Creating Catalysts for Change – 2017 focus

Our focus for 2017 is Creating Catalysts for Change.

The development of Enviroschools was driven by a burning question:
What if school could be a place that empowers young people to design, plan, take action and lead the change – in their classrooms, in their schools, in their neighbourhoods, in their country?”

The issues facing humanity can feel overwhelming; they are complex, interconnected, and global in scale. We often find ourselves saying, ‘every one makes a difference”, but we can just as validly ask “are we really?” How do we really know we are making a difference?  You might put out your recycling, compost your food waste, grow your own food, take public transport or ride your bike, but you still wonder if, in the scheme of things, things are getting better. The world’s population will reach 7.5 billion in 2017 and is estimated to reach 11.2 billion in 2100. With only one Earth, the pressures on our planet are ballooning. It’s time to look how we as individuals, schools and communities can really “be the change we want to see in the world”, and how we can influence and inspire others.

Hutia te rito o te harakeke
Kei hea te komako e ko?
Maku e ki ake
He tangata, he tangata, he tangata

Pluck the heart from the flax bush – where will the bellbird sit?
Ask me, what is the most important thing in the world?

I will reply, 
it is people, it is people, it is people.

The purpose of this focus is to provide inspiration and tools to support teachers to go deeper with existing issues and inquiry and allow classes and students to really explore how their actions can make a difference. Action is a core part of the Enviroschools kaupapa – What actions will bring about the changes that we want? How can these actions go deeper? How can our actions influence others?

The resources materials are available here:
Key Concepts and Questions

Pedagogy and Curriculum links

Teacher’s Learning Guide

Quotes to inspire and provoke

Other related resources

Workshops and events

Case studies and examples for catalysts for change

Download the Resource PDF

 

Hillcrest Normal School students Win Mean Green House Competition

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This gallery contains 8 photos.

Congratulations to Isla Wilkinson, Arlo Oliver and Alena Zhu from Room 7 at Hillcrest Normal School who have won the Year 5 and 6 category in the Mean Green House competition – a national competition run by Genesis Energy. The … Continue reading

Waste not, Want not . . . revisiting Zero Waste

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The theme area of Zero Waste is one that many schools embrace in response to an easily identified situation in the school grounds. This often starts with a discussion (staffroom and classroom) about what the issue is and then is … Continue reading

Love white bait?

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Whitebait season is upon us.  And around the country people are relishing the thought of delicious whitebait patties, while others are dreading the thought, knowing full well that these tiny critters are under threat of extinction. It’s a sad fact and … Continue reading

Upskilling teachers in science education

Are you interested in science education? Do you want to engage students in exciting real world science that takes place in your school and your community? Do you want to build your confidence in both of these things?
This 20 minute interview with  Barbara Hay principal of Koraunui School in Stokes Valley, Lower Hutt and teacher Diana Manks discusses their approach  This Enviroschool is committed to engaging its pupils in science in a practical way. Diana Manks, spent the last two terms at Victoria University involved in a programme to upskill teachers to enthuse students and the community in science education. The Science Teaching Leadership Programme, managed by the Royal Society of New Zealand, aims at improving science learning.
 
 
For more about the Royal Society Teaching Leadership programme:

Connecting through Cluster Meetings

By Enviroschools Facilitator, Beccy Dove
A cluster meeting was held recently connecting Northern Waikato and South Auckland Schools at  Pukekohe Hill School.  Fourteen teachers and two Enviroschools facilitators attended and the feedback was to hold these once a term and rotate around the group so they all get to see different schools.
In the past I have experienced clusters as after school for an hour and a half.  Usually this seems quite rushed with not enough time to cover much ground or for teachers to really have time to connect and network. Often people are tired from a full days teaching and it can be hard to raise the energy level.
This meeting went from 1.30 to 4.00 pm which gave teachers a relaxed amount of time to share successes and challenges; help each other solve issues; hear, see and be inspired by the host school and have time to chat over some yummy healthy kai.
The feedback was unanimous to keep this up every term and to keep this same time frame.  It was also suggested that some meetings might involve hands on learning eg: making herbal skin products, learning about Rongoa, compost making etc… sometimes inviting an outside expert to share their knowledge with teachers.
One of the teachers sent me an email to say “what an awesome cluster meeting last week, it was great to meet all the enviro teachers in the area, I came away feeling really inspired and energised!”
Most teachers got around the ‘time’ issue by asking another teacher in their school to take their students for the afternoon.
One of the activities involved sharing challenges and other teachers offering solutions to these challenges by schools that had ‘been there and solved that’.  From this exercise came the following great list:
Challenges faced …. and solutions suggested
 
