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Teaching Global Sustainability in the Primary Grades

K-4 Curriculum Guide

Elementary

Description

This four-lesson, ESD resource has been designed to provide primary educators with a unique, age-appropriate curriculum that addresses core concepts related to sustainability. 

Map of Myself: Identity and Culture

Students will:

  • explore personal and cultural identity.
  • introduce themselves using nonverbal gestures.
  • listen to and discuss the stories, My Map Book and Fish is Fish.
  • create a "map" of individual identity and culture.
  • listen to songs about culture and identity.

Connections All Around:  Me, My Food and My Environment

Students will:

  • identify connections, cause and effect and surprising results in their food, lives and nature.
  • participate in a field trip to a dairy farm or vegetable garden or watch a video about farming.
  • identify connections in nature by listening and singing folk songs.
  • create food webs
  • listen to popular picture books and reflect on the connections created within the story.

Woods, Water and Wild Things:  Biodiversity in the Forest-Stream Habitat

Students will:

  • question their connections to the land.
  • listen to and sing songs about the land that they live in.
  • investigate different ecosystems and how different plants and animals rely on one another.
  • role play different ecosystems which they represent.
  • sing songs and listen to stories related to the issues being addressed.

Systems:  Problems and Fixes

Students will:

  • sing and listen to songs.
  • listen to children's stories and discuss themes.
  • play a stuffed animal toss game.
  • try to identify classroom objects while blindfolded.
  • discuss ways to solve problems.

General Assessment

What skills does this resource explicitly teach?

  • This resource explicitly teaches students to identify and analyze interdependence within ecosystems.

Strengths

  • The resource is well laid out and easy to follow.
  • The resource provides explicit opportunities and tools for assessment and evaluation.
  • The resource provides differentiated instruction opportunities for different grade levels.
  • The resource integrates literature and song with the teaching of sustainability.
  • Diversity of lessons will engage students with varied learning styles and needs.
  • Activities are age appropriate. 

Weaknesses

  • Action experiences are provided as extension activities and not fully explored. 
  • Students have limited opportunities to choose elements of their own programming.
  • Resource does not fully address multiple dimensions of problems and solutions.

Relevant Curriculum Units

The following tool will allow you to explore the relevant curriculum matches for this resource. To start, select a province listed below.

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        • Active citizenship contributes to the vitality of communities that can promote pluralism among diverse people in a democratic society
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        • Earth Systems: Understandings of the living world, Earth, and space are deepened through investigating natural systems and their interactions
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        • Regional and Global Communities: Local actions have global consequences, and global actions have local consequences.
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        • Needs and Characteristics of Living Things
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        • Interactions: Groups
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        • Animal Growth and Changes:Investigating the Needs and Life Cycles of an Organism
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        • Arts: Music: To appreciate musical works, personal productions, and those of classmates
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        • To read and Listen to Literary, Popular and Information -based texts
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        • Living things
    • Grade 2
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      • Arts
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        • Arts: Music: To appreciate musical works, personal productions, and those of classmates
        • Arts: Music: To interpret musical pieces
      • English/Language Arts
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        • To read and Listen to Literary, Popular and Information -based texts
      • Science & Technology
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        • Living things
    • Grade 3
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      • Arts
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        • Arts: Music: To appreciate musical works, personal productions, and those of classmates
        • Arts: Music: To interpret musical pieces
      • English/Language Arts
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        • To read and Listen to Literary, Popular and Information -based texts
      • Science & Technology
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        • Living Things
    • Grade 4
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      • Arts
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        • Arts: Music: To appreciate musical works, personal productions, and those of classmates
        • Arts: Music: To interpret musical pieces
      • Science & Technology
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        • Living Things
  • Saskatchewan
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    • Kindergarten
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        • Arts Education 1: Creative/Productive
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        • My Family: Interactions and Interdependence
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        • My Community: Interaction and Interdependence
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        • Assess and Reflect
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        • Habitats and Communities
  • Yukon Territory
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    • Kindergarten
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        • Rights, roles, and responsibilities shape our identity and help us build healthy relationships with other
        • Identity and Families
    • Grade 2
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      • Social Studies
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        • Regional and Global Communities: Local actions have global consequences, and global actions have local consequences.

Themes Addressed

  • Citizenship (1)

    • Community-Building and Participation
  • Ecosystems (1)

    • Biodiversity
  • Human Rights (1)

    • Cultural Diversity

Sustainability Education Principles

Principle Rating Explanation
Consideration of Alternative Perspectives Good
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 Satisfactory
  • The resource does not fully address the economic and social dimensions of the issues being addressed.
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
  • Based on the targeted age-range of students the resource deals with issues in an age-appropriate manner.
Respects Complexity:

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

Acting on Learning Satisfactory
  • Each lesson includes opportunities to take action, but these ideas are not fully explored within this resource.
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 Good
  • Students are provided with opportunities to clarify their own values relating to the issues being addressed.
Values Education:

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

Empathy & Respect for Humans Satisfactory
  • Students work cooperatively in groups and are encouraged to respect the opinions of others. 
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 Good
  • Students are encouraged to participate in field trips that involve nature.
  • Students explore the impact of issues being addressed on non-humans.
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 Good
  • Students participate in locally-focused field trips.
  • Students discuss their own personal identities and communities.
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 Satisfactory
  • There is some discussion of the past within the lessons, but the past and future are not adequately addressed.
  • Within the extension activities students are asked to involve seniors from the community.
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 Satisfactory
  • The majority of activities are teacher directed.
Open-Ended Instruction :

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

Integrated Learning Very Good
  • There are multiple opportunities for interdisciplinary teaching within this resource and some are addressed explicitly.
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
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
  • This resource scaffolds learning opportunities for students at different grade levels to meet the same outcome.
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 Good
  • While the majority of activities are simulation activities there are some authentic learning experiences provided within this resource as well. 
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
  • Students work in groups but are not explicitly taught cooperative learning strategies. 
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 Good
  • This resource provides an abundance of assessment strategies and templates. 
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
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 Good
  • Students do have some opportunity to explore real events in real situations through the use of picture books.
  • Actual case studies are limited within this resource.
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 Satisfactory
  • Students have some opportunity to choose the medium in which they wish to work.
  • The majority of activities are designed and led by the teacher. 
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.