YA Eco Mysteries, Memoirs, Novels & Travel
PBL and Environmental Fiction
ENVIRONMENTAL FICTION AND PROJECT-BASED LEARNING
"To sunshine, clear water, and sparkling skies and to the kids who are cleaning up the Earth.” Jean Craighead George
Butterfly Awareness Day, Birmingham Botanical Gardens
This blog serves two purposes. First, it provides a list of environmental fiction that students would enjoy and will fit neatly into the core curricula you will be teaching. Second, the blog demonstrates a way to apply what they have learned from reading to their own projects, using Project-Based Learning.
Ecological Mystery Series by Jean Craighead George:
* The Missing ‘Gator of Gumbo Limbo
* Who Really Killed Cock Robin?
* Fire Bug Connection
* The Case of the Missing Cutthroats
Ecological Mystery Series by Claire Datnow:
The Adventures of The Sizzling Six: The Lone Tree
The Adventures of The Sizzling Six: Who Stole The Cahaba Lilly?
The Adventures of The Sizzling Six: The Living Treasure
The Adventures of The Sizzling Six: Who Kidnapped The Koala?
The Adventures of The Sizzling Six: The Return of the Red-cockaded Clan
The Adventures of The Sizzling Six: Monarch Mysteries (slated for publication October, 2014)
A free, printable teacher handout—a cross-curricula Project-Project Based unit on “Writing Eco Mysteries,” can be downloaded from my website: www.mediamint.net
For additional book suggestions please explore tihese links:
Teachers For Earth Day
Environmental Literature in the Classroom
Just for fun:
Gary Larson's gloriously humorous There's a Hair