Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Leading the Way to a Sustainable Future

Leading the Way to a Sustainable Future
Sustainability has often been defined as meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. The word “sustainability” shares the root of the word “sustenance”, which refers to the maintaining of someone or something in life or existence. A healthy relationship with the environment supports us and gives us life similarly to how healthy relationships with family, friends, and among communities, provide support and give us life. So, sustainability can be thought of as living in a way that creates and nourishes healthy relationships among all living things, now and in the future.
How do we know if something is sustainable? There are three main components of sustainability: society, economy, and environment. To be sustainable, each of these elements should be in harmony and improving one should not negatively impact another. Of course, sustainable solutions aren’t always easy to achieve, especially when the solution requires a high level of change.
Sustainability begins with the recognition that we depend on a healthy environment to provide us with our basic human needs: air, water, food, and shelter. Our society influences our economy through shared values. These values influence the kinds of things we buy and how much of it we buy. For example, when we buy new clothes, are we buying them because the clothes we have are worn out or we’ve outgrown them, or are we buying them simply because we saw something in a store that we like or there’s a new style that we’d like to try? Some of these factors are based on need: we need clothes to protect us from the elements and keep us warm. Needs are fundamental for human survival or purpose. Wants on the other hand, are seen as a human desire to get something additional, and are influenced by factors such as personal values, social group, or broader social factors like media and advertising. Humans have other needs, too, beyond those which keep us alive such as freedom; a sense of personal identity and purpose; love and belongingness. Balancing our personal well-being with the well-being of others and the environment can be challenging, but it essential to a sustainable way of life.
The needs of individuals, communities, ecosystems, and the entire world, today, are equally as important as the needs of future generations. Every day, whether we realize we are doing it or not, we make decisions about what natural minerals to use, how fast to use them, and what to do with them when we’re done. Some of these choices are small, such as riding a bike or walking to school rather than driving, compositing food scraps so they can be used to help plants grow, or turning the lights off when leaving a room, or the heat down to conserve fuel. Some are much larger, such as ones that we make when we get older. What size family will you have? Will you purchase a more fuel efficient car, or maybe an electric car? Will you support government policies that encourage sustainability?
The choices we make today, big or small, will impact the future. Therefore, our choices must ensure that social institutions, the economy, and the environment will be well-supported for future generations. In our lifetimes, each of us has the opportunity to help create a world that offers well-being, good health, material comfort, education, and equality, while protecting these opportunities for future generations. Doing so requires us to think differently and live differently, but the rewards for making these changes are immense.

Sunday, October 22, 2017

How to be an effective teacher?

Notes from the inspiring book by Harry Wong and Rosemary Wong.

The successful teacher must know and practice the three characteristics of an effective teacher.
The three characteristics of an effective teacher
An effective teacher…
  • Has positive expectations for student success.
  • Is an extremely good classroom management.
  • Knows how to design lessons for student mastery.

These apply to all teachers. Note that none of the characteristics have anything to do with grade level or subject taught.

The first day of school can make or break you. Student achievement at the end of the year is directly related to the degree to which the teacher establishes good control of the classroom procedures in the very first week of the school year.

Control does not involve threats or intimidation. Control means that you know (1) what you are doing, (2) your classroom procedures, and (3) your professional responsibilities. It is urgent also that your students know that you know what you are doing.

You must have everything ready and under control when school begins.

Efficient: Doing things right
Effective: Doing the right thing
The effective teacher affects lives.

The Effective Teacher
Establish good control the first week of school
Does things right, consistently
Affects and touches lives.

Be friendly, caring, loving, and sensitive, but do not be their friend. They have enough on their hands with their own friends. The students of today need you to be an adult role model that they can look to with admiration and pride.

It is better to be a paragon than a pal.

Education is not teaching people what they do not know. Education is teaching people to behave as they are not already behaving.

Effective teachers affect lives.

For instance, what is the difference between a student who is tardy and a student who is not tardy? Between one who turns in the homework and one who does not? Between one who studies for the test and one who does not?

It is not height, age, sex, race, religious affiliation, or socioeconomic background.

It is behavior or attitude. You change or affect the attitude of a student, and you suddenly have a student who is not tardy, participates in class, does the homework, and studies for the test.

You were hired to affect lives. You were hired not so much to teach third grade, history, or physical education as to influence lives. Touch the life of a student, and you will have a student who will learn history, physical education, even science and math to please you.

