Posts filed under ‘Environmental Education’

Earth in Verse

I heard a snippet of Maria Popova’s “The Universe in Verse” and was inspired to do something for Earth Day this year.

Students were challenged to find a photograph of nature that made them feel happy and one that made them feel sad, and then to write a poem about one or other photo: Nature Light and Dark. I suggested they start with a descriptive phrase and go from there. Here’s the example I shared.

Why something so art-y and subjective/imaginative in science class? Because what you feel is what you remember and what you care about. And the world desperately needs young people who care about the state of the planet, who care to learn about it and do something, and know how to get others to do so too. It’s a lead-in to a unit on environmental science coming up.

They were free to use photos from their phones. They could also do a Google image search from a growing list of science terms that have something to do with nature. For the happy photos, they looked up images of places that they love. They picked an issue that they were especially concerned about as a search term to find a photo that made them sad. Here is the slide template I shared with them via Google Classroom.

It was lovely to watch them so completely absorbed, showing each other pictures on their phones, had to set a few boundaries – no selfies, or pics primarily of their pets. Resort pictures are not really wild ‘nature’ and that’s an important consideration these days where the wealthy get this manicured view of nature inside giant resort enclosures where the surroundings are often seriously impacted – Cancun springs to mind.

A bit of counseling to avoid the first image that pops up so we don’t see the same thing over and over. But also a lovely opportunity to roll the chair around to each group and listen in, encourage, help and coach. What IS a ‘good’ photo? – one that makes you feel something. In sharp focus, with ONE main thing that it’s about. But other than that, you sort of know when you see it. Some students are so schooled in ‘the right answer’ that it’s hard for them to know and trust their gut when it’s appropriate. And what is ‘good’ poetry? Another huge question but for the purposes of today, I suggested the following: It’s what is true for you. Write first whatever comes up from the photo that you feel most strongly about. THEN edit. Don’t worry about rhyme unless it comes easily. Consider the sound and rhythm, the meter of the words and the punctuation. Read it aloud. Does it sound right? Edit.

Students wrote their poem on the third slide and then copied and pasted their work onto a slide set for the class so it automatically made a slide show. Today, they read out their poems with the picture that inspired it behind them.

Here are the best poems and pictures in a Google Slideshow.  Kids would love it if you commented and said where you are writing from!

 

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May 15, 2019 at 8:22 PM 2 comments

OCC Green Team Kick Off

Orinda Community Church kick-off meeting and church survey for the newly forming Green Team.

Continue Reading June 10, 2016 at 9:14 PM Leave a comment

Climate Change Resources

How bad is climate change? How’s it caused? and What to do about it? Here are the key, scientifically reliable resources to complement the talk at Orinda Community Church “On Care for Our Common Home” series in February, 2016. Includes ppt and many resources for a lay audience.

Continue Reading February 20, 2016 at 2:32 PM 1 comment

The Re-Wilding Project Begins!

Re-wilding… a more inspiring challenge that ‘conservation’ or ‘restoration’. This is the lead in to this exciting project we are developing at Orinda Intermediate School

Continue Reading February 8, 2016 at 4:14 PM 2 comments

Plant 2 Trees Project Overview and Resources NSTA Oct.2015

The down and dirty, step-by-step guide for teachers who want to do this project with their students. Goes with the workshop given at National Science Teachers’ Association conference in Reno, October 2015.

Continue Reading October 20, 2015 at 12:21 PM Leave a comment

A Whole year of 7th Grade Science – the best one yet!

A link to the whole lot – a year’s worth of successful, fun and free curriculum tested at Orinda Intermediate School.

Continue Reading June 11, 2015 at 2:12 PM Leave a comment

Engaging students in rigorous research

Those words have often not gone together – engagement, rigor and research. But finally, they are for most students most of the past week or so, with the new and improved Take Action Project. I’m excited to share the activities and pictures with you.

Continue Reading May 18, 2014 at 12:07 PM Leave a comment

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