In all of my recent travels (virtually) across the United States and around the world, I’ve been grateful (and encouraged) by today’s generation of students, especially their passion for change and their drive to be diverse, inclusive, and accessible in paving a better path to the future. Whether it’s the condition of our planet or the journey toward equality for all, this generation’s commitment to healing a fragile planet while making our world a more just and peaceful place cannot be underestimated. I know that most of them have acquired most of the skills they need to promote awareness, action, and real change from a global host of educators. I am grateful to you and to all educators and mentors who are preparing today’s changemakers to tackle the seemingly insurmountable challenges facing our planet, both locally and globally. In this issue of the Global Educator newsletter you’ll find some ideas, activities, and lesson plans to help you highlight Earth Day 2021 in your own classroom. I hope these will be welcome additions to the efforts you’ve already planned but, whatever the case, I thank you for all of the work you’ve done to cultivate today’s global achievers – and leaders!

Tara M. Hofmann
President & CEO

Take Action for Earth Day!

Meet our featured educators, Danielle Chaussee and Kelly Holtzman2020 Energy Educators of the Year!

They co-teach a course called Global Sustainability (Sostenibilidad Global) and where their students are combining Spanish language learning and Environmental Science to contribute to a local podcast in Spanish about ways to protect the planet. These students also work with elementary students on clean water awareness and taking action locally. Read their story HERE.

Target 17.17 – Encourage and promote effective partnerships

Youth across the world joined six different #YouthPowerHacks to affect change using technology. Consider spending April 22, Earth Day, simulating your own hack-a-thon or as a brainstorm session to learn what ideas your students have that just might change the world and your community. Check out #YouthPowerHacks that have already taken place for short, inspiring videos and to see the results from other youth around the world.

Target 13.3 – Improve education and awareness on climate change 

No matter your content area, information about sustainability and climate action can easily be incorporated. Below are just a few ideas to get you started!

Science: Consider a Debate about Renewable Energy or Coral Reef Regeneration
Social Studies: Consider a discussion about the Paris Agreement or Climate Change and the Coffee Industry
English Language Arts: Start with a children’s book or a non-fiction article about recycling and prompt students to take action through writing
Math: Use these reports and data or these statistics about trash and waste to make predictions or compare with other sources
World Language: Any language can discuss and take action on ideas for recycling plastics or electronics at every proficiency level
Art: Consider upcycling in your next art project to include a Chihuly-inspired chandelier or CD mosaics. This Pinterest page should help!

Target 11.7 – Provide universal access to green spaces

Imagine if every student had access to green spaces during and beyond their school day. Adding trees, plants and outdoor classroom spaces in underutilized campus space and school rooftops can be a great way for students to learn about the environment, improve their mental health, and slow negative environmental changes. When children live and grow up with green space, they’ll become adults that believe in preserving it.

Target 12.5 – Substantially reduce waste generation through prevention, reduction, recycling and reuse

Spend some time with a hands-on project during Earth Day making a Tee-Tote bag from recycled fabric to help students understand sustainability and provoking ideas for the reuse of things they may have thrown away. Also, consider this VIDEO about a French innovator who has created the FabBrick, a brick composed of discarded clothing, that can be used for furniture, partition walls and decorations.

Target 6.3 – Improve water quality by reducing pollution and substantially increasing recycling and safe reuse globally

Problems, solutions, resources and lesson plans are just a sliver of what The Water Project has to offer to educators to ensure their students understand what contributes to the water crisis and gets them thinking about how they can help. These activities span elementary through high school and can be embedded into a variety of content areas from social studies to language to science and more.

Learning Opportunities for Teachers & Students

How does MEDIA impact learning?

May is AFS Media Literacy Month! AFS’s Media Literacy Campaign has created a short webinar series featuring a panel of speakers from diverse professions for you and your students to learn about responsible consumption of different forms of media. Join us to learn how to develop media literacy skills starting with accessing media and ending with creating it. Sign up for the AFS Media Literacy Webinars on May 5, 12 and 19 at 6:00pm Eastern time. Follow the campaign on Facebook and Instagram. Find additional media literacy resources with our Media Literacy Virtual Classroom.

AFS Global YOU Adventurer

The AFS Global YOU Adventurer is an online cultural exploration designed for teens, aged 14-17, to develop their self-awareness and their global competence while making new friends as part of a cohort of other teens from around the globe. For 5 weeks, they’ll experience new cultures and become a Global Citizen without leaving the house! Share this link with students and parents to read  more about an awesome cultural experience. Comparte este enlace con los padres y estudiantes en las clases de español o quienes hablan español si quieren aprender a través del español, encontrar nuevos amigos de otros países y explorar varias culturas todo al mismo tiempo. 

As educators, we always hope that we have an impact on students and that our passion, our lessons and the relationships that we have built with them will stay with them after graduation. Earth Day 2021 is a reminder to do something relevant, hands-on, and meaningful with students so they’ll have a memory of what they did to positively impact their community and their world in YOUR class – regardless of the content area. Use the lessons, ideas and resources provided above for inspiration or ask your students to give you ideas. We encourage you to choose People, Planet and Prosperity from the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals to guide you as you look toward finishing up the 2020-2021 school year.

Jill Woerner
Director of Educational Outreach

E: [email protected]
P: (646) 381-3309