This week on the blog I am excited to share two things: a story and an announcement about a new online course coming in February!
The story is about d'Arcy Lunn. d'Arcy is a passionate and purposeful changemaker who is the founder of Teaspoons of Change. He is currently working on a carbon mapping project for the Dulwich group of schools and has spent years teaching students and teachers about sustainable living. I have known d'Arcy since 2015 and recently recorded a zoom interview with him to explore his journey as an active global citizen. If you are an educator who cares about global citizenship and sustainability, this story will inspire you. You could share this story with your students or with other educators, or simply enjoy it yourself as a way to connect with d'Arcy and his vision for a more sustainable world. Please feel free to share this link!
In addition, I am excited to announce that I will be launching a new 4-week online course to help teachers become digital storytellers! The course will begin on February 10, 2022, and will involve two hours of engagement each week (one hour of synchronous learning and one hour of asynchronous learning). If you have wondered about digital storytelling and how to bring this powerful tool into your classroom, this 4-week course will equip you with everything you need. :)
Here is a link to the course info page.
And a link right to the course enrollment page.
The poster below is a JPEG file so the links in this image aren't active but correspond to the links above. I am excited about this course because I love digital storytelling and have seen, multiple times, how it is a powerful and purposeful tool to:
* create deep learning and engagement with our curriculum
* develop mindsets for active global citizenship and global competencies
* cultivate communication and action skills
* raise awareness, promote advocacy and build cultures of service and sustainability in our classrooms and schools
Join me and a group of like-minded educators for this 4-week session! Any questions? Shoot me an email. I'd love to hear from you.
This photo was taken in my backyard for our family Canadian Thanksgiving celebration in October 2021.
When it comes to sustainability, food is a topic most people can relate to and understand. We all eat, and some of us grow gardens, cook, bake and think a lot about food. And, over the last number of decades, our food options have exploded, allowing us many more choices than our grandparents or great-grandparents imagined possible.
Michael Pollan, in his book In Defense of Food, says that "eaters have real choices now, and those choices have real consequences, for our health and the health of the land and the health of our food culture." So true!
We know that what we eat affects our bodies and our local ecosystems, and most people are aware of the link between what we eat (or don't) and climate change (did you know, for instance, that approximately 25 per cent of greenhouse gas emissions each year is related to agriculture, and that beef has an enormously high carbon footprint?). Yet it can seem overwhelming to understand how to approach our plates and palates with a more sustainable lens.
As teachers, we can learn alongside our students if we bring issues of food sustainability into our classrooms. Even the youngest learners can explore what it means to eat in a healthy and responsible way, and how to grow simple plants in a class or school garden. Older learners can unpack complex issues such as root causes of unfair food distribution and the impact of food waste on our climate. In any discipline, there are many ways to engage our students in these conversations, to literally bring food sustainability to the table in our learning environments.
To get started, check out the interview below with Eric Jakah, a young leader in a community called Vumilia in the Rift Valley, Kenya. Eric has been at the forefront of helping his community grow food, and he is exploring new techniques such as aquaponics and no-till agriculture as solutions for the future.
Below the embedded video are links to provide some starting points for planning curriculum around food and sustainability, too. Because I love stories, I have included some links for wonderful books (for readers of all ages) that can serve as a foundation for units of study.
I hope these resources are helpful! :)
Resources for teaching about sustainable food:
Younger learners (PK - grade 6):
* www.readerstoeaters.com/our-books?category=Garden (a wonderful collection of picture books about food and gardening)
* www.goodreads.com/en/book/show/14431165-potatoes-on-rooftops (a fabulous children's book about urban farming and more)
* www.tomsofmaine.com/good-matters/helping-hands/teaching-kids-sustainable-food-practices (some simple things anyone can do)
Older learners (grade 7 - 12):
* www.animalvegetablemiracle.com/ (Barbara Kingsolver's blog and book about sustainable gardening)
* michaelpollan.com/books/ (Michael Pollan has written many non-fiction books about food; these make a great starting point for high school learners to rethink what's on their plates)
* gdswithmrslav.weebly.com/unit-3-food--farming.html (As part of a class I taught for several years called Global Development Studies, I developed this online unit about food and farming; don't worry about completing the assignments listed on this page - unless you want to! - but check out the videos and links. There is a lot to learn here).
Also, a big shoutout to my good friend Anthony Reich, the Director of Global Citizenship at Dulwich College Pudong in Shanghai. At his school, they produce a sustainability newsletter each week and this week the topic is Sustainable Gardening, a wonderful connection to these ideas. Here is a copy of his excellent newsletter (which contains even more resources!).
In September, two grade 5 teachers from St. Andrew's Episcopal School in Austin, Texas, wondered if they could create a digital storytelling platform that would create deep learning and engagement for students as well as awareness and action in the school community. Three months after their initial idea: the launch of Impact, a purposeful and powerful digital storytelling hub for students, teachers, parents and other members of the St. Andrew's community.
