Climate Resilient Schools Teachers Network Workshop

On Saturday, September 28, The CLEO Institute held a Teachers Network Workshop. With over 40 teachers in attendance, CLEO provided educators, from various subjects and grade levels, the tools to incorporate climate change in their curriculum.

This workshop was part of the CLEO Institute’s Climate Resilient Schools program, in partnership with Miami-Dade County Public Schools and the support of Miami Dade County & The Batchelor Foundation.

The Teachers Network Workshop began with a 45-minute “State of the Climate” lecture given by former science teacher, principal, and founder of the CLEO Institute, Caroline Lewis. This presentation covered the science of the climate crisis, the extensive impacts of the warming of our planet, and the urgency of the situation. It is necessary to give teachers background knowledge on climate change, from the science to the solutions, so that they can effectively integrate these concepts in their own curriculum, lesson plans, and activities. Teachers were given a packet to take notes, connect concepts, and generate ideas.

Following this, teachers were given a presentation on how to “teach climate across the curriculum”. CLEO provided and discussed a planning tool to help teachers think about diverse climate issues they may want to focus on, varied interdisciplinary strategies and programs to implement lessons or activities in their classes or school activities, and partners and resources available. 

Dr. Leopoldo Llinas, Director of Environmental Stewardship and science teacher at Palmer Trinity School, provided examples of how teachers can effectively and creatively incorporate climate change into their teachings regardless of the subject that they teach. Examples included an ocean awareness contest for media-focused subjects such as art, music, and film. It also included the use of Google Expeditions to create a virtual reality to view the adverse effects of climate change, such as sea level rise, pairing well with technology and computer science classes. In addition, multiple books in the form of comic and cartoons were shared to help facilitate the conversation of climate change into English and language arts. This presentation ended with the importance of giving students hope when teaching about the climate crisis, to encourage conversation and advocacy in students, rather than disinterest or indifference. All of this information was later digitally provided to teachers for their future reference, to help develop the inclusion of climate change in their teachings.

Teachers then collaborated in breakout sessions to brainstorm and generate new ideas for their students and schools. For about forty-five minutes, participants were split into seven groups of three to six people. Groups came up with how they would integrate climate change into their classrooms and prepared quick presentations to share. Together, they were able to communicate their thoughts with each other, discuss obstacles they face in their teaching, and how they can be overcome with educational and engaging activities for students.

The last part of the workshop was dedicated to group presentations. Teachers came up to the front and talked about what ideas they discussed with their group. An example includes the use of Google Expeditions in computer science classrooms to create a virtual reality of South Florida with sea level rise. In addition, teachers from younger grade levels spoke about how they can effectively teach about climate change through more hands-on activities, such as the student using the family’s car to showcase the greenhouse gas effect. Teachers spoke about what they would like to initiate in their teaching and schools, expressing a knowledge gain and high interest. Afterwards, the workshop wrapped up and teachers left with the necessary information to bring CLEO to their schools.

2019, Climate Training, Q3Natalia Ortiz