In the grade six Social Studies program there is a unit on economic, environmental, and social sustainability. These concepts can be hard for students to understand. We have had many years of environmental sustainability programs so that concept was easy. Economic sustainability involves concepts such as investment, natural resources use, and fiscal responsibility. It’s pretty big but is easily brought down to the students’ level by talking about using their allowance or babysitting earnings wisely.

unit-4-blog-outcomes

The most complex of these concepts is definitely social sustainability. Our textbook says, “in a community that is socially sustainable, people are treated fairly and are involved in decisions affecting their lives. They respect each other’s backgrounds and make healthy choices.” (Pearson 6, 224). This concept was huge for my students. We talked a lot about Me to We founder Craig Kielburger, child labour, sweat shops, and fast fashion. I challenged the students by asking them “We’ve talked a lot about this and how bad it is. What can we do about it?” then gave the students some time to discuss their ideas.

One student volunteered her idea that we should collect old clothing from our school community then remake the clothes into new clothes. This was the spark of an idea! Tailoring is a skill that takes many years to perfect and one that we just don’t have time to learn BUT as a child my grandma taught me to cut discarded clothes and patch them together into a scrap quilt. I proposed this idea to the students and they thought it was a great one! Another student excitedly announced, “And we could donate them to the Lighthouse! My church volunteers there!” That was it; our project was born!

We excitedly gathered discarded clothes from our classroom community and planned a half day where the classroom teacher, our inquiry team leader, and I would guide the students through learning how to cut the squares, make patterns for the rows, and pin the squares. Once the students had pinned the rows of squares together, I started sewing rows of double-sided squares for a ragged quilt. The students cut so many squares that we had enough for two additional quilt tops and we plan to use discarded flat bedsheets for the backing. We also had the classroom teacher’s mom come in and teach the students, very patiently, how to sew their squares into rows.

I love that this project was environmentally, economically, and socially sustainable. We kept hundreds of pieces of clothing out of the landfill. We reused something that had already served its intended purpose, and we are giving back to those who are less fortunate or who are struggling. We are currently in the process of planning a trip to the Lighthouse Supported Living facility to drop off our quilts and some of their high demand items.

Watch the slideshow of our project below.

Here are some of the students’ thoughts on our project:

“Not only are we helping people with less but we are helping the environment by reusing clothing that would have ended up in the landfill”

“I am really happy that I got to learn how to sew and make a quilt.”

“It makes me feel like a better person. I can look back on this project when I’m older and feel proud.”

“I think it is really great because we all wanted to help the less fortunate, not just do something small for ourselves.”

“It makes me feel like a better person. I’m really happy that we did this.”

“I was proud that we made something for the less fortunate and that we helped them.”

“It makes me feel happy that we are giving back to the less fortunate and giving them warmth.”

“It feels nice because we are giving it to someone who needs it.”

“We should do this again!”

As you may recall, my last post ended with a big question. A challenge of sorts to my students to take action on the issues of fast fashion, child labour, sweatshops, and sustainability. I had said, “Now what? We know all of these horrible things are happening to people around the world to provide us with many of the things we use. What are we going to DO about it?”

One student responded by sharing a story. She and her stepmother had been driving to school past a big box retailer when the stepmother remarked that they should get the child some new summer clothes at the store. The student responded by say that after studying about child labour and sweatshops she knows that the retailer uses sweatshop labour. She said she’d rather have fewer clothes from a more reputable retailer.

WOW! Blew my mind!

As a class the students developed an idea, with a little guidance from me, that is now known as Project Quilt. Below is the note that we sent home about our project.

The grade 6 classes have been learning about environmental, economical, and social sustainability. In the process of learning these concepts we learned about child labour and the garment industry. We learned some facts about textile waste which contributed to the decision to upcycle clothing. One fact we learned is that the average North American person creates 70 pounds of textile waste each year. We also learned that 85% of people’s textile waste is put in the landfill while only 15% is reused, recycled, or upcycled.

As a final inquiry project, 6T has decided to collect and upcycle used clothes that would have been thrown out. We are asking each student to bring at least one or two pieces of clothing that are no longer being used and would have otherwise ended up in the landfill. We will be learning how to cut and piece together a ragged quilt with the repurposed clothing and donate the finished blankets to The Lighthouse.

We are collecting donations from April 26 until May 2. Thank you for your help in making our project a success.

Sincerely,

Mrs. Treble and the grade 6 class

We plan to have a whole morning on May 11 devoted to teaching the students how to cut, pin, and sew together the quilt with support from the classroom teacher and our inquiry team leader.

After our last lesson, the students were eager to continue investigating sustainability through the lens of child labour. We kind of fell through the rabbit hole, so to speak, chasing the students’ questions and viewing videos and reading articles for the next couple of weeks.