Michele Turner and Mark Garcia, the two educators leading this initiative, care a lot about their students and about the state of affairs on planet Earth. Advocates for peace, environmental sustainability, equity, inclusion and belonging, Michele and Mark are passionate about helping students engage with global issues, the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals, and principles of sustainability.
Michele (a teacher at several top international schools in various parts of the world before returning to the US in 2020) had contributed to a digital storytelling platform at her last international school and could see it was a way to build community and tell success stories about what was happening in innovative classrooms. She wanted to bring this storytelling approach to St. Andrew's to create a space where students would be thoroughly and actively engaged. Mark, a language arts teacher who loves storytelling and who brings a social justice lens to many units of study, was keen to join Michele. Together, they tackled the tech aspects of creating a website and managing posts, and the results - even in the first month of publishing content - have been powerful.
"I am excited to see my students working on their Impact stories," comments Michele. "They really want to get their work published because they care about the issues they're learning and writing about. You can see they're very motivated to succeed, and a lot of that has to do with their emerging passion for what they're learning about the world. I can see their communication skills improving quickly, as well as their critical thinking skills; having Impact as an end product or goal is really pushing the students to see how their learning in the classroom is connected to bigger issues in the community and world."
Mark agrees. He says that in his current novel study (of Esperanza Rising by Pam Muñoz Ryan), students can connect themes in the novel to the Sustainable Development Goals and issues of migration, socioeconomic inequalities and belonging.
"Michele and I came up with the three categories for posting on Impact - people, planet and perspective - as a way to help students understand they can communicate about what they're learning in a way that leads to positive change," says Mark. "Our school community cares about working towards a more just, equitable and kind world, and we think Impact can help with that mission."
To get started in realizing their goal of creating a digital storytelling platform, Michele and Mark partnered up with me and my husband Brian (international educator and tech wizard). We met online for four 2-hour coaching sessions where we supported Mark and Michele in designing and planning the site, and navigating the tech side of creating a site and posting a variety of media. As well, we spent time each week discussing mindsets for purposeful global citizenship, and how to help students engage with ideas and action in ways that would be open, fair, humble, curious and respectful.
The coaching partnership was rich, fun and positive, and equipped Michele and Mark with the time, resources and support they needed to achieve their goal and launch Impact. That happened at the beginning of December, with school administrators and parents attending a class launch event that celebrated the power of storytelling.
"We're excited to see how Impact will grow as we continue to post articles, videos and photos," says Michele. "Already parents and administrators have contacted us to engage around ideas, and we think this can be a powerful way of living out our school's mission."
You can visit Impact HERE.
Below is a video interview with Michele and Mark where you can hear them talk about the creation of Impact and how it's possible for any educator to get started with digital storytelling. If you're interested in creating your own digital storytelling platform for your classroom or school, get in touch and I would love to partner with you as a coach. By sharing your stories, you'll be participating in creating a culture of global awareness and citizenship at your school: what a powerful way to build authentic and meaningful global competencies for all. I'd love to hear from you!
I was recently working with a teacher who wanted to post some visual prompts in her classroom to remind students to remain curious and open-minded when engaged with service learning, when reflecting and when making connections between the Sustainable Development Goals and community assets/needs. In response to our conversation, I created some posters she could print and post in her classroom, and I wanted to make those same posters available here. If they are useful and you'd like to use these in your classroom, please feel free. Screenshots of the posters are featured above, and you can download the posters as A3/11x17 files by entering your email address in the space below. Please feel free to pass these along to colleagues who might want to post visual reminders for students in their classrooms, too! :)
11/9/2021 0 Comments
Reflection is a key, foundational component to service learning and global citizenship education. When we ask students to pause and reflect on what they're learning, we give them opportunities to synthesize and process their learning experiences, and to understand themselves and the world in deeper and more meaningful ways. That's why reflection is the stage of service learning that surfaces everywhere in the 5-stage cycle. If we're purposeful, we can embed meaningful reflection tasks into all of our service learning and global citizenship experiences.
And what can meaningful reflection look like? We might immediately think of journalling as a reflection tool, and journalling can definitely be valuable. But if it's the only strategy we use, students may disengage with it because of over-exposure. Also, students who have alternative learning strengths (kinesthetic, visual, etc.) may miss the opportunity to reflect in ways that help them maximize their ability to think deeply about something they have just experienced.
I have found most teachers want to grow in this area so they can offer a variety of reflection tasks and prompts that appeal to a wide variety of learners and keep students fully engaged during all reflection activities. Enter your email address below to download a guide I have created featuring ideas for written reflection, oral reflection and kinesthetic reflection. Please feel free to use it and share it, and I hope you find the ideas add value to what you are doing in your classroom.
I'd love to know what your favourite reflection prompts/activities are, too! Please share your thoughts in the comments.
