Monday, September 21, 2009

Story of Stuff

I will use this picture in the my environment class when we do a unit on the power of consumerism. My instructions to the students might go something like this:

  • Look at the picture and what immediately comes to mind.
  • Look at the items, are they similar?
  • What the deal with the shopping cart and the trash can?
  • Can you think of items you bought that are now in the trash?
  • Is this type of behavior sustainable?
  • What are the impacts? - Depleting resources, more waste, consumer society, etc
  • Are you are part of the problem or solution?
  • What can you do to move towards the side of 'solution'?
I would follow up by showing the whole movie (taster below). I also have a follow up activity that tracks how much they consume/use in a day and how far it travels.

How has the course changed my teaching plans?

I've certainly been open to a a whole new world, but it's been difficult to embrace it all and find the time and place to use each new part. However, my classes now use a few new devices that I didn't use in the past, such as:

  1. Wiki: In Environmental Stewardship class we developed a wiki page and focused on making a difference. In one section, each student made a list of 25 changes they made to help the earth. As well, the class worked in groups to make a site for Caring Tourists in Thailand.
  2. Panthernet: I have just recently dabbled in this one. I find it a little confusing and messy, but I like what can be done with it. We have used it for PE a little in the past. However, now several PE units will have quizzes and other assignments posted there. Not to mention, I have totally revamped the Environmental Stewardship Course and soon it will all be on Panthernet.
  3. Google Docs for the PE dept: This tool is very valuable and I see much more potential with it then what I have used thus far. However, our PE dept used it to help improve our PE curriculum. Through using it we listed what we liked, didn't like, what we wanted to see in the future of our program, etc. As more of the dept added to the list we were able to record what was needed. From there we also used Google Docs to collaboratively work on the Scope and Sequence.
  4. Google Docs for PE fitness testing: One very valuable help this year has been the introduction of google docs in recording fitness results and analyzing results sooner. In the past fitness testing often ended for the students after the physical part of the test, but continued for the teacher as we crunched numbers to come up with a grade. A lot of work, not to mention paperwork, for very little feedback to the students. As well, this feedback was not given in a timely manner. With Google Docs we have the students record their scores and immediately analyze where they are and reflect on what needs to be done. This not only eliminates loads of paperwork but also saves valuable work time and most importantly is meaningful to the students. In the end we also end up with usable data that can be used to improve the program.
  5. Blogs: When we get to the multi-cultural unit, students will not only research and teach a folk activity from their culture, but they will post it on their blog for the world to see. We are also looking to do this in collaboration with another school in a different part of the world.