The Ecological Footprint:
Professional Development, Curriculum, & Support Packages
Topics: human-environmental interactions; energy, water, atmosphere (The “Commons”); global/regional issues; culture and equity; consumption; biomes; population; technology; climate issues
Audience: grades 3-5, 6-8, 9-12, higher ed, adult ed
Disciplines: environmental science, earth science, biology, geography/global studies, history, civics, language arts, math
Career Connections: climatology, geology, geography, international studies, law, environmental policy, government, demographics, statistics
Level I programs introduce new ways of reframing content and instruction through a lens of human-environmental impacts, population, consumption, and related themes. Participants envision and define possibilities for change as they experience approaches they can replicate in their own classes. A typical package includes:
Example: An educational institution is seeking ways to improve student achievement and engagement, and wants to explore sustainability as a possible theme for reframing curriculum. In a two-day workshop, Creative Change engages teachers in hands-on activities that explore human-environmental interactions. Environment trends, energy use, “source and sinks,” and the links between culture and ecology are among the topics explored. Educators review age-specific curricula and resources, and evaluate ways the approaches can be integrated to meet achievement goals.
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Our Plan the Change programs provide 3-6 months of strategic planning to help institutions define goals, strategies, evaluation, and a timeline. The work is guided by our Instruction Change framework, a needs assessment tool that examines institutional culture, curriculum, professional development, and other factors affecting the successful integration of sustainability.
Example: After collecting data on faculty impressions and interests, Creative Change meets with the leadership team to develop a plan for integrating sustainability into the curriculum in ways that support existing initiatives.
Level III programs provide professional development, curriculum licensing and ongoing support focused on revising curriculum, courses and programs. Spread over a year or more, a typical package includes:
Example: After completing the levels I and II, an same institution works with Creative Change to map out a year-long initiative focused on reframing core units around Ecological Footprint themes of human-environmental interactions, policies to advance sustainability, and related economic and cultural issues. The initiative unfolds over a calendar year in three steps: A) on-site professional development, B) instructional redesign, and C) evaluation and communication.
Workshops begin by immersing teachers in content knowledge and research-based pedagogical strategies. To model effective approaches, the sessions engage staff in hands-on activities they can replicate with their students, followed by thoughtful analysis and discussion. Approaches include:
Through these activities, educators define how the Ecological Footprint can serve as context for improving achievement. Staff then evaluates their existing units or courses and set goals for reshaping them. A science teacher integrates energy use and impacts on the atmosphere, while a math teacher uses peer-reviewed global footprint data to teach ratios. A geography instructor plans a 6-week investigation of the Ecological Footprint in order to meet requirements for a regional studies course. Each educator develops ways for students to utilize the campus as a learning context. to assess environmental impacts and make suggestions for reducing the collective footprint.
The PD now shifts to the on-the-ground work of redesigning instruction based on the goals set. Creative Change’s approach to instructional design provides educators with a process and framework for planning units that start with students’ experiences, build an integrated knowledge base, and culminate in meaningful civic engagement. Multimedia curriculum resources from the on-line Curriculum and Resource Center support teachers as they
More on our approach to content and pedagogy.
As faculty continue their work in a learning community approach, Creative Change provides on-going planning support through phone, email, and in-person meetings. Support strategies include unit planning, developing assessments, and evaluation support. For example, Creative Change develops specialized assessment tools to ensure the project meets achievement goals.
By the end of the year, the faculty have evaluated the impacts of its work and wants to replicate the approaches in other areas of the curriculum. To support this, Creative Change compiles pictures, reports, presentations and other documentation in order to communicate results to the district- or organizational leadership team and provide models for replication. Based on the success of the work, the collaboration with Creative Change grows to other departments or schools through a Level III program.
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Level III programs enable schools and districts to deepen instructional change by building internal capacity to institutionalize successful approaches and/or integrate additional Creative Change programs. Clients gain training, resources and strategic planning assistance focused on preparing an internal team to lead, evaluate, and sustain instructional change. These packages, spread over two or more years, typically include