Available from Red Leaf Press (www.RedleafPress.org)
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.
As the only national conference bringing together experts and stakeholders to influence sustainability throughout K-12 schools and school districts, the annual Green Schools National Conference has grown in terms of attendance and scope. Colleagues who share their passion and offer their own green schools experiences collaborate with thought leaders and early adopters of green school best practices. Attendees are passionate about transforming schools. The annual conference is designed to share creative strategies for success so attendees can take home real-life tools that can transform schools.
“This year’s Green Schools National Conference focuses on how any K-12 educational institution—private, public, charter, or public charter—can adopt very simple, affordable practices to green their school,” says Jennifer Seydel, executive director of Green Schools National Network. “As the Virginia Beach district has demonstrated, it doesn’t take a multi-million dollar budget or years of planning. It only takes a commitment and can begin with easy-to-implement programs and policies that can make a big difference.”
Antioch’s David Sobel will lead two breakout sessions. During his first session “Nature-based Early Childhood in North America” on March 5 at 10:00 am, participants will explore the academification of kindergarten in the United States and the growing movement to “naturalize” early childhood with a focus on helping children develop initiative and grit. The session will include an outdoors activity, as well as a discussion about the value of letting children get their hands dirty and their feet wet.
Sobel will also participate as a co-presenter in “Updating the National Action Plan or Educating for Sustainability” on Thursday at 2:00 pm along with Jaimie Cloud, president, The Cloud Institute for Sustainability Education; Lisa Kensler, associate professor, Auburn University; and Jenny Wiedower, K-12 manager, The Center for Green Schools at USGBC. During this session, attendees will work along Work alongside the leading minds and the strongest champions of sustainability education to make updates and modifications to the National Action Plan for Educating for Sustainability, and understand your unique role and contribution to advancing the shared vision of graduating all students educated for sustainability by 2040.
More than 1,200 attendees are expected including people from all walks of “green” including teachers, students, school administrators from all levels, business community leaders, architects, environmental services, consultants, corporate partners, curriculum specialists, custodial supervisors, governmental agencies, environmental educators, finance specialists, school food service personnel, green building professionals, green team members, school habitat specialists, transportation managers, parents, health and safety coordinators, sustainability managers, and many others.
The Green Schools National Network has created a “culture of collaboration,” as a result of year-round networking and partnerships, and through an annual national conference. We bring together like-minded people committed to the creation and support of healthy, green and sustainable schools.
For more information on the upcoming conference and the complete schedule, visit greenschoolsnationalnetwork.org/conference/
About the Green Schools National Network: The Green Schools National Network (GSNN) advances the national green and healthy schools movement by connecting like-minded and passionate education, non-profit, corporate and public sector individuals and organizations. GSNN is nationally recognized as the premier partner in advancing collaboration to integrate a green and healthy culture in schools and ensure that current and future generation of students are environmentally literate as well as practice and promote sustainability in their community.
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?
What factors lead to a healthy, sustainable culture where students, teachers, parents, staff, and administration can flourish and learn?
In this video Antioch University New England alumnus Alex Shevrin talks about how “when we open ourselves up to true, intentional relationships with our students, we make space for them to grow. Through intentional choices, we can empower ourselves and our students to achieve more than any of us thought was possible.”
Shevrin presented “”Unconditional Positive Regard” at MTA ED Talks: Big Ideas About Education on August 4, 2014, in Williamstown, Mass. She is a teacher/leader at a small, independent, therapeutic, alternative high school in Vermont. Shevrin blogs at shevtech.wordpress.com. You can find her on Twitter, @shevtech.
Rethinking Schools and the Zinn Education Project are partnering with an exciting project: This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. the Climate. You can get involved by participating in the K-12 teachers This Changes Everything Writing Retreat. Here’s a sample from their website announcement:
Imagining solutions to the climate crisis involves imagining solutions to a host of other social problems, from economic inequality to public health to job creation to indigenous rights—even to the quality of the food we eat. As the This Changes Everything team writes: “Climate change is more than an issue, it’s a message, one that is telling us that many of our culture’s most cherished ideas about our place in the world—from the quest for endless economic growth to the assumption of Western supremacy to the limitless capacity of humans to dominate nature—are no longer viable.” Rethinking Schools editorializes: “Confronting the climate emergency … demands that young people exercise their utopian imaginations to consider alternatives of all kinds.”