School is the perfect place to equip children with the information and skills required to tackle the Climate Crisis as they grow up into active citizens. After all, they are the ones who will inherit this crisis and will have to tackle this issue face-to-face. Climate change education is a growing necessity in our schools.
But why discuss climate change in the classroom?
Teenager Greta Thunberg is a climate change activist, and has seated herself firmly at the table of the global debate. Amongst her impressive list of achievements is holding meetings with the UN Secretary General.
So, how did she succeed where so many large organisations have failed? She started small.
Thunberg began with a simple solo strike from school to protest climate change and has now inspired school strikes in more than 270 cities all over the world, from Europe and the US to Australia and Japan. More than 20,000 students have been involved in these strikes, proving that young people today are deeply invested not only in politics, but also in all social and environmental issues.
Greta Thunberg has become a role model for her generation and for climate change in education.
Of all the things we teach, lessons about the environment are perhaps the most important. The planet is changing fast and our own activities are driving that change.
What is Greta the Great?
Taken from my book, Literacy Beyond the Classroom, Greta the Great is a 5-lesson project that looks into the dilemma of a growing economy and a depleting environment and how it can be approached positively through environment storytelling. Your children will research, write persuasive letters and take a stand on the issue of global warming.
Designed to challenge children to be informed and think about their responsibilities, your class will also write, perform and film their own class video in response to current events. Children will then share their class video with your school community to help promote awareness of this issue and challenge them to help, whilst simultaneously celebrating their literacy. You can do this in a whole school assembly. and by publishing it in an online school newsletter. The project covers Geography and Science, as well as ICT and literacy curriculum objectives.
All resources and full planning are free and available on Adobe EdEx:
View a completed student example of Greta the Great:
Interview with Neil Roskilly
Interviewed for Greta the Great is Neil Roskilly, Chief Executive of the Independent Schools Association, the charity and membership association that represents 535+ schools, 11,000 teachers and 116,000 pupils in the UK. His 36-year career in education includes headship and teaching in both the state and independent sectors, as well as international and extensive governance experience.
On exposing children to global issues, Neil discusses how, “Parents are fighting a battle because, through tech, children are being exposed to global news and events in a way that has never happened before. Children need to be taught the coping skills and strategies that will help them to make sense of an increasingly complex world. Schools have an important part to play here, just as parents do, in helping children acclimatise and develop an understanding of the issues that affect their lives. It helps that children on the whole are passionate and concerned global citizens, perhaps more so than any previous generation. Any open and democratic society wants its citizens to be politically aware and engaged in the decision-making process at a local and national level. Isolating children from the events around them will only lead to disenfranchisement and a sense of helplessness.”
Schools can encourage children to have an active say in global issues like climate change in the classroom.
Here’s that resource link again:
If you enjoyed Greta the Great, check out Literacy Beyond the Classroom, which improves English progress at Key Stage 2 by 3.75 times the UK national average. This innovative approach links global challenges to the five key National Curriculum areas in English: reports, instructions, persuasive language, fiction and poetry, and presentation skills, presenting ready-to-use lesson plans, exercises and activities to help teachers bring this concept to life in the primary classroom.
All projects can be completed using Adobe Spark. By teaching English in this practical, purposeful and meaningful way, we can inspire the YouTube generation to learn the literacy skills they need to influence the world around them and have a positive impact as global citizens.
Dominic is the Education Evangelist EMEA for Adobe Education. Before joining Adobe, Dominic found his passion for combining literacy with digital skills as a primary teacher both in the UK and internationally. From there, he was part of the first cohort on Emerge Education and used that as a springboard to start an education social enterprise. In 2018, he won the EDUCATE award from the Institute Of Education for a 4 month research project into improving KS2 writing using digital skills at 3.75 times the national average rate of progress.