, in the hands of our students, might bring about even more change.
Earth Hour is an international event usually held on the last Saturday of March between 8:30-9:30pm. During this hour, citizens around the world turn off their lights in support of addressing climate change. Schools typically participate on the Friday prior to the official Earth Hour by turning off all non-essential electricity for one hour during the school day. Yesterday was Earth Hour and it’s always so much fun seeing great tweets about how people are working to do their part for the environment. It’s also fantastic to see big cities all around the world, turning off the lights on prominent buildings, showing that their citizens aren’t alone in the fight but that government also has a role to play.
This Earth Hour Kit has great ideas for activities both in the classroom and school-wide. I like that there are a variety of grades represented in the lessons and it appears as though some have been written by or adapted from the work of educators. I also really like some of the ideas laid out in the letter to parents.
These are just 3 great resources available as you consider working with students around themes of environmental importance. What will you try?