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Teaching Kindergarten in the 21st Century and Beyond
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Tag Archives: The Global Goals For Sustainability
Posted on June 2, 2018
Sharing Our Story:@vermontkkids123
Recently I had the opportunity as a former Ignite award winner to work with an amazing storyteller, Sue Schmidt. I, along with 3 other talented educators was able to share our stories at a recent Vita-Learn conference. For me, this was really hard at first! As I practiced my story, wrote it down and then shared with a live audience I was struck by the ease at which my words and passion came through. I learned that when we share a personal story, it has such deep meaning because it represents a journey, a beginning and a place where we end up but still evolving.
The other thought I have about this process is how reflective it was. My reflection was both backward and forward about my experience. I thought a lot about my inward reflections as well about my journey and what I thought others might be thinking about what I was sharing, my story. As reflective and challenging as this process was, I felt very inspired and confident in my story and hope that it inspired others too.
Telling our story….
Back in Kindergarten, I started to think about when and how my Kindergarten students have opportunities to share their stories and when. One of the opportunities in our class is to create an iMovie about the Global Goals for Sustainability. One of my colleagues and awesome ELL teacher, Patti Tursi offers her expertise in being a director for our movie. She shares how we are going to talk about why we want people to know about the goals and why. As we begin this work collaboratively we meet and come up with a plan of action. The plan provides us a way to organize our thoughts and ideas but is also flexible if we need to change things. We use Google Docs because we can both add and change things anytime, anywhere. If we have questions we can post and support each other in our thinking. So we begin…
- What are the goals?
- Individual photos with words
- Voice over photos
- How are we learning about the goals?
- Service-learning connection/experiences
- Think: goal(s)
- Create photo/illustration
- individual/small group
- Background of the world with our identity(color, collaborative)
- Exploration of the filming” studio”/stage we created with the children
- Explore microphones
- Rehearsal/Filming: Practice using student voice to tell their story and connection with the goal they choose
- Filming Cutaways:
- A small group of students works with Patti to edit and make decisions about what we want to keep and/or retakes
The children learned so much from Ms. Tursi. She has special expertise in creating movies and as our director, we all learned how to create a movie and what was involved. Through this process, the children were collaborative and very respectful and supportive of each other. They learned how to use technology in an authentic way with a strong purpose to inspire others. Thinking reflectively about what they thought of themselves as storytellers about what they are passionate about, helping the world. As an educator this really is amazing and how wonderful that we can all learn alongside each other to create a story/message about why others need to engage in the goals.
Through the use of a microphone, iPad, iMovie, Google Docs, Ms. Tursi’s time, energy and expertise, and flexible space we were able to collaborate with each other to create something wonderful. The process is easy to think about: a plan, design, create/produce and publish.
So because of this experience, one of my students thought it would be a great idea to tell the school about the goals and ask for others to help us collect food one more time before school ends and then walk and deliver the food before school ends. So we did! Small groups of Kindergarten students are visiting interested classes to speak about their goals and why they are important. They share our work around Global Goal #2 Zero Hunger as a way to share how collecting food connects. Then something wonderful happens. Another Kindergarten teacher reads the story; “On Market Street to her students and shares that her students decided to do something kind for others and that they also wanted to collect food for the food shelf. Awesome! So now students from both classrooms are making a morning announcement at our school to explain what we are doing and why we need everyone’s help.
When we share and invite others to help we create a positive culture of learning and a culture that encourages kindness and builds empathy. I am proud to be an ambassador for the global goals and feel privileged to work and learn alongside so many inspiring educators, students, and their families globally.
Check out one of my kindergarten students’ writing she created during a playtime.. What if we all felt this way? How can we all make this happen?
Posted on November 29, 2017
As a kindergarten teacher, I have the privilege of working each day with young children who are eager to learn and connect with their learning environment. I look forward to being inspired by our busy days together.
