I wrote earlier this week about reading the book, I’m Trying to Love Garbage by Bethany Barton. In response to the book we discussed ways to reduce human trash. I followed that book by reading the gorgeous To Change a Planet by Christina Soontornvat. This beautiful book talks about how collectively we have created problems for our planet….and how collectively, we can also make change. Both words and illustrations are beautiful!
I find that students want to do things to help our planet. They are already aware of the importance of keeping the earth clean, about the value of caring for plants and animals, and are knowledgeable about composting food waste. And we’ve also been exploring the power of words and images to inform others about things that need doing.
So after reading and talking about To Change a Planet, I introduced them to the idea of writing 6 words for the environment. This is a version of the 6-word memoir that many of you may be familiar with. In 6 words for the environment, students come up with 6 words about our planet–to express its beauty, to help others understand how to help, to explain a crisis. We started by brainstorming words related to earth–and they had plenty to contribute.
I showed them how I would compose 6 words for the environment–including showing my first attempt that only had 5 words! I rearranged and revised in front of them so they would know that they should play around with the words. And then they opened their notebooks and started writing their own 6 words for the environment.
We then took those words and used black oil pastel and watercolor to create posters with their messages. Honestly, next time I will use a different medium. The oil pastel did not allow the words to be easily read, but the images themselves are quite striking. Here’s a few examples:
Integrating environmental literacy into the curriculum is essential. My students (and yours) are our hope for the future. They will be the stewards of our precious planet. I think it’s in good hands.