The beginning of school is the most critical time of the school year. What you do in the first days of school to affect the lives of your students will determine your success during the rest of the year.

Positive expectations - high expectations, should not be confused with high standards. Having positive expectations simply means that the teacher believes in the learner and that the learner can learn.

The belief in positive expectations is based on the research that whatever the teacher expects from the learner is what the learner will produce. If you believe that a student is a low-level, below-average, slow learner, the student will perform as such because these are the beliefs you transmit to the student. If you believe that a student is a high-ability, above-average, capable learner, the student will perform as such because these are the expectations you transmit to the student.

It is essential that the teacher exhibit positive expectations towards all students. It can only benefit both the teacher and the student, as well as the total classroom environment.

Classroom management

Well-ordered environment + Positive academic expectations = Effective classrooom

The teacher must establish a productive and cooperative working environment. 

Lesson Mastery

To teach for mastery, an effective teacher must do 2 things:
Know how to design lessons in which a student will learn a concept or a skill.
Know how to evaluate the learning to determine if the students has mastered the concept or the skill.

Student success in the subject matter of the class will be the result of how well the teacher designs lessons and checks for mastery.

Teaching is a craft. It is a service profession.

Improving Student Achievement

Cooperative learning: students in small, self-instructing groups can support and increase one another’s learning.

Extensive reading of material of many kinds, both in school and outside, results in substantial growth in the vocabulary, comprehension abilities and information base of students.

Wait time: pausing after asking a question in the classroom results in an increase in achievement.


Humans have a success instinct.

There is absolutely no research correlation between success and family background, race, national origin, financial status, or even educational accomplishments. There is but one correlation with success, and that is ATTITUDE.

An expectation is what you believe will or will not happen.

All Children Can Learn!

Teachers who set and communicate high expectations to all their students obtain greater academic performance from these students than do teachers who set low expectations.

“Children are like wet cement. Whatever falls on them makes an impression.” ~ Haim Ginott

What parents and teachers convey to young people in their formative years as expectations will influence young people to achieve accordingly.

Who you are and what you do and say will greatly influence the young people who will be the productive citizens of tomorrow’s world. Your expectations of your students will greatly influence their achievement in your class and ultimately their lives.

The effective teacher
  • Has a statement of positive expectations ready for the first day of school.
  • Creates a classroom climate that communicates positive expectations.
  • Goes to professional meetings to learn.
  • Has a personal goal of high expectation.

You do not get a second chance at a first impression. You are treated as you are dressed. It may not be fair. It may not be right. But people tend to treat other people as they are dressed.

In an ideal world, viewed through rose-colored glasses, it would be wonderful to be accepted for ourselves alone, not for our appearance. In the real world, however, our all-too-visible selves are under constant scrutiny.

We are walking, talking advertisement for who we are. 
We are walking, talking advertisement for who we believe we are as professional educators.

Every time you act, you validate who you are.

When you allow teasing in class, you are making a statement. When you refuse tolerate teasing in class, you are making a statement.

When you walk into class early, the room and materials are ready, there is a positive classroom climate, you are standing at the door with a smile and an extended hand of welcome, and the assignments are on the chalkboard, you are making a statement.

The statement that you make influences how the students will behave and achieve in class. And how students behave and achieve in class will determine your success as a teacher.

Dress for Respect
Clothing may not make a person, but it can be a contributing factor in unmaking a person.
Preparing Students for the World.

The Effective Teacher
  • Come to work appropriately dressed.
  • Is a role model for students
  • Thinks and behaves globally

All of us need to convey to our students and our colleagues every day that “you are important to me as a person.”

Inviting verbal comments
How can i help you?
Tell me about it?
I appreciate your help.

Inviting personal behaviors
Smiling, listening, holding a door, thumbs up or high five, waiting your turn.

Inviting thoughts
Making mistakes is all right.
I could learn to do that.

The effective teacher
  • Has an inviting personality
  • Creates an inviting classroom environment.
  • Work at being intentionally inviting.
  • Maintains an inviting stance.

The Five Significant concepts that enhance positive expectations:
Thank you

When you look at the truly effective teachers, you will also find caring, warm, lovable people.