In the beginning days of school, I began to build a learning culture with my students through a big idea. This year our big idea was sustainability. We began by asking what we could do to help sustain and keep the world healthy. As we began to explore this idea I introduced the Global Goals for Sustainability because these goals were at the center of our learning. We put a poster of the Global Goals in our classroom and it became an easy way to weave the goals into our daily learning explorations. I explained to my students that these goals are promises we can make to make a difference in the world. I shared that if we make a promise to help, we are pledging our help to save the world. My students immediately become excited about this idea and wanted to know what they could do to help. I began by asking a simple question, “What do you do if you are cold?” The children responded with: I get a jacket, snuggle with a blanket and put a coat on. I used their examples as an opportunity to connect the goals. I asked my students to imagine that the goals were a large blanket that wraps itself around the world. The blanket represents the goals. The goals are around so we can all help sustain the world for everyone to enjoy.
Why does this matter?
The world needs everybody’s help. Global Goals provide endless opportunities to build awareness and create a plan of action. The goals also translate to my local community as I began thinking of possible needs and opportunities we have and ways my students could engage in a positive manner to build awareness for change. Children want to be a part of solution-based problem solving, and this can begin in kindergarten. A good place to start is with teaching how our actions of kindness can help create people who care and have empathy for others.
There are seventeen Sustainable Development Goals, and I chose to begin with Goal #16 because it is about being kind, advocating for others who may need help and promoting fairness. A good place to learn more about the goals on the #TeachSDGs site, there is also a Twitter conversation around this hashtag.
This goal sets a positive tone for risk-taking, support, and encouragement. Young children need experiences and opportunities to feel what it is like to support others and be kind. Through establishing these ideas at the beginning of Kindergarten we all begin to understand that it is about what we can do together, not as individuals that offer invitations for everyone to participate.
Creating a Culture of Learning
We created a culture of learning, by noticing and sharing our actions of kindness towards each other. Through our actions of kindness, patience, and collaboration my students felt connected to Kindergarten and each other. As we built trust, took risks and learned from each other we created a culture where all students feel safe, valued and inspired. Once my students felt connected to a classroom, we painted a map of the world as a way to show that other people live outside of Vermont and this Kindergarten class. I also began connecting with other educators and people around the world using Padlet, Skype, Google Hangout, and Twitter. As we connected with people I took photos so my students were able to see where people are from globally, but also how we were having conversations with them.
Connections with Content:
As I began exploring how to teach about the SDGs, I looked towards the content I was teaching to determine where the goals and the content meshed. I first looked at the NGSS (Next Generation Science Standards), these standards are a wonderful way to begin to think about where you want to start and what goals you will explore. As we explored Goal #13 Climate Action and Goal #15 Life On Land, my students were able to connect that through our ability not to be wasteful, we can have a positive impact on land and climate. Since the goals are displayed on my wall, the students make connections about being responsible for waste every time we recycle, compost, and reuse. This helps my students make a connection with authentic action. I found a good place to start is by simply putting up a Global Goal in your classroom where your students can make a connection. Just by adding Goal #6 to our sink area my students are being more responsible for not wasting water. These visual reminders are helping to build their awareness.
Another idea is to ask your students to make a pledge or promise to the world. I have found this to be very impactful in my Kindergarten class, as students highlight the goal and what their action will be. I then ask my students to read their promises aloud, as if to the world, and they all feel proud. We created a board outside our classroom as a way to highlight our promises.
In my class, we are currently exploring forest life, and this offers opportunities to explore and expand on two Global Goals: #13 Climate Action and #15 Life On Land.
Through our weekly nature walks and explorations outside, my students are beginning to develop an awareness of the outdoors and why we need to take care of it. Through Padlet we were able to share what a tree/forest looks like in Vermont as well as what trees look like and need in other countries. To get started with this activity, we first shared our Padlet on Twitter, and I also asked families to share with family members and on their Facebook pages. I also shared on my Facebook pages with other teachers. We received responses from Hong Kong, Egypt, Portugal, Germany, Ireland, London, and Australia. My students were so excited to see that people from 5 continents added to our Padlet! I printed the photos off from each country and we made observations about the trees and forests, then we put the images on our map of the world. This allowed my students to see where the trees grew globally.
