Check out these two environmental service learning summer professional development opportunities brought to you by Generation Earth. Both these experiences provide access to personalized support, links to standards, toolkits, and eligibility for stipends and bus funds for a related field trip next school year.
On Saturday, April 16th ECSL joined with the Green Ambassadors Institute, a professional development program through Environmental Charter High School, to engage in a first-of-its-kind experiment: The Curriculum Hack. It was based on the shared experience of many teachers that there is no one-size-fits-all curriculum. An educator is a kind of jigsaw puzzle expert. They are constantly fitting together the puzzle pieces (standards, time, current events, learning styles, youth interests) to create the big picture (a curriculum that best serves their students).
With so many factors to consider when deciding how to deliver content, teachers rarely use a published curriculum verbatim. They take out, add on, or adjust lesson plans to create something that fits the needs of the class. Teachers may do this in isolation or amongst their planning teams on campus. But at this spring’s BioDiversity Summit, Green Ambassadors gave educators access to a valuable resource in this process of tailoring curriculum- diverse perspectives.
In our increasingly interconnected world, there is a need to bring together all community stakeholders to create curriculum that helps students prepare for the challenges we face as a society. Everyone was invited to the table. Educators, students, community organizations, businesses and government leaders all lent their ideas and expertise. In real-time, this melting pot of perspectives helped shape curriculum for pressing essential questions we need to cover in our classrooms, like “How can we undo environmental injustices within our communities in order to keep people safe and healthy?”
At the start of the summit, ECSL led participants in a personal inventory activity that revealed each other’s interests, skills and talents through a guided interview process. Later, when it was time to hack the curriculum together, each member could reflect on their traits, background and experiences that would impact their group’s lesson planning process.
This year’s institute theme was BioDiversity, and the experience lived up to its name. The diverse skill sets present amongst each group member led to rich explorations of environmental justice themes for all grade levels.
Green Ambassadors has made available the lesson plans created in this collaborative curriculum development experience (where you can also access the Personal Inventory activity presented by ECSL).
We look forward to connecting with members and new participants alike at the ECSL Fall Meeting scheduled for September 27th at The Skirball Cultural Center from 3:15-5:30pm. Join us for another unique opportunity to network with a variety of stakeholders in the service learning community.
**Share your service learning program at the upcoming Environmental Justice Showcase and Curriculum Hack that ECSL is co-sponsoring with Environmental Charter High School.**
PLEASE CALENDAR: SATURDAY APRIL 16, 2016
ECSL is making available a special opportunity. You are invited to share a 10 minute talk with 5 min Q/A in a roundtable type conversational format. We are providing a personal ECSL mentor to help facilitate review and teacher preparation for this collaborative workshop along with a simple template to utilize.
The purpose is to discuss the process, more importantly than the result. It will be an chance for you to examine various stages from where you might have felt stymied in your SL process, to taking positive outcomes to the next level.
This meeting will provide time for interaction, exchange of ideas/needs, connections and will genuinely aid faculty with the five stages of service learning, fostering student voice and choice and developing meaningful community benefits.
WE HOPE YOU WILL CONSIDER JOINING THE OTHER FACULTY (from K-12 schools, private & public) who have agreed to tell their service learning stories….Faculty who shared at last year’s ECSL expo felt they actually learned more from the experience than the observers….so take advantage of this unique opportunity to partner with an ECSL mentor and enhance your service learning (no matter whatever stage you are currently practicing).
PLEASE REPLY to ECSLabc@gmail.com as soon as possible IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO RECEIVE an ECSL mentor and the presentation template.
INCLUDE: YOUR NAME, CLASS LEVEL/SUBJECT TAUGHT, TOPIC PRESENTING. This “show and grow” will take place in the morning, although there are worthwhile activities and exchanges from 9-3pm. The topic you choose does not necessarily need to be environmentally based…. any Service Learning program in which your students are currently engaged has justice and curricular tie-ins. Lastly, feel free to bring some of your students along to present with you and experience the day.
.….We are looking forward to hearing back from you soon and hope you choose to be a part of this exciting day!
This February ECSL was honored to have Cathryn Berger Kaye lead participants through a service learning immersion experience. Four Corners is a highly engaging activity that explores the stages of service learning first hand. Within the service learning methodology developed by Kaye, there are several elements that come in fours; four kinds of action research used to explore a community need and four types of service that can be performed, for example. Such concepts came to life during this dynamic experience. To help capture some of the discoveries made, here are “four” teachable moments participants explored as they immersed themselves in service learning:
Framing: One powerful motivator for service learning lies in the ability to frame the process from a student’s perspective. Their interests, skills and talents can be unveiled and utilized during the service learning process. Students can have a voice for societal issues they care about and be at the center of proactive ways to address their concerns.
