Sharing The Planet

I want to share three videos that could be really good to use in your classroom.  All three focus on human interaction with our planet. They are short, interesting, and most of all, contain an important message that we can be sharing with our students.

Our Biggest Challenge

The first video is a melodic offering from Symphony of Science.  The gentlemen you see and/or hear in this video are Bill Nye, Sir David Attenborough, Richard Alley, and Isaac Asimov. Their words have been masterfully mixed together to create a dynamic video on Climate Change.

The Axis of Awesome – Make the Change (Not the Climate Change)

This is a great video made by Australians!  My former neighbors are raising awareness about The Reef and how one of the world’s greatest natural wonders is about to be destroyed because there is money to be made.  The video urges us to make a change (not a climate change).

From Toilet to Table – Overcoming the Yuk Factor

My friend and inspirational human being Erica Lloyd works for SOIL in Haiti.  She and her colleagues were recently featured on the BBC website for their work in restoring sanitation to thousands of Haitians following the devastating earthquake in 2010. The video explains how providing clean sanitation is also providing nutrient rich soil for Haitian vegetable farmers.'s%20fight%20against%20disease%20with%20the%20eco%20toilet&product=news

This last video is particularly meaningful to me because of Erica’s involvement in and passion for, the organization for which she works.  When my kids last year began their PYP Exhibition journey, Erica took the time to Skype with a group of students who were also interested in humanitarian causes.  Our friend Beth, shared the following about Erica when she posted a link to the BBC piece on her newsfeed:

For some time now, I’ve been in awe of my sweet friend Erica Lloyd (who appears in the video at 0:44 -a BBC star!). She gave up a very comfortable life in the metro D.C. area to go to Haiti and work with a program called SOIL, helping to combat diseases such as cholera while educating the community on proper hygiene and sanitation. They have created a system that not only controls human waste, and offers simple necessities such as toilets to those who do not have them, but also recycles the waste as fertilizer to enable the people to grow their own crops in an otherwise stubborn environment. They are saving lives, and making it possible for these residents to live a more dignified, self-sufficient, and clean existence. I’m not sure I would have that kind of resilience, frankly; which is why I thought it was time to ask all of my FB friends to take a moment to watch this video, read the story, and recognize the efforts of Erica and the folks like her who truly do dedicate their lives to helping folks better their own.

How could these videos work in your classroom?

Inquiry, Inspiration, PYP

Dear Future…

I am pretty much always looking to connect what I curate to my students in my classroom. I think it opens a window to the bigger picture, brings in different perspectives, and makes us feel – happy, sad, mad, excited, inspired.  I want to spark the possibility that they CAN.  Do more, be more, say more, lead more.

After watching Kid President today I heard a few tentative, “Could we make our ideas into a video?” from a couple of voices.  YES, YES, YES!  I don’t know if they will or not – I will certainly support them – but I love that they are making that connection.

After Skyping with my friend, Erica Lloyd, a humanitarian from the US, living in Haiti and working for SOIL, I noticed one of the kids had drawn a circular diagram in his book that read: THINK – LEARN – DO. He listened to Erica explain that she thought a lot about what she wanted to do, then how she researched, visited, talked with, observed, listened, and asked questions to educate herself, and then put her ideas, knowledge, heart, and soul into action to go out and do something to make a difference.  I loved that she was able to explain this to my kids and that they picked up on it.  Inspired!

I see in my daughter this same kind of thinking.  She is a sponge.  It is staggering the things she can do and how quickly she thinks, learns, does. We offer our support, she eats it up. I think about her when I am offering options to my kids. I want them to be introduced to as much as possible and for them to think, learn, and do at their pace (or maybe with a gentle push?!).

I watched a really beautiful video in celebration of World Down Syndrome Day.  Titled, “Dear Future Mom…” it is an inspired piece of work that challenges stereotypes and celebrates life. I keep watching it because it just seems so hopeful, so strong….and then the moms come into shot to hug their kids and the love is palpable. It is….just watch it, you’ll see for yourself:

We celebrate lots of different days at school so World Down Syndrome day will be shared in my class tomorrow, along with this video. I am curious to see their reaction. As well as thinking about why this video was created, I also want them to think about the idea behind the video: sending a message into the future.

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In his brilliant work, Ship It, a guide to Linchpin, Seth Godin calls you to pause before beginning your big project and asks you to evaluate the outcome now.  To write your feelings down about how you did, how you felt when your work was done, what made you successful, how you feel about yourself, and any other messages of congratulations or support to your future self. It is the epitome of Starting with the end in mind. I love it.  (SIDE NOTE: I often start the PYP Exhibition by using the majority of  pages from SHIP IT to get kids thinking and discussing – it is awesome, try it!).

The past two years, I have done this when starting the PYP Exhibition.  We write letters, we seal them, we put them in a safe place.  We open them after all is said and done and we laugh, share, giggle, hug, and celebrate our victory all over again. That’s on tomorrow’s agenda and I can’t wait.

What does your “Dear Future…” look like?