I am excited to share a new resource with you! I have been working on this one for several weeks and I have put together a kit for teachers that explores five superpowers you can activate in your classroom or school to equip students to become changemakers. After decades of working with teachers in service learning and global citizenship, I realize that many teachers want to do more in their classrooms to equip students to become active global citizens and sometimes it's daunting to know where to start. Start with these five superpowers! To get this free resource, all you need to do is go to my contact page and sign up for my email list. I will send it to you right away! The link to my contact page is HERE.
Digital storytelling is a powerful way for young people to express themselves, advocate for others and engage with the world. Using blog posts, podcasts, Youtube videos and social media posts, there are so many ways for our students to join a robust dialogue online about what is happening in our world and how they can create change.
At the beginning of the Covid 19 experience in North America, service learning master trainer Cathryn Berger Kaye noticed there weren't a lot of online spaces for young people to post their thoughts, feelings and experiences. Being someone who has worked with teachers and students (K-college) for many years, Cathy and her CBK Associates team of consultants decided to create a platform for dialogue, and Documentar was born.
Documentar allows young people (25 and under) to submit art work, poetry, videos or any creative or reflective artifact. These are posted on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter as a way to capture snapshots of stories and experiences. Adults can also submit pieces for publication, and these are posted on Fridays. All other days of the week are reserved for youth.
If you're a teacher, you can have students submit creative responses they make in your classes. Or you can use Documentar as a provocation for class discussions, particularly conversations about current events and how your students connect with the ideas posted by other young people living in different parts of the world.
Cathy is inviting educators to learn more about Documentar in a webinar on September 2 (to register click here). If you miss the webinar, access Documentar using these links:
on Instagram @documentar_ (with an underscore)
on FB and Twitter @documentarNOW
You can also connect with Cathy at cbkassociates.com and firstname.lastname@example.org.
Youth can submit to Documentar here: @ bit.ly/docu-123.
Hear my conversation with Cathy in the video below, and thanks for reading and listening!
Please visit my "Contact Me" page to join my email list and receive updates and resources each week.
It's time! The 2021/22 school year has started and classes have begun or are about to start. There's that fabulous buzz in the air that signals to everyone that a brand new year has launched and that the year lays ahead, a blank canvas.
Already, your mind might be thinking about headlines for stories you would like to see this year. "School launches new sustainability plan" or "Learning by design: being deliberate about how we engage with the world" or "Cafeteria reveals new plant-based options for sustainable lunches". Your hopes and dreams for 2021/22 will reflect the best of what you imagine for the year.
So, how can we be deliberate about shaping the 2021/22 experience to reflect these hopes and dreams? When it comes to service, sustainability and global citizenship education, how can we use our community forums, newsletters and communication channels to galvanize others to our programs, and to share the good news of what is happening?
No matter how developed your school's communication channels are, you can use existing opportunities to spread the news. This will begin to create momentum and conversation about what you and your team are doing, and you might find you begin to attract allies and supporters, too.
Some things to consider if you have a service/sustainability/global citizenship experience, course or project you'd like to promote in your school community for 2021/22:
* What existing communication pathways exist in your school community? Options may include a website, newsletters, emails to parents/teachers, community gatherings (such as parent meetings, staff meetings, assemblies), and other social media platforms (such as WeChat, WhatsApp, Twitter, Instagram: whatever your school already uses). Create a list and see if you can share information using any or all of these options.
* How can you write an article and share it with your community? Check out my guide on how to write an article quickly and efficiently. Sometimes it can seem daunting to write something that you're going to send out to the broader community, but this doesn't have to take hours of your time and it can be the best way to get the ball rolling with your communications plan. Click here to access my free guide to help you write that article!
* How can you take that article and whittle it down for use in social media posts? What are the essentials and how can you break those down into a bite-sized post for social media? Do you have a photo to augment your words, or could you take one? All you need to do is grab your reader's attention for a few seconds to help them become aware of what you're doing.
* Who can you talk to in your school community to get help with your efforts? Does your school have a marketing team and could someone help tell your story or promote your event/program? Could your school leaders, including your principal or assistant principal, help you? Are there significant connectors in your community (people connected to many others who could help spread the word)? If you can get a few people on board, you'll now have a team of people helping to share your message.
* Community storytelling: could you start a community storytelling platform for your community, something like a blog or website or podcast channel? Or a regular face-to-face event where people could share news? This could be something that a team of teachers launches together, or maybe you have a group of keen students who would like to help. Creating a community storytelling platform in a powerful way to share your own stories and to encourage others to begin sharing, too.
As we launch this new year, let's imagine how we can start building momentum for our service, sustainability and global citizenship initiatives using the power of stories and communication. Thanks for reading!
PS: Sign up for my email list by clicking on the first free resource I've created. It's the quick guide to writing your service/sustainability/global citizenship article for your community. You'll be prompted to enter your email address, which means I can email you a new free resource each week. I'm excited to build tools that you can use in your classroom and school! Here's another link: click on the button below. :)