A tip o’ the hat to Antioch Educating For Sustainability alum Matt Diller for this video and blog posting. The video captures a place-based living history written by a third grader from The College School in Webster Groves, Missouri. Read all about it below!
This video was inspired by a visit to Mastodon State Park seeing and touching Mastodon bones and learning about prehistoric, Paleo-indian Clovis culture. We followed up with experiential activities on our land, throwing with an atlatl that we bought online, flint napping facilitated by a parent, cooking meat on a spit over a fire, tearing of the meat and eating it with our hands, and plenty of “close your eyes and imagine” guided imagery informed by our study of the the past. We also led the children to do an archaeological dig with help from yet another parent on our school’s property at LaBarque Creek. After digging three feet down in sandy soil under a shelter cave, we actually found pottery shards and flint tool flakes from the Woodland period dating 1,000 to 3,000 years ago.
Some students wrote their living histories in “imagined Clovis”, and wrote their own dictionary of imagined Paleo language. The reader had to use the student created dictionary to translate the text. The boy in this video, age nine, read what he wrote as a script to the video. His appearance in the video was from a visit to our land on LaBarque Creek. Kids imagined exactly where it would be most strategic to chase a Mastodon off a real cliff that they have climbed on, or to corner it up against an actual bluff that they know. They have brushed up against ferns and mosses those places that are not abstractions but real and touchable.
This was an important element of place-based education. The students merged their academic and abstract understanding of ten thousand years ago with real topography and features of the land they walk on again and again today. I believe the connection of place and understanding is deeper than academic. It approaches a hidden understanding that we rarely speak of that is potentially spiritual, emotional and transformative. The effort required for this curriculum design was made more sustainable with a strong partnership with parents. The outcome was priceless as is so much project-based, place-based, play-based, experiential and Educating for Sustainability inspired curriculum design.
Today we offer two videos:
Toys “R” Us ran this ad in 2013. It opens with a group of children on a bus on their way to a school field trip. The leader starts talking about trees, but that is a ruse…
In response the Trees R Us video was filmed at the Juniper Hill School in Alna, Maine. Anne Stires, featured in the video, is Lead Teacher for the Seeds classroom (pre-K and K) and founding School Director at Juniper Hill. Anne earned her MEd from Antioch University New England and when not exploring the woods of Alna, ME is adjunct faculty in the Nature-based Early Childhood certificate and Integrated Learning /Teacher Certification MEd programs.
Our future depends on our children making connections with each other and the world around them. There is a landscape of possible futures, which will we choose?
Bob Gliner’s film, Schools That Change Communities, is about schools as they should be. In this pedagogical age of “time on task,” “direct instruction” and a short-sighted emphasis on “Drill, Baby, Drill,” Bob shows that school improvement can be healthy, engaging and lead to significant community involvement and improvement.Most often when I watch educational videos, I get choked up with anger about the wrong-headedness of the No Child Left Behind educational philosophy. Watching this film, I got choked up because Bob shows schools that manage a combination of academic rigor, community purpose and heart that is right on the money.
Check out the Schools That Change Communities trailer below.
From our friends at the U.S Green Building Council!
We all have a passion for education. Where we learn matters. The Center for Green Schools at the U.S Green Building Council is inviting communities from around the world to take action on school campuses for the Third Annual Green Apple Day of Service in fall 2014. On the Day of Service, students, teachers, and community members are encouraged to plan a school-wide sustainability project utilizing local volunteers to create a positive environmental change.
In the first two years, over 3,000 Green Apple Day of Service events took place in more than 41 countries.Projects included planting school gardens, collaborating on clean-ups, or hosting e-waste recycling drives. Schools also create custom projects that cater to their community’s specific needs. Learn about more project ideas that will happen in schools around the world.