“How can we create a workable compost bin?”
 
Ideas suggested….
  • Start with kids inquiry using ‘Action Learning Cycle’ from the enviroschools kit – identify current situation
  • Invite a skilled ‘expert’ to help
  • Ask community gardeners
  • Enviroschool facilitator
  • Zero Waste facilitator
  • Botanical Garden Visit/Workshop
  • A class/enviro team responsible for the upkeep and maintenence
  • Feed me, Leave me, Use me signs for the bins
  • 3 bins are good, 4 even better
  • Get caretaker on board
“How do you get and maintain staff buy in?”
  • Put ‘Enviroschools’ into the stategic planning
  • Hold an Enviroschools workshop/staff meeting
  • Put into job description
  • Put it as though staff think it is their own idea
  • Add to inquiry planner
  • School displays – share the load
  • Assembly items from enviroteam
  • Newsletter/Website
  • Ask other teachers to come to a cluster meeting
  • Each teacher having one area to focus on/look after with their class
  • Reflection time with staff leads to more understanding and involvement
  • Ask staff what they are interested in
  • Pick your battles!
“How can we get whole school buy in?”
  • class vs class competition with suitable rewards
  • whole school divided into enviro groups and each fortnight work on projects
  • once a term hold an enviro day – focusing on different things each time
  • newsletter – tip of the week
  • Assembly – greenie given out for litterfree lunch, picking up rubbish etc
  • links to videos on website
  • Enviro group performing/modelling skits to promote the idea that everyone is involved
  • dedicated display area for children’s enviro work
  • buddy class/whanau group time on ‘Me In My Environment’ theme area activities (Theme area CD found in Enviroschools Kit)
“How can we get more community involvement in projects?”
  • Create a video newsletter and add it to the enrollment page on your website
  • Ask for it on community facebook sites/newsletters
  • Inviting people in – open day
  • Whanau involvement – making it a welcoming place for the whole family
  • Create an open door feeling
  • Any help given from a community member is a gift – make sure they leave feeling valued. Make time for a cuppa and debrief at end of the day, always ask a child to personally thank them for coming

Action Learning Cycle in action at Netherton Primary

At our recent teacher workshop at Netherton Primary, Principal Tracey Adams gave a presentation on how they use the Action Learning Cycle, in the class room with students to plan and carry out student-led projects, and how they are now using it for their staff meetings, discussions and appraisals. She describes it as the ‘best review cycle’ she has seen, and likes the way is so clear and simple, following a simple and effective inquiry model that requires action

View Tracey’s presentation here.

The Action Learning Cycle (ALC) is the main Enviroschools tool used to help plan and carry out student-led projects. It’s an inquiry model that enables young people to be empowered to investigate, explore ideas, make decisions, take action and reflect on the changes they have created.

The ALC cycle begins by ‘Identifying the Current Situation’…. immersing students in the subject and possibilities – this gives a rich background from which they can then ‘Explore Alternatives’, then plan, design and ‘Take Action’. The ‘Reflection’ that follows raises new ideas and consolidates learning.

The Enviroschools theme areas, Me in My Environment, Zero Waste, Healthy Water, Living Landscapes and Ecological Buildings are designed with ‘Identifying the Current Situation‘ in mind.  Activities are offered that help students build up a picture of the current situation before moving into the next stages of the Action Learning Cycle.