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Climate Justice and Action through Art

Sila and the Land

Elementary, Middle

Description

Climate Justice and Action through Art allows students to explore their local environment in a creative manner to create an art piece that leads to a discussion of protecting the environment and through a second project to develop an appreciation of indigenous culture by learning about petroglyphs.

In the first activity, students are introduced to the concept of texture in class.  They then will explore a local area, ideally with a water source, to find and identify different textures.  In the next step, the students will create a piece of 3D art with natural and made materials found at the site.  The collective art pieces will be used as a gallery with the students each sharing their artwork with classmates. Once shared the students will remove any made materials from their pieces, dispose of them properly and participate in a discussion of how best to protect the environment from litter.

In the second activity, the students will learn about petroglyphs and Mi'kmaq culture.  They will paint a rock taken from the previous day's visit and create an expression of their learnings about textures and the environment. The rock can be placed once again at the visit site as it represents hope for the future and standing up for what is right. Various connections are made to the book "Sila and the Land" throughout the lesson.

General Assessment

What skills does this resource explicitly teach?

The resource is not structured in a manner to explicitly teach skills but rather to develop an awareness of the issue of made materials in the environment and allow the students the opportunity to express their ideas about the issue.

Strengths

  • Very good integration of different subject areas within the resource
  • Interesting and engaging activities
  • Resource is easy to use with an online component for students who may be learning from a distance
  • Handouts are provided

Weaknesses

  • More background information on made materials in the environment would be beneficial
  • Lack of assessment tools

Recommendation of how and where to use it

Climate Justice and Action through Art would be an excellent resource for a collaborative project for a variety of subject teachers such as social studies, art and literacy. The resource could be used around Earth Day to create a gallery for the entire school to visit and then the students could make pledges to take action on the issue of litter in the environment.

Relevant Curriculum Units

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        • Arts Education: Creative expression is a means to explore and share one’s identity within a community.
        • Arts Education: Dance, drama, music, and visual arts are each unique languages for creating and communicating.
        • Arts Education: Exploring works of art exposes us to diverse values, knowledge, and perspectives.
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Science 4: All living things sense and respond to their environment
      • Social Studies
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • First Peoples and European Contact: The pursuit of valuable natural resources has played a key role in changing the land, people, and communities of Canada.
    • Grade 5
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Arts
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Arts Education: Dance, drama, music and visual arts are each unique languages for creating and communicating.
        • Arts Education: Engaging in creative expression and experiences expands people’s sense of identity and belonging.
        • Arts Education: Works of art influence and are influenced by the world around us.
    • Grade 6
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Arts
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Arts Education: Artistic expressions differ across time and place.
        • Arts Education: Dance, drama, music, and visual arts are each unique languages for creating and communicating.
        • Arts Education: Engaging in creative expression and experiences expands people’s sense of identity and community.
        • Arts Education: Experiencing art is a means to develop empathy for others’ perspectives and experiences

Themes Addressed

Air, Atmosphere & Climate (1)

  • Climate Change

Ecosystems (1)

  • Appreciating the Natural World

Waste Management (2)

  • Rethink, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
  • Source Reduction

Sustainability Education Principles

Principle Rating Explanation
Consideration of Alternative Perspectives Good

The issues discussed in the resource allow for the students to consider a multitude of reactions and opinions.  They are allowed to express their ideas in a creative manner in two different art pieces.

Consideration of Alternative Perspectives:
  • Satisfactory: absence of bias towards any one point of view
  • Good: students consider different points of view regarding issues, problems discussed
  • Very good: based on the consideration of different views, students form opinions and  take an informed position
Multiple Dimensions of Problems & Solutions Good

The resource does a very good job of addressing the environmental and social dimensions of the issue of protecting the environment.  The teacher will have to make sure to address the economic dimension through discussions and the addition of other resources.

Multiple Dimensions of Problems & Solutions:

Effectively addresses the environmental, economic and social dimensions of the issue(s) being explored.

  • Satisfactory: resource supports the examination of  these dimensions
  • Good:  resource explicitly examines the interplay of these dimensions
  • Very Good:  a systems-thinking approach is encouraged to examine these three dimensions
Respects Complexity Good
Respects Complexity:

The complexity of the problems/issues being discussed is respected.

Acting on Learning Good

The action opportunities are created through the expressions of the hopes and ideas of the students in their art pieces.  

Acting on Learning:

Learning moves from understanding  issues  to working towards positive change — in personal lifestyle, in school, in the community,  or for the planet

  • Satisfactory: action opportunities are included as extensions 
  • Good: action opportunities are core components of the resource
  • Very Good: action opportunities for students are well supported and intended to result in observable, positive change
Values Education Very Good

The painting of the rocks ties together the understanding of the Mi'kmaq culture and the hopes for the future that is nurtured in the students through the learning that is acquired. The painted rocks represent the students' ability to stand up for what is right.