Through our forest exploration, my students were able to reflect on what things trees need to grow and survive no matter where they are in the world.
This is what they came up with:
- All trees need a seed.
- All trees need water.
- All trees need soil.
- All trees need sunlight.
- Trees need people to care
My favorite response was #5 because when we take care of things we are modeling and demonstrating how we care. This idea comes back to no matter what the content. These ideas turned into a belief statement for my Kindergarten students. We now connect all of our learning explorations to the global goals.
As an extension to this project, we made a connection with a Kindergarten class in Hong Kong because my sister is a teacher there and she put me in touch with other teachers who are interested in connecting globally with another class. Now we connect monthly using Padlet and/or Twitter to share what we are exploring. Twitter and Facebook teacher groups are also great places to post projects and ask if others are interested in joining my class to explore a specific learning idea.
The goals can be woven in and out of all content, standards, and learning. Regardless of the age you teach, the world needs everyone to care, now! What are some themes of study you are exploring? Ask your students how they can make a difference. What is important to them? Think about a global goal that would connect with their learning. Then take it a step further and think about a community need or school need you to have. How can you build an awareness alongside your students and their families?
Posted on May 30, 2017
Collaborative efforts bring awareness, engagement, and advocacy from even young children in helping develop an appreciation for the natural world. It starts through an exploration of what the goals are, why we have them and why it might be important for others to know about them. Then we create a plan of action.
This is our journey…
We created awareness and listed our goals, talking about why we thought they were important and what they meant to us. What was interesting is that while we explored them and hung a poster in our classroom, they became part of our classroom culture. By doing this it was easy for me to connect conversations that we were having with a specific goal. Through our authentic and genuine curiosity about the global goals, we have all become more aware of not only what they are but why they are important. “The why” is most important because it helped drive deeper thinking and the children then had an opportunity to be reflective.
We have been exploring all year ways that we make a difference for ourselves, our school, our family and community. We started with an essential question… Where does waste go? So we created an awareness of what we thought and then created a padlet that we could share globally to find out what others in the world are doing. This was easy to tie into the global goals because as we created our own awareness, we also were able to think about how our actions could impact the climate and life on land. Yup! There just happens to be two global goals, Climate Action #13 and Life on Land #15.
Another way we helped make a difference for others was to build awareness of hunger. We were curious if people were hungry, Did children have enough food? What happens if people need food? Who helps them? Again, this is another opportunity to refer to the global goals, goal #2 zero hunger. My students collect food twice a year. Then we walk to our local food shelf and make a delivery. This is always exciting for children. They have direct experience with what it means to help others and have empathy. This is easy to do. Think of a need that your community has, build awareness and then create a plan of action that includes your students, families, and communities. Together, everyone begins to connect and weave a thread of caring because it directly impacts a need.
Now the Global Goals are a part of my classroom culture. They remind us all of what the world needs. My students understand why they are important and are creative in their ideas to find ways to make the world a better place. Even in Kindergarten, these ideas have an impact. My students are really genuinely invested in making the world a better place. I think about the impact this could have if more and more young children were familiar with making goals. Just by building awareness, through the content I explore, we are finding ways to connect to the goals. It raises awareness of the world and really, my students love learning about the world! Kindergarten seems like the perfect place to begin thinking about how we can collaborate globally to make the world a better place. We all need each other. The world needs all of us to care and make wishes come true for everyone. Why not start collaborating with your students today!
My ELL teacher, Patti Tursi collaborated with me around the goals. As an ELL teacher, she has special expertise and perspective about students who are from places other than the US. She becomes a director of our 1st documentary on the Global Goals. She sets up a filming studio in my classroom with the children and then the children begin to explore the filming equipment and play so they experience what it can be used for. Later when we film, Patti teaches us about being quiet on the set and other languages used for creating a film. This experience is real life and offers my students an opportunity to learn a new language with a new expert.
