SASF

Student Action for a Sustainable Future

6

Scion January 23 2015

Hello and thank you Shannon, Scott, Tammy, Jeremy, Delvin, Peter and everyone. Welcome on Treaty 6 territory.


To work on a project that brought together all these partners that are concerned about our future was really motivating and inspiring to me.

Last year, I was invited to participate in a discussion co-chaired by the STF and the Ministry of Education on my teaching experience. I have to say that the SASF project was  one of the fun projects I had the chance to work on as a teacher; especially the multidisciplinary and collaborative aspect of it. 

SASF was the First time I was putting together a curricular inquiry project, mixed with an action-research project.

It was a Grade 6 project on Renewable Energy and Electricity.

This project allowed for lots of fun and learning and I am doing a version of it again this year. I liked the project so much last year that this year, I have doubled the number of classes that are taking part in it, with 3 French-streamed classes and 1 English-streamed class.

My web page : sebrock.ca/sasf.php. 

For the purpose of my project and my presentation, I have used the 5 point s of inquiry as  described by the BC Teacher-Librarian Association, whom in turn used it from New York City’s Director of School Libraries, Barbara Stripling. 


1.Wonder and Connect

2.Investigate

3.Construct

4.Express

5.Reflect

 

Wonder and Connect

It`s all about fostering curiosity in students. For some students, learning about their own power to affect the world and their environment through their own questioning is already a significant accomplishment. Never mind everything else that they have learned on Sustainability, Renewable energies, climate change, electricity, auditing and the like.

At the core of students projects, there was a question, what we called their Big question, or grande question. Some of their questions were about their campaigns, others about electricity in general or about climate change or forms or energy. Students used Wonder Journals to keep track of their journey, their wondering and their connections. Again, this was the first time I was using a Wonder journal in my teaching.

Working on the 6 thinking hats help students to look at one topic in multiple ways. Is anyone not familiar with the thinking hats from Edward De Bono? 


 Investigate

This is where I started with the front loading of information regarding Sustainability and Climate change. We watched clips from Al Gore`s An Inconvenient Truth, David Suzuki a Force of Nature and a selection of French and English videos and animations on YouTube. Some of them are listed on my SASF web page.

It’s also here that we invited Angie to help us kickstart our lights`audit and we entered in conversation with Kevin Hudson at SPL – together with a visit of the facility.

The overall theme of our inquiry was energy , and we wanted the Smart meters to play an important role at this stage of the process.

To add to the frontloading, we looked at the 4th IPCC report and our Grade 6 science textbook.

In order to prepare our campaigns, we solicited the support from other students in other classes, teachers, staff and parents.

 

The third stage, the constructing stage, is where things really get dynamic.

Students go t involved in a lot of varied ways, each reflecting their skills and interest. The organizers engaged in letters, notes and presentations. The kinetics helped out with the auditing, 9 times a day, for 7 days of auditing over two weeks, as well as other campaigns that took place over two weeks. Other campaigns involved were National Sweater Day, turning off the computer monitors and engaging teachers in reducing their own energy consumption at school. The inquisitive got their hands dirty with experiments and models and the social butterflies got talking to everyone possible. Students started to visualize and put their triboards at this stage.

This point of inquiry got to be really exciting, and frustrating at times. Shortness of supplies, resistance to change from some grown ups. All in all though, I saw some really positive changes happening in and around the class, in my students and our community, like more autonomy, more flexibility, more engagement and curiosity. Quite a few smiles as well.

 

After constructing came the expressing stage

Time to shine,  time to put the final touch on the triboards, to film the experiments, to share results between the teams and  to hold a school wide assembly.  Going to WDM was exciting and seeing everyone hard work on Sustainability was it`s own reward. One of our student was really eager to participate in an interview with the media about the project.

 

And finally, the last point of inquiry, the reflection.

Students wrote a paragraph on their journey. They shared their thoughts, their ideas, pictures and video footage. I integrated some of the students reflections in my own reflection, which turned out be a 15 minutes video documentary.

I was glad to work on a video documentary as my teacher reflection. It allowed me to integrate text, audio, video, presentations and animations, and to summarize our journey in a dynamic way. I introduced my 3 children and my dog in the documentary and that was also lots of fun. 

However, the process did not go without glitches. I ended up working on this movie on my old mac computer, losing all my editing work one week before the gathering date at the WDM. This was a low point in my SASF project. The video was made to share at the end of the project but it also served as an entry point to a contest organized by the Saskatchewan Environmental Society. We ended up winning one of the 10 $200 prizes with this documentary. With this money, our school intents on acquiring a rain barrel and develop the flower bed in front of the school, with local plants and flowers. The lost of the editing work suddenly didn't feel as bad.

I have used my teacher reflection to kickstart our Grade 6 project this year and students enjoyed seeing some of their school mates and classmates. Also, they enjoyed me sharing my view on the project in a more intimate way.


Minuses

Smart Meters (number of meters, no SPL students - all Saskpower)

Negotiating the timetable for the auditing

Rough copy of triboards before

Fire drill on sweater day


Pluses

Budget allocated = bus + solar panel kit

A printed statement of our energy bill from before and after our campaign that showed significant reduction of energy

SPL and WDM were great venues

The gathering was exciting and brought a nice cross-section of our city. It felt new and promising.

Energy kit om Public School Board

Today's opportunity