Green Apple Day of Service creates awareness around the importance of green schools and propels a movement emphasizing sustainable lifestyles for youth and generations to come. Schools are invited to register green projects, and read more about this transformative campaign at mygreenapple.org”
By RILEY HOPEMAN and DAVID SOBEL
Boot clad and bundled, seventeen kindergartners shuffle out of the heavy school doors. As they emerge, each breath suddenly becomes visible mixing with the cold, penetrating air. Standing poised at the door, one student, the “door holder,” waits until his or her last classmate has emerged. The students move confidently behind their teacher, Eliza Minnucci, who strides purposefully towards the nearby trail system, a mere 20 yards from the school doors. Today is Friday, Forest Friday. – See the whole article at the Community Works Journal website.
4th Annual Green Schools National Conference
March 26-29, 2014
Green Schools National Network
Join Antioch University New England’s David Sobel and many others for one of the largest national gatherings of ‘green school’ administrators, advocates, designers, operations managers, teachers, students and parents.
David Sobel will be presenting in the workshops:
- Curriculum that Advances a Sustainable Future
- From Here to There…Place-Based Education in Rural, Suburban, and Urban Communities
- Bringing Sustainabilty Education Home
Visit the conference website for a complete listing of
workshops and registration.
Michael Hershiser, Grades 5 and 6
Prairie Crossing Charter School, Prairie Crossing School District, Illinois
Antioch University New England alum, Michael Hirshiser’s students examine the food system and its impacts on the environment, learn about water resources and conservation, study sustainability and their own environmental impact, and explore local habitats and ecosystems through outdoor field studies. Students engage in research and problem-solving around real-world environmental issues, such as stormwater runoff and combined sewer overflow. When they discovered the effect of runoff on their community, Michael helped the students formulate a plan to raise money to purchase rain gutters and barrels while at the same time helping others to limit their runoff. They raised just over $3000 through the sale of painted rainbarrels, and the school board matched the funds. Students in Michael’s food system unit participate in sustainable food production on campus and eat local, healthy options. He created backpack lessons to help other teachers use the outdoors as a classroom as well. Through his work, he aims to help students realize the interconnectedness of life and how their own choices impact the greater world.
Check out Michael and other USGBC Trailblazer Teachers here:
Here’s more ore evidence that Nature-based Education is catching on as an organizing theme for pre-schools and early elementary classrooms! Kaitlin Mulhere recently wrote about Nature-based Programs in the Keene Sentinel newspaper:
Four-year-old Myles Alderfer waddles in his snow pants from the goats’ pen toward the trickling creek. In his small hands he holds a yellow bucket, as tall as his knees and half-filled with water. A little bit sloshes out of the bucket with each step he takes…
Read the whole article by Kaitlin Mulhere about Nature -based Education in the Monadnock Region of New Hampshire here:
Nature-based Education Programs Gaining Popularity in Area
Wondering how to educate for sustainability in an urban school? How to garden in an asphalt playground? Or how to foster a commitment to sustainability in your school whether urban, suburban, or rural? You need to check out the video and links below.
Education Outside educates for sustainability in San Francisco schools. They do more than make school gardens, they connect students, teachers, parents, and administrators to nature and to the principles of sustainability that govern our world.
Get inspired! Check out their new video below and visit them at Education Outside.
One day last summer Patty Collins, fifth-and-sixth-grade teacher at Reading (Vermont) Elementary School and an alumna of Antioch’s Educating for Sustainability MEd program, was walking her golden retriever past her school, when the dog waded into a sprawling patch of poison ivy. She realized that she had complained about the poison ivy for eleven years, ever since she had come to Reading. “No one has been able to solve that problem, because it borders an ecologically sensitive area, and chemicals were out of the question.”
The next day she asked her class a question: How can poison ivy be safely eradicated? Their reply: Blank looks.
Each day, she simply asked the same question. “After two weeks of no answers, they finally began to get embarrassed,” she said. Possible solutions trickled in. Collins asked them to analyze each solution for practicality and cost—their budget was $12 from the student activities fund. They considered black plastic, boiling water, vinegar and salt, none of which fit the criteria. Finally one student asked “Do goats eat poison ivy?”
Analysis showed that, if the goats were borrowed, it was affordable. “Within a week, we had three goats,” Collins said. The whole town went “goat crazy…”
Read about how the whole community got involved and the happy ending to Goats Come to School at this link!