The journey from secondary to primary teaching has been full of rewards, but it certainly hasn’t been easy. I find myself often having to teach well outside my field of expertise. However, when I saw our sustainability inquiry coming up, I knew exactly how I would introduce it – The Lorax.

The Lorax isn’t exactly the most innovative way of introducing sustainability, but I tried something different when we made conclusions in our inquiry. Students chose one of food, shelter, mobility and goods to investigate, and looked at how these things affected our global footprint, how these things had changed over time, how they were different in different countries and how the kids themselves were going to change their lifestyle to positively impact on their footprint.

As a class teacher, I’d always been weak on concluding these inquiries. We’d start off with a bang, and do some really great stuff when finding out and sorting out, but inevitably I’d run out of time or inspiration to do something worthwhile to bring our findings together. This time, I told myself, I will have a go at doing it differently.

The kids got into groups of four, each group having a focus of our four choices – food, mobility, shelter or goods. I asked them to rewrite the Lorax, using the same or different characters, and with a different message, based on what they had discovered. Some did better jobs than others, but one was particularly fantastic, with hand-drawn images, expressive reading, a great interpretation of the original book and they worked well as a team. These students even went to the trouble to make the story rhyme ala Dr Seuss. This is example of a rewrite focussed on ‘food’ as a conclusion about what the group had learned about sustainability.

Please note, the first few seconds have been edited to protect the privacy of the work of the students involved.

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Comment by John Lawrence on November 20, 2010 at 9:54am
Funny, when I saw the title of the post I thought that it was going to be a comment about "all of the paper that was saved". We haven't reached the point where we have paperless environments (and I don't think we ever will, especially where children are concerned) but the conference did present a significant savings to the environment, in terms of ecological footprint (fuel, heating, etc.) and elimination of the use of paper handouts/resources (if you so choose). NOTE: I am not an environmental Nazi but rather, I appreciate any small efforts to assist the global environment in any way that I can.

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