Welcome to our new Beyond Recycling (BR) independent teacher resources. We have had so many rave reviews for our year-long deep dive into sustainability topics and actions, but we just can’t reach as many students as we would like. This is where our sparkling new program comes in! We are proud to introduce the Community of Future program designed for teachers. Please scroll down to learn more.
BR has spent over a decade developing teacher and BR educator environmental educational resources for youth. In 2021, Beyond Recycling asked over 90 past and present BR Teachers to provide feedback on the program and define what they want in additional environmental education resources. After reviewing teacher feedback, our team of 12 professional environmental BR educators gathered in Fairmont Hot Springs to brainstorm and develop an impactful new series of independent BR teacher lesson resources. The goal? To allow students to address their future with a perspective of hope and to make this learning easy to access and teach for busy classroom teachers.
In 2022/23, 9 teachers participated in a special pilot of our new environmental education resources. Participating teachers throughout the region utilized the program resources and shared their experience, and brilliant minds with us by providing feedback in exchange for a two-hundred-dollar honorarium.
The Community of the Future program plans to launch in Jan 2024 in partnership with the Outdoor Learning Store.
Why? Research has shown that many of our youth don’t even have the tools to imagine anything but an apocalyptic future for themselves. Research has also shown the importance of hope, grounded in truth, in presenting complex environmental topics. Instead of starting with all of the shocking statistics, depressing facts, and stories of despair, Beyond Recycling has decided to flip that on its head. Instead of messages of doom, we’ve chosen to help students dream of a safe, clean, and thriving future, a future they are happy to see themselves as a part of. As psychologist Renee Lertzman argues, there is a delicate balance that must be considered between holding our conflicted feelings about the state of the future.
What? The video-based lessons set the stage for the culminating, hands-on, and creative “Communities of the Future” group design and building challenge. The first lesson introduces the project, the following five lessons delve into the main community categories: waste, food, energy, transportation, and water, and then the final lesson sets students up to start their build. The program is designed for students in grades 4 through 7.
How long? We have developed these resources with flexibility in mind. Each of the lessons can be completed in just 15-20 minutes, which includes the background and the essential learning to help the students to understand the task and begin their community planning. However, if teachers would like to take the learning a little deeper or have the time to reinforce the concepts there is a “buffet” of extension activities, including hands-on activities, games, and outdoor learning opportunities. After your students watch the 7 video lessons, teachers also need to set aside time for group work.
Where? All program resources will be available on the new Community of the Future Beyond website. All the content for each of the lessons can be found in one spot. Getting started is as easy as clicking play on the video. The video content and the planning booklet help guide students through the process of designing a sustainable community of the future that gives an overview of the topic and highlights local community projects and individuals that are working to develop a sustainable future.
Links to curriculum? Communities of the Future ties into the BC curriculum in many ways. Direct links can be found with science, social studies, applied skills, design, and technology. The BC curriculum’s ADST design guidelines are used as a base for the final culminating activity. The extension buffer also includes curriculum-connected activities as part of the program extensions (i.e. English Language Arts, Arts, Mathematics). Specific links to the curriculum will be included in future versions of the program.
Assessment? The student planning booklet has room for notes, drawings, and reflections on each lesson. It also serves as a reference for project ‘design principles’ and contains a success checklist so that students are aware of the assessment criteria. A suite of student assessment tools are also included with the program.