Today, March 30, 2022, marks the date of the Worldwide Teach In for Climate/Justice sponsored by Bard College. That is significant because as a writing project, we have spent time and energy this year looking for ways to implement climate teaching in a writing centric way.
With my young students, my approach to climate/justice teaching is to raise their awareness and appreciation of our planet, the people who live on it, the animals they already love, and also include some study of people making a difference (Jane Goodall came up through Scholastic News–so we inquired a bit further about her and her work) and about actions they can take as 6 and 7 year olds.
I have writing project colleagues who adapted the idea of a 6-word memoir into an opportunity for students to write 6 words for the environment. It seemed a perfect fit for a week of minimum days (to allow for parent conferences) just before Spring Break (which begins after school ends on Friday).
So, after they finished some amazing Poetry Is writing (check yesterday’s post for more details), we started to brainstorm words about the earth, about people and animals who live on the earth, and about actions people might take to protect the earth. They helped me write a few 6 word attempts before I sent them back to the their notebooks to write as many 6-words for the environment as they could in 7 minutes.
Then, they had to select their favorite of the 6-word statements they had written to feature on a mini poster. Some struggled to figure out which of their 6-word pieces to use (“They’re all good!” You’ve gotta love the confidence of first graders!) while others knew just what they wanted to write and draw on their poster. And even with phonetic spelling and some questionable counting of 6 words, they had important messages to share. Here’s a small sampling:
Building time to learn about and think about positive actions to protect our precious planet is essential to our longevity as a species. My students know they can make a difference and they are ready to do their part (and urge others to help out too).
Let’s not give in to doomsday thinking and instead cultivate a love for this incredible planet and everything and everyone who resides here. Together we can make a difference.