Values Education:

Students are explicitly provided with opportunities to identify, clarify and express their own beliefs/values.

Empathy & Respect for Humans Poor/Not considered

This is not a focus of this resource.

Empathy & Respect for Humans: Empathy and respect are fostered for diverse groups of humans (including different genders, ethnic groups, sexual preferences, etc.).
Personal Affinity with Earth Very Good

Students explore an outdoor environment to create their own 3D art piece . They learn about the current problems with pollution, and climate change by making connections to the unnatural materials in our land, and waters.

Personal Affinity with Earth:

Encourages a personal affinity with -the natural world.  

  • Satisfactory: connection is made to the natural world
  • Good: fosters appreciation/concern for the natural world
  • Very Good: fosters stewardship though practical and respectful experiences out-of-doors 
Locally-Focused Learning Very Good

Student explore their schoolyard and community to identify different textures in the environment.

Locally-Focused Learning:

Includes learning experiences that take advantage of issues/elements within the local community. 

  • Satisfactory: learning is made relevant to the lives of the learners
  • Good: learning is made relevant and has a local focus
  • Very Good: learning is made relevant, local and takes place ‘outside’ , in the community 
Past, Present & Future Very Good

With the discussions of eliminating litter from the environment along with the creating of the art pieces the students get a firm sense of the present and a positive vision of the future.  The past is addressed with the discussion of the petroglyphs and the Mi'kmaq.

Past, Present & Future: Promotes an understanding of the past, a sense of the present, and a positive vision for the future.

Pedagogical Approaches

Principle Rating Explanation
Open-Ended Instruction Very Good

The resource does not in any way lead the students or the teacher to a set of constructed answers, allowing for the free flow of ideas and answers to be shared.

Open-Ended Instruction :

Lessons are structured so that multiple/complex answers are possible; students are not steered toward one 'right' answer.

Integrated Learning Good
  • Visual arts
  • Literacy
  • Social Studies
  • Science
Integrated Learning:

Learning brings together content and skills  from more than one  subject area

  • Satisfactory: content from a number of different  subject areas is readily identifiable
  • Good:  resource is appropriate for use in more than one subject area
  • Very Good:  the lines between subjects are blurred 
Inquiry Learning Satisfactory

The resource addresses the challenge of made materials in the environment.  The student response to the challenge is open to interpretation by the students although no solution is concretely sought.

Inquiry Learning:

Learning is directed by questions, problems, or challenges that students work to address.   

  • Satisfactory: Students are provided with questions/problems to solve and some direction on how to arrive at solutions.
  • Good: students, assisted by the teacher clarify the question(s) to ask and the process to follow to arrive at solutions.  Sometimes referred to as Guided Inquiry
  • Very Good:  students generate the questions and assume much of the responsibility for how to solve them.  . Sometimes referred to as self-directed learning.

 

Differentiated Instruction Good

The resource does a wonderful job of addressing a wide variety of learning styles; however, there are no strategies for learners with difficulties.

Differentiated Instruction:

Activities address a range of student learning styles, abilities and readiness.

  • Satisfactory:  includes a variety of instructional approaches
  • Good: addresses  the needs of visual, auditory &  kinesthetic learners
  • Very Good: also includes strategies for learners with difficulties
Experiential Learning Very Good
Experiential Learning:

Authentic learning experiences are provided

  • Satisfactory: learning takes place through ‘hands-on’ experience or simulation
  • Good: learning involves direct experience in a ‘real world context’
  • Very good: learning involves ‘real world experiences’ taking place’ beyond the school walls.
Cooperative Learning Satisfactory
Cooperative Learning:

Group and cooperative learning strategies are a priority.

  • Satisfactory:  students work in groups
  • Good: cooperative learning skills are explicitly taught and practiced
  • Very Good: cooperative learning skills are explicitly taught, practiced and assessed
Assessment & Evaluation Poor/Not considered

The assessment of learning is not a focus of this resource.

Assessment & Evaluation: Tools are provided that help students and teachers to capture formative and summative information about students' learning and performance. These tools may include reflection questions, checklists, rubrics, etc.
Peer Teaching Satisfactory

The sharing of the initial art pieces could be considered a presentation.

Peer Teaching:

Provides opportunities for students to actively present their knowledge and skills to peers and/or act as teachers and mentors.

  • Satisfactory: incidental teaching that arises from cooperative learning, presentations, etc.
  • Good or Very Good: an opportunity is intentionally created to empower students to teach other students/community members. The audience is somehow reliant on the students' teaching (students are not simply ‘presenting')
Case Studies Poor/Not considered

The resource is not structured in such a manner to allow for case studies.

Case Studies:

Relevant case studies are included.  Case studies are thorough descriptions of real events from real situations that students use to explore  concepts in an authentic context.

Locus of Control Good
Locus of Control: Meaningful opportunities are provided for students to choose elements of program content, the medium in which they wish to work, and/or to go deeper into a chosen issue.