Sunday, January 17, 2010

14 Weeks to Earth Day! Week 3: Family!


The family is one of nature's masterpieces. 
- George Santayana

I am back in Florida, with my southern “family” of friends, who, like my northern family nourish my being with their kindness and inspire my soul with their dedication and joy.  My biological family has been scattered across this Earth from early on; aside from being sent off to boarding school, we all emigrated from the UK before we were twenty!   Boarding school taught me that family is not just a biological construct; it is larger than that, it is the whole human family and the more we are open to that concept, the more we are blessed to discover brothers, sisters, cousins, aunts, uncles, mothers and fathers everywhere.

Today, we are a connected world; we receive instant feeds of information from around the globe and we form friendships and bonds with people we have never even met.  The tragic earthquake in Haiti this month demonstrated how people and governments from all corners of the Earth can mobilize to help when necessary and there is hope that together we will collaborate in the future to overcome the certain challenges awaiting us all.

So this Post is about the human family and how we might learn to celebrate our differences and learn to cooperate even more.

Lesson Plans:
1.  The Little Earth Charter- Principle No. 3 is The Family.  The Principle of Family means doing everything that you can to make sure everyone in the human family is well treated.  What do the children think that this means?  Ask them to draw pictures of themselves; collect some photographs of children in other countries and discuss how their lives are different, or the same.  Since Haiti is in the news right now, that might be a good place to begin; younger children might talk about what they would like to do to help the children there.  For older students, understanding Teachers Without Borders has a Teachers Guide to Earthquake Science and Safety.
2.  Earth Day originated in the US but is now celebrated around the world as a day which broadens support for environmental concerns, raises awareness and rekindles public commitment to protect the environment.  You can learn all about Earth Day, register your event, or find our about other events at the Earth Day Network.  2010 is the 40th anniversary of the first Earth Day!  Plan something with your class, at your school or in your community.  It doesn’t have to be complicated, it could be something simple like
3.  “Sustainability is the development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.”  Brundtland Commission Report of the United Nations.   Teaching children about sustainability will help them to become better stewards of the Earth.  The US Environmental Protection Agency has some good Teaching Resources.  
4.  Dolphins, like humans, are very social animals; they travel together in pods and females give birth to live calves and are sometimes helped by other females called aunts.  Elephants are another species of animal that lives in a very structured social order.  Invite students to learn about both of these animals and to look at how their Family Structures are similar to those of humans.  All About Dolphins has some interesting information about dolphin species as does EarthTrust   Scientists say that Dolphins should be treated as “Non-Human” persons.  What do your students think about this?  Do they think that animals have feelings?  If so, is there a line to be drawn between say dolphins and ants?
5.  For younger children, play Rosie's Heart This interactive game shows kids how dolphins are connected to them through tuna fish.
Action of the Week: In celebration of Earth Day’s 40th Anniversary write up 40 Things You Can Do to Protect the Earth!  Make this into a poster and hang it in the entrance of our school!

Story: I found these personal stories of Compassion and Collaboration which illustrate the notion of the human family and people helping each other.

Songs:  There are two songs that could complement the subject of Family; one is Dolphin Teach us to Play! And the other is The Rainbow Road.  Both of these are uploaded to my MySpace page.  Have fun exploring the concept of Family! I am certainly most grateful for mine both the biological and the larger one; they sustain me and help me to be a better person.  And remember..."You don't choose your family. They are God's gift to you, as you are to them." 
 Desmond Tutu

Animation designs by JC Little at  Little Animation
If you would like to purchase a copy of the Little Earth Charter DVD you can do so at Little Animation Shop

No comments:

Post a Comment