Organizing: Students get real experience in community organizing as they explore questions like, “Who amongst us has skills and talents that can be put to good use during this process? Who in the community is doing something to address the societal issue at hand? How can we come together to provide a service for an unmet need in our community?”
Understanding: When students engage in authentic investigation about their community, they come to a deeper understanding about what is needed to support the cause. When they use action research, they immerse themselves in real-life discovery through activities like interviewing or conducting surveys. Students and teachers alike come to know Confucius’ adage: I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I understand.
Reinforcing: Throughout the stages of service learning students get a chance to revisit skills they are building. For example, note-taking can be practiced when interviewing a community partner, and then reinforced as they do follow-up research with media content. Students may write letters to invite an expert into the classroom as a part of their investigation, and then revisit the skill again by writing thank you letters for their visit. Students develop proficiency for skills they are able to practice through repetition. They may come to see them as more valuable or practical too because they are serving a purpose within a real-world context.
Teachers, administrators and community organization representatives came together to explore these powerful elements of service learning. Four Corners: A Service Learning Immersion Experience became their road map for the service learning process. Now, they are equipped with tools to take their students on a service learning journey through the four seasons and to the four corners of the earth.
In January, the Museum of Tolerance is offering top-notch educational trainings exclusively for CA based educators. A great fit for service learning practitioners is Rock Your World, a social justice program that engages upper elementary, middle and high school students, as well as higher ed/teacher training programs and community partner organizations.
Rock Your World is a perfect complement to service learning and project based learning experiences, technology integration and the Common Core.
The two day course is free. All costs, including travel and accommodations for those out of area, are covered. And, teachers can earn CEUs/LAUSD salary point credit.
The Museum of Tolerance is a powerful experience in and of itself. The exhibits and speakers, coupled with this program, will promote understanding of human rights issues, inspire youth voice, integrate digital literacy and strengthen curiosity while leaving students (and teachers) eager to take action about the things they care about.
January 8th and 9th
Rock Your World: Online Curriculum for Social Action
Museum of Tolerance
Register by Dec. 21st
(max enrollment is 65)
*Rock Your World, part of the Creative Visions Foundation, is a featured component of the Become a Defender unit of the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights’ Speak Truth to Power curriculum.
Are you looking to create an outdoor classroom by planting trees or a native plant garden on your campus? Join TreePeople on Saturday, October 4, 2014 for our FREE School Greening Workshop. This class will cover the ins and outs of planting and caring for trees as well as planting native plant gardens on school campuses including meeting district regulations. Mini grants are available for all participating schools.
Who: Teachers, Administrators and Eco Club Students
What: School Greening Workshop. See attached flier!
When: Saturday, October 4, 2014 9:00 AM – 12:00 NOON
Where: TreePeople’s Center for Community Forestry, 12601 Mulholland Drive Beverly Hills 90210
Mini Grants include:
1. A FREE project mentor and on-campus support with TreePeople staff
2. FREE tools and event day support for your planting or garden installation
3. FREE trees and plants for most projects
4. FREE gardening supplies
All participants must register at
For more information please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Save the Date for ECSL’s Fall 2014 Workshop!
Join fellow educators and stretch your thinking about service learning. Discover easily applicable new frameworks teachers are using to integrate the 5 stages of service learning into their curriculum. Converse with peers about your specific questions and interests as you start the school year. Dynamic, interactive, invaluable workshop to help expand your programs! RSVP to ECSLabc@gmail.com .
Tuesday, Oct. 7th
3:00 − 5:30pm
Skirball Cultural Center
2701 N. Sepulveda Blvd., L.A., 90049
Lauren McCabe of Westridge School (an ECSL member school) shares this opportunity to raise your students’ awareness for the critical issue of human trafficking:
Students at Westridge have been working with a coalition of local non-profits and government agencies on a youth poster contest focused on the issue of human trafficking, presenting a tangible way for students to get involved in the issue. The poster contest is designed for students ages 14 to 25. After the contest, students at Westridge will be organizing a conference/workshop that trains peers to be advocates in the implementation of SB 1193 and the posting of fliers at businesses affected by the bill. This training will take place in early February, with more information to follow as the details of the training become available. This will also be a great way for your students to get involved in the issue of human trafficking.
A link to information regarding the poster contest announced by the National Council for Jewish Women, Los Angeles is included here.
Sammy Lyon, a faculty representative for ECSL’s Advisory Council, shares this environmental service learning professional development opportunity in Spring 2014. This program is provided by Green Ambassadors, a program of Environmental Charter Schools. Courses teach educators how students can solve real-world environmental issues with Common Core aligned curriculum that can be implemented immediately in the classroom. Scholarships are available that include FREE tuition, a copy of the curriculum, and up to $1000 in sub reimbursements. Scholarship applications are due January 15. Visit the Green Ambassador website for more information.