Norm Kaether's Story

"Many students commented that when they were challenged to make personal commitments to change their habits (as Be the Change Action Packs require), it really pushed them to think about personal responsibility and ethical choices within a local and global food system."

PART 1: Tell us about the learners at your school. (Gathering Evidence/Scanning)

(E.g. what did you notice about the experience of your learners that was most important to your work? Are you a rural, urban or new school?)

We are an independent school for boys in Vancouver. Most of the students at the school hope to attend academic programs at university upon graduation. My interest in this program is to discuss environmental challenges with students and give them concrete, hands-on experiences in our local community.

 

PART 2: What did you do? (Focus and Plan, New Learning)

(What keys areas of health and learning did you focus on? What were your driving questions? What contributed to the need to address health and learning at your school? What did you do to make things better? What tools/resources did you use?)

One of the key topics of my Sustainable Resources 12 / AP Environmental Science class is sustainable fisheries. With support from the Federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans’ Salmonids in the Classroom program, my students raised and released 50 salmon from eggs. To ground this practical experience in students’ minds as an academic and ethical activity, I used resources from Be The Change Earth Alliance (where my grant money went) to have my students to complete inquiry projects on sustainable fisheries. Students then presented their findings to their fellow students, impacting about 20 grade 11 and 12 students in this course. The research had excellent, articles, and videos that allowed students to learn the real facts on their topic. It also involved practical personal activities and excellent critical thinking questions on their topic.

 

PART 3: How did it go? (Taking Action)

(E.g. What actions or strategies did you decide on? Who was involved? What type of support did you gather? How were students involved? What new areas of professional learning did you explore? What difference did this make for students and the school community? How did this impact students’ learning?)

 

The inquiry went well. Many students commented that when they were challenged to make personal commitments to change their habits (as Be the Change Action Packs require), it really pushed them to think about personal responsibility and ethical choices within a local and global food system. Peer-to-peer presentations and written commitments appeared to increase student accountability and engagement.

 

PART 4: What are your reflections and how can you build on your efforts? (Reflect & Evaluate)

(E.g. what change was evident? What did you use as a baseline for evidence of change? What did you learn from the inquiry? What is most important for you to learn to build on your efforts to sustain changes for your students and in your school? What advice do you have for others?)


Next year, I’d like to expand the number of topics and number of classes that use this resource at my school. It would fit well within the advisor system (a homeroom class with some regular curriculum programming), the counselling system, grade 10 science, and grade 11 socials. Although Be the Change Action Packs are well-packaged, it does take time for teachers to become familiar with their protocols and to find time to fit into an often-full curriculum. Thankfully, the proposed new provincial curriculum will require fewer prescribed learning outcomes, and more opportunity for multidisciplinary, inquiry-based learning, as presented in the Action Packs. 

 *This story was originally shared on the Healthy Schools BC Stories Map


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