Thursday, April 21, 2011

Journal 9: Teaching Green

Waters, John K. (2011) Teaching Green, T|H|E Journal. retrieved from

Waters' article on the issue of promoting and expanding environmental awareness in k-12 public classrooms is a welcome read for someone like myself who, though focused on being an English teacher, nevertheless is also someone who is concerned about the present problems of climate change, deforestation, oil polluting, and other ecological problems plaguing us. Waters' article delves into all manner of online resources out there that are available to aid teachers in educating their students about the environment, no matter what subject the teacher specializes in. One such website, geared toward high-schoolers, contains general information about what problems and issues are plaguing which parts of the world, sample lesson plans for teachers themselves, news articles, and the like. Another, aimed at elementary school children, includes a digital tour of wildernesses for boys and girls who live in urban areas and don't see much of nature. And yet another site still includes a quiz that makes students ask themselves just how large their carbon footprint is. In an era in which science illiteracy is reaching a fever pitch, "teaching green" is just one of myriad ways in which we Americans must repair our deplorable education system.

Question 1: How, specifically, can someone like me incorporate knowledge about the climate problem to my students as an English teacher?

As I've said elsewhere, namely in my "Prezi" project, I can have my students research the topic and take sides for or against the evidence pointing toward enivronmental problems as well as research possible solutions for reducing one's carbon footprint or getting off fossil fuels. English/language arts classes should all be about getting adolescents to learn how to think critically anyway, particularly via the written word, and getting them to brush up on a world issue, especially one that effects them personally and directly (whether they appreciate it or not) is a fabulous vehicle for that.

Question 2: What is one online resource that could be described as a "fun" way of getting boys and girls to care more about the environment?

Waters describes a multiplayer sort of "video game" that simulates ecological disasters such as floods, storms, overheating, etc. The game is called PowerUp and the object is for players to build alliances so that they can quite literally save the planet. Even if the nature of the game in itself doesn't entice kids to use it, I can always offer it as an extra credit assignment.

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