Here is our 1st documentary!
I paint a map of the world each year with my students. We add places we visit and people we connect with. We share how we are having conversations with others and what we are learning about. Now that I am aware of the Global Goals I can add the goals to our map, as well as when we explore them. This is another way we can build awareness, inspire others and think deeply about what we are doing and how. The why of our ideas is through our own reflection and how we share our voices.
As our year comes to an end I ask my students to think about why we connect globally? Why is it important? Do you think others need to connect globally too?
Here are some of their reasons…
- When we connect we show we care.
- We learn from others.
- We solve problems and learn new things.
- We like global goals because the whole world cares about everyone.
- I love the world.
- We help the world. We love the world. We connect globally because we care.
- I love to learn about the world.
- It is fun.
I believe in people and have a passion for learning. I have hope that through our collaborative efforts we will be able to make a difference globally. This means we all can begin taking 1 step at a time, building an awareness of what we can do. I am inspired by my Kindergarten students. They give me hope that we can all learn from each other and work together to keep the world healthy.
Posted on May 14, 2017
I have the privilege of being a Kindergarten teacher. I work in a public school where I am completely supported by my own learning and the learning of my students. I mention this because as an educator when I am supported by my school, students and their families a very magical synergy begins in a seamless way. This synergy is what supports many different parts connecting and collaborating together to make a difference.
A couple of months ago I became aware of the Global Goals for Sustainability. This really inspired me and challenged my thinking about how I could bring these ideas to Kindergarten in Vermont. So I made a large copy of the goals and shared them with my students. I told them that in Kindergarten we all have goals. One of my goals for each of my students was to teach everyone to read. This was an example of an individual goal. When I asked my students about what do you think global goals might be, I was surprised and inspired by their ideas…
“It is when you share your idea with the world.”
“It’s like everyone wants to be kind.’
“I think it is working together.”
“Maybe it is sharing and helping people.”
Then I was able to build on their ideas. My explanation was simple.. I said; “The world needs our help. Together with if we share our ideas we can make a difference.” So we began exploring Life Below Water, then Life On Land and Peace & Justice. Through our work and exploration of these goals, all my students were able to learn new content and also begin thinking about how life on land and life underwater is important for everyone. We created murals, collages, shared our ideas on Twitter and even created a passport where we are collecting stamps of the global goals we explore.
I now have an opportunity to connect and collaborate with my talented ELL teacher, Patti Tursi, who has a unique perspective and insight. She offers her time and expertise to have small discussions with the students around the goals we have explored. Through these small discussions, we are now able to create smaller dyad groups where the children can turn and talk about what these goals are and why everyone in the world needs to know about them. Now we have another opportunity to create a movie about these goals and why they matter.
How do I know if these ideas are making a difference?
One of my students was on vacation with her family. She and her family looked at the global goals and decided that picking up trash in a park was part of goal #15 Life On Land. Children are naturally curious and want to be a part of solutions where they can make a difference. I share this with my students and they are all now even more interested in making connections with what we are exploring.
I am grateful for the flexibility and support I have as a public educator. Through my relationships with my students, families, and colleagues I have many opportunities to collaborate and connect. It is when we work alongside each other, that we are able to make a difference. It’s not about what we’ve done, but how are we inviting others to learn with us. Relationships develop, inspiration appears and all ideas are valued and challenged.
Just by having a poster up in my classroom of the global goals I am able to reference them throughout the day. Giving my students opportunities to make connections and talk about what they understand. This is an opportunity for me to model ways to care in a global way about the world. Through our ideas and experiences, we are able to share and hopefully, others will be inspired by our actions and create their own plan. I think about what the possibilities are to make the world a better place when we all work together. Endless….