The students learned many things about child labour in developing countries and how both child labour and developing countries are closely tied to the garment industry. There is a movement that is gaining momentum called Slow Fashion, which combats Fast Fashion; fashion that utilizes sweatshops and produces cheap clothes that don’t last long at the expense of the world and people in developing countries.

Here is a list of some of the articles and videos we used.

Why H&M Costs More Than You Think

Factory Collapse in Bangladesh

What is Child Labour?

Child Labour in the Fashion Supply Chain

Once we had explored the ideas of child labour, sweat shops, and fast fashion I asked the students, “Now what? We know all of these horrible things are happening to people around the world to provide us with many of the things we use. What are we going to DO about it?”

Stay tuned.

In Social Studies six we talk about sustainability. Social, economic, and environmental sustainability to be precise. For my second formal observation this school year I did a lesson that incorporated Canadian Humanitarian Craig Kielburger as a way to relate to the students. Some of our students get to participate in the We Day celebration each year which is something that has grown from Kielburger’s initial idea of working with developing countries to free their children from child labour and oppression.

Although the clip we watched about Kielburger, Free The Children Documentary, was only about ten minutes long it definitely brought up more questions for the students. More on this in a future post.

From our textbook, Pearson Saskatchewan Social Studies, these are the definitions of the three types of sustainability.

Environmental Sustainability- To consider the environment and avoid wasting or using up the natural resources so that future generations will be able to meet their needs.

Economic Sustainability- a community that uses and values local knowledge and resources resulting  in a strong and growing economy that provides security.

Social Sustainability- a community that treats people fairly and involves them in decisions affecting their lives. People respect each other’s backgrounds and make healthy choices.

After viewing the video, discussing the video, and reading several pages in the textbook and discussing them, the students were asked to write 3-5 sentences in their books about something that they are moved to change like Craig Kielburger and what issues they want to change in the world.

In reflection and discussion with both my principal and vice principal, who were observing my lesson, I have decided to also incorporate a viewing record sheet like the LAPS-Listen, Ask, Picture, So Now. LAPS viewing (1)

This lesson does not conclude our investgations into sustainability. Keep tuned for more!

My fellow colleague, Monique Martin, has worked in partnership with a local mall to have a student art display space. This space is called the Children’s Art Gallery and is incorporated into their indoor play space near the food court.

Tonight I went to meet Monique and set up our art show called It’s Natural, a display of various student works that all depicted nature. The students used a variey of media including pencil, pastel, and paint. Students from grade four to eight were represented in the art show and the show will remain up until April 30. Below are a few photos of the student work and of us setting up the show.

 

 

Today I did a lesson with a group of grade one students. The lesson was called “What do you see” and challenged students to view a small area and predict what they are seeing and, in reverse, to take a large area and pinpoint a small area.

The lesson was meant to meet curriculum outcome CP 1.8: Create artworks that express own ideas and explore different forms and media e) Recognize that what is seen of an object changes with different points of view.

The lesson started out with students gathered around and viewing the book “Who’s Looking At You” by Stephane Frattini.
who's looking at you

The book uses peep pages for the children to observe a small area of an animal’s eye and then predict what animal is looking at them.

The students were quite engrossed in this activity.

Once we had finished the book, students were given a large printout of an animal that lives in our province and a smaller piece of cardstock. They were to choose a small area of their animal then draw it on the cardstock. The cardstock was then adhered to their page like a flap and posted on the bulletin board for the rest of the students to see. Many students enjoyed viewing these projects, predicting which animal was on the flap, then lifting the flap to check if they were correct. The animals that the students were given were; beaver, bison, black bear, blue jay, butterfly, cow, coyote, fox, gopher, hare, hawk, moose, mule deer, owls, pig, raccoon, sharp-tailed grouse, sheep, white-tail deer, and wolf.

Once students were finished their flaps, they were invited to view other books that used peeps, flaps, or close up photography to challenge point of view. Below is a list of some of these books.

tushes

alpha city

city by

rocks

 

As a result of this lesson, I also developed a record sheet that can be re-used annually to track each student and their attainment of the different curricular outcomes. There is a column where each student’s name is entered then horizontally the teacher can record when each of the curricular outcomes was presented and at to what level (1, 2, 3, 4) the student attained each.

Visual Art Grade 1 Outcomes

Assignment 5 was creating a visual tour using Power Point. I had taken a walk one day while we were at Kenderdine Campus with Maureen and we both brought along our cameras. I decided to use the photos I had taken that day (and a few others from the visit) to put together a digital story of a hunt through the woods. I also decided to record a voiceover for my visual tour. Enjoy!