High expectations have nothing to do with getting A’s in class, finishing college, making a lot of money, or having a great marriage. High expectations have to do with attitude or behavior, and it is this behavior that gets us the A’s in class, helps us finish college, or gets whatever else we want in life.

“Life is not a destination.
Life is a journey.
As long as you continue the journey, you will always be a success.”
~ Albert Camus

How a person behaves in the journey of life is directly related to what a person expects to happen in life. There are five significant concepts that will help you achieve whatever it is you want in life. They are addressing a person by name, saying “please” and “thank you”, smiling and showing care and warmth.

Repetition is the key

For a child to learn something new, you need to repeat it on the average 8 times.
For a child to unlearn an old behavior and replace it with a new behavior, you need to repeat the new behavior on the average 28 times.
~ After Madeline Hunter

I really appreciate what you did. Thank you.

A smile is the most effective way to create a positive climate, to disarm an angry person, and to convey the message “Do not be afraid of me; I am here to help you.”

As you smile and speak, use momentary pauses. This is called timing. Every performer knows that the key to delivering a speech, telling a joke, or giving a performance is timing. This is the pregnant pause before speaking an important or emotional line.

Love what you teach, and love whom you teach.

Only two things are necessary for a happy and successful life: being lovable and being capable.

The sincerest form of service comes from listening, caring and loving.

There will never be a shortage of love
“Love is the reason for teaching.
It costs nothing, yet is the most precious thing one can possess.
The more we give, the more it is returned.
It heals and protects, soothes and strengthens.
Love has other names such as
And cheer.
Love is, really, “the gift that keeps on giving.”
Give love in abundance - everyday.


Dear students
I believe in you.
I trust in you.
I know you can handle life’s situations.
You are listened to.
You are cared for.
You are very important to me.

A well-managed classroom is a task-oriented and predictable environment.

The effective teacher
  • Works on having a well-managed classroom.
  • Train students to know what they are to do.
  • Has students working on tasks.
  • Has a classroom with little confusion or wasted time.

Readiness is the primary determinant of teacher effectiveness.

The effective teacher
  • Prepares, prepares, prepares
  • Prepares the classroom  for effective work.
  • Maximizes proximity to the students
  • Maximizes proximity to materials

Right or wrong, accurate or not, your reputation will precede you. Protect your reputation and create a positive image. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain.

The Effective Teacher
  • Cultivates a positive reputation
  • Communicates with parents and students before the school starts.
  • Greets the students with positive expectations.
  • Has the seating assignment and first assignment ready.
The ineffective teacher begins the first day of school attempting to teach a subject and spends the rest of the year running after the students.

The effective teacher spends most of the first week teaching the students how to follow classroom procedures.

Students risk failure because of the lack of structure.

Procedures and routines create structure.

The only way to have responsible students is to have procedures and routines for which the students can feel responsible.

The effective teacher
Have well-thought-out and structured procedures for every activity.
Teaches the procedures for each activity early in the year.
Rehearse the class so that procedures become class routines.


Teach your children the value of hard work in school.

Let your children know that their success and satisfaction in any field or endeavor is achieved only by diligence and hard work.

The Effective Teacher
  • Teaches students, not a subject or a grade level
  • Maximizes academic learning time
  • Keeps students actively engaged in learning.
Stop asking: “What am I going to cover tomorrow?”
Start asking: “What are my students to learn, achieve, and accomplish tomorrow?”

“Education is not a process of putting the learner under control, but putting the student in control of his or her learning.

The greater the structure of a lesson and the more precise the directions on what is to be accomplished, the higher the achievement.

The ineffective teacher covers chapters, find busy work for the students.
The effective teacher has students learn toward the criteria, teaches to the criteria.

The teacher who constantly learns and grows become a professional educator.

How to achieve happiness and success as a teacher

How a person chooses to behave will greatly determine the quality of that person’s life.

Leaders choose.
Life comes from within me.
I will generate my own happiness.
Life is better when I share or serve others.

What a person choose to do will greatly determine the quality of that person’s life.

The effective teacher chooses rather than decides

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Global Citizenship Lesson Plan

This lesson is designed to introduce students to Global Citizenship through the United Nation’s 2030 Agenda of Sustainable Development Goals and by leveraging the Atlantic Council for International Cooperation (ACIC) membership in the Atlantic Provinces. There are three stations that present Global Citizenship from a number of different angles.
Each of the PDFs below is three pages, the last of which is a “sources” page. Only the first and second pages need to be printed (one double-sided handout) for the students in each group. You can download a zip file that includes all of the station handouts and the worksheet HERE.
  1. Divide your class into 3 groups (or 6 groups if it’s a large class)
  2. Begin the scrollable presentation (
  3. Distribute the printed handouts accordingly.
  4. This class is planned for 60 or 75 minutes. It’s been tested successfully for each time period.
  5. Collect the worksheet for grading or assign optional homework/projects based on the resource links at the bottom of this page.

Download and print the PDF: Malala Gender Education Case Study

Download and print the PDF: Coffee Fair Trade Case Study

Download and print the PDF: Photo Station Clean Water
Download and print the PDF: Photo Station Energy Climate
Download and print the PDF: Photo Station Life Below Water
Download and print the PDF: Photo Station Life on Land
We’ve found it works well to print only the number of copies needed for each (single) station. Collect and reuse these as the groups switch.

Download and print the PDF: Citizenship Student Worksheet

If you’re interested in having a guest speaker from a local organization come to your classroom to talk to students about the work being done on local and global issues, check out the ACIC MEMBERS page at the following link:

This workshop has been developed in agreement with the Department of Education’s definition of citizenship as described in the Atlantic Canada Framework for Essential Graduation Competencies in Schools for the 2016-2017 school year. This lesson particularly complements the following courses and units of study:
  • Grade 9 Social Studies “Atlantic Canada in the Global Community”: Units 2, 3, 4 and 5
  • Global Geography 12: Units 2, 4, 5, 6 and 8
  • Global History 12: Units 2, 3, 4 and 5


Sharing a Small World

Sharing a Small World is no longer in print but you can download the full packet below. Updated versions of these lessons are now included on the Counting on People: K-5 Activities for Global Citizenship CD-ROM.

Young children are natural-born explorers and are especially curious about their place on the planet. Sharing a Small World is collection of nine engaging hands-on/minds-on activities that help them discover the web of life and how to be a helpful member of a community. All the activities are interdisciplinary and activity formats include cooperative games, role-playing, craft projects, and learning from some of the classics in children's literature.

Electronic copy of booklet. © 2001


Sharing a Small World (pdf): Full booklet of the original lower elementary lessons.


Education for Development

Education for Development: A Teacher’s Resource for Global Learning is a core tool for teachers, containing a useful overview of development education, and teacher-friendly activities and lessons.

Part 1: Introduction
This introduction provides a general overview and explanation of the education for development approach; the five global concepts upon which the book is based: interdependence, images and perceptions, social justice, conflict and conflict resolution, change and the future; ways for taking action; and an overview of the learning process as presented in the book. The activities in the book are divided according to age levels as follows:
  • Level I: 7-11 years
  • Level II: 12-15 years
  • Level III: 16-18 years
Part 2: Interdependence
As citizens of a global village, the issue of interdependence has become increasingly important. Interdependence involves recognizing the world as a system and understanding the web of relationships that make up that system. It also involves appreciating the delicate balance between the various parts of this web and the reality of changes in any one part impacting on the whole.

Part 3: Images and Perceptions
The section on images and perceptions looks at stereotypes held around people from other countries, particularly the developing world. The activities are designed to challenge the roots of prejudice and promote understanding between groups and reduce stereotyping while developing an appreciation of diversity.

Part 4: Social Justice
Through the exercises and activities in this section, students will come to understand justice as an essential part of the development of individuals, communities and countries. A number of the activities refer to the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Part 5: Conflict and Conflict Resolution
The focus of this section is on education about and for peace. Through these activities, students will gain a better understanding of the various types of conflicts, the range of solutions to conflicts and conflict resolution techniques, as well as how these principles can be applied to their daily lives.

Part 6: Change and the Future
Despite the fact that educational institutions aim to prepare their students for the future, a great deal of school curricula is heavily focused on the past. The activities in this chapter provide students with an opportunity to reflect on where they are heading and how they might apply the knowledge they are gaining through their education.

Part 7: Taking Action
The final section of the book provides ideas for ways students can take practical action on global issues as a way to extend their knowledge while practicing the skills and knowledge necessary for global citizenship. There is also an important discussion for teachers on handling controversial issues in the classroom.

Part 8: Bibliography and Index