PCEP Update: March 2016
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Aloha · Talofa · Yokwe · Len Wo · Kaselehlie · Ráán Ánnim · Mogethin · Alii · Håfa Ådai · Tirow

Greetings PCEP Partners! Pacific Resources for Education and Learning (PREL) is pleased to present the February/March 2016 Update for the bi-monthly PCEP Newsletter. We have stories from Hawai’i, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, and Guam. Also check out the web portal to access the resources mentioned in this newsletter.

If you have any comments or questions, please contact Emerson (odangoe@prel.org).


Piloting Place-based Education: Elements of Design in Hawai‘i and the Republic of the Marshall Islands

PCEP staff member Dr. Koh Ming Wei led workshops with teachers in Hawai‘i (HI) and the Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI), using the PCEP resource Place-based Education: Elements of Design. Place-based education creates opportunities for deep observation about and inquiry into a place. These skills are essential to understanding change and the causes and effects of change. This includes change at broad levels, such as climate change, and at localized levels, such as food security and culinary practices embedded in language and culture.

The HI workshop took place December 17–18, 2015 at Kua o ka Lā New Century Public Charter School located on Hawai‘i Island. The learning outcomes of this workshop were: (1) a cultivated sense of place, using local resources and expertise; (2) teachers becoming familiar with water science (e.g., warm ponds, pH, temperature, and Water for Life Handbook experiments); (3) teachers becoming familiar with assets-based mapping; (4) teachers being introduced to PREL/PCEP resources; and (5) teachers being introduced to Sense of Place research tasks and methods, and being able to apply them as assessments in their own classrooms.

The RMI workshop took place January 18–22, 2016 on Majuro. The first three days of the workshop focused on a ‘big idea’ or theme: (1) sustainable living is rooted in a deep knowledge of place; (2) we are all interconnected and related; and (3) the real world is the optimal learning environment. Each of these themes connected with a specific RMI Science Standard: (1) Science Inquiry and Habits of Mind (Standard 1); (2) Life Science (Standard 3); and (3) Environmental Science (Standard 6).

Both workshops used prompts from Place-based Education: Elements of Design to start the day. For example, for Day 1, the prompt on page 1 was used: “Think about a place that was special to you as a child.” This discussion then led to connections with the workshop learning outcomes of the day. For example, some teachers discussed specific skills and activities that they used to do with elders when they were children (e.g., fishing, farming, gathering, and crafting), but such skills and activities are no longer being done. The teachers observed that either the place has changed and/or the practice is no longer used. Such skills and activities are then discussed in the context of the Day 1 learning outcomes, which include science inquiry, habits of mind, stewardship, innovation, and adaptation. Cultivating a sense of place was also accomplished through activities involving food and preservation techniques. Teachers stated that they valued starting with place and their own experiences, and then expanding out to students and community.

report by Dr. Koh Ming Wei and Dr. Emerson Lopez Odango; photo courtesy of Dr. Koh Ming Wei 

Guam Agencies Host Get Ready Guam! 2016 Service Learning Summit

The Guam 2016 Service Learning & Youth Preparedness Summit was held on January 21–23, 2016. In light of the environmental conditions on Guam due to recent El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO) events, as well as anticipated impacts related to climate change, this year’s theme was Get Ready Guam! The summit included a two-day training for teachers, as well as Saturday all-day sessions for students. There were multiple agencies supporting the Summit this year. Among these were the Guam Department of Education (GDOE), Guam Homeland Security, Federal Emergency Management Agency, Guam Office of Civil Defense, Guam Youth Preparedness Council, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Island Girl Power, and PREL. In addition to the sponsoring agencies, there were presentations provided by the Guam Fire Department, Red Cross, Salvation Army, Guam Police Department, National Weather Service, University of Guam, and many more. PREL’s PCEP Program staff Pam Legdesog and GDOE Program Consultant Eloise Sanchez conducted sessions with teachers on how to apply climate information in developing service learning student projects. Teachers used the newly developed PCEP climate education resources and the Water for Life Handbook in creating service learning projects.

Over 100 students attended the Saturday Summit events with their school counselors and sponsors. In addition to attending presentations from the various agencies, students were taken through activities to strengthen their advocacy efforts and created sample outreach strategies. Of particular interest this year was the impact of climate conditions brought on by the current ENSO event.

report by and photo courtesy of Pam Legdesog

Climate Science Education Expanding in Republic of the Marshall Islands Schools

In RMI Public School System (PSS) classrooms, the Developmental Approaches in Science, Health, and Technology (DASH) Curriculum provided the baseline climate change introduction lessons for the Weather Unit in 3rd and 4th grades. DASH is an inquiry-based program for grades K6 that integrates science, health, and technology; it aligns with the PCEP Climate Education Framework. Rita, Uliga, and Delap Elementary Schools (K–6) participated in the DASH teacher trainings in 2015 with the assistance of PREL and Dr. Carol Brenan of the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa. The six teachers trained by PCEP to facilitate teaching of the Weather Unit in their schools have been able to bring on-board all other 3rd and 4th grade teachers to implement the unit. An overarching question is whether the DASH curriculum is making an impact in climate science education. The PSS Curriculum Instruction and Assessment (CIA) staff are doing weekly classroom observations, and we found many success stories on the teaching of climate education in the schools.

The Science Unit of the CIA is encouraging every early grade classrooms to promote the use of the ‘inventor’s box.’ It is a strategy that is rarely used by PSS teachers, but when it is used (e.g., during teacher training), teachers were very engaged and exercised their creativity. The inventor’s box has a collection of various recycled materials such as bottles, strings, scrap paper, tin cans, and caps. Groups were tasked to get six items from the inventor’s box to build, create, or engineer an idea, and then to present to the class.  The teachers creatively built many items, such as airplanes, boats, and towers. The overarching goal was to generate peer learning and collective thinking in multiple stages, from forming an idea, to choosing specific resources, to completing the idea, and then to presenting the model and explaining the process.

Another interesting observation is the integration of bilingual education with the DASH classroom. Teachers integrate terms in Marshallese (the first language of the community) into discussions about climate and weather. Those two words in particular are translated into Marshallese as Oktak ko ilo Mejatoto jen jikin non jikin, ekkar non bwil, molo ak jonan keto ko for ‘climate’ and Jekjek in Lan (katu) eo kio for ‘weather.’

report by and photo courtesy of Evelyn Joseph

PCEP Place-based Education Resource Endorsed by David Sobel

David Sobel, author of Place-based Education: Connecting Classrooms & Communities, is a leader in the field of place-based education (PBE). He has recently endorsed our Place-based Education: Elements of Design resource:

“…the PBE book that your organization developed is great. Clean, simple, very useable. Might use it in my place-based education class or some workshops. Thanks!”

We are always adding to the PCEP web portal at http://pcep.prel.org/resources/. Stay tuned for more resource updates and additions! Don’t forget to like us on Facebook for photos, articles, and announcements on climate in the Pacific region.

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Copyright © 2016 Pacific islands Climate Education Partnership, all rights reserved.

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