Making The Shift is a monthly newsletter to share stories, resources, and ideas around environmental education through inquiry-based learning. Let's collaborate!
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Hear From Teachers
[A Lesson Study Story]

Each winter term, the teachers at the Dr. Eric Jackman Institute of Child Study Laboratory School engage in Japanese Lesson Study, a collaborative form of professional development. Working together to discuss conceptual ideas, lesson content, and teaching strategies, the teachers develop a lesson to be taught to students. The lesson is taught in a public lesson setting with students and then debriefed with all teachers and visitors through pedagogical dialogue.

This year, a group of teachers from all different grade levels came together to plan a lesson surrounding the concept of recycling. It was agreed upon by teachers that we would begin by asking students and adults alike their thoughts on recycling. It was agreed at every level that recycling is a good thing. However, when we pursued the topic, asking how recycling works, what it might look like, and where it happens, the answers became increasingly vague and non-committal. Research, as well as our own experience, suggests this lack of information is widely reflected in the general population amongst children and adults. It might be argued, that once we as consumers dispose of an object in the recycling bin, we believe our job is done; we have done our bit to save the Earth.

What is Integrated Learning?

Integrated Learning is an approach that seeks to make learning 'whole'. What are the benefits of Integrated Learning? By transcending disciplinary borders, an interconnected view of the curriculum promotes:
  • a stronger grasp of each subject's purpose and varied applications
  • a deeper understanding of any one topic by exploring it through multiple perspectives
  • a greater appreciation for the integrated manner in which subjects, skills, ideas, and different perspectives connect to the larger world
  • improved skills in systems-thinking
By making the learning experience at school 'whole' through Integrated Learning, a student's outlook of the larger world can also be made 'whole. Learning to see the interconnections of all aspects of life ultimately becomes a habit-of-mind that will serve them well throughout their lives.  (Natural Curiosity, p.43)

Website Resource

A website that we have visited for information and ideas is the Centre for Ecoliteracy, a program that supports and advances education for sustainable living. With a range of resources such as books, educational videos, and thought-provoking essays, it is a great website to explore! In the 'Teach' section, teachers can read about different strategies and approaches to sustainability education.

We are now on Amazon! You can order Natural Curiosity from the link above, and if you already have a copy, we would love for you to write a short review!
Natural Curiosity: Building Children's Understanding of the World Through Environmental Inquiry
Copyright © 2012 Natural Curiosity. All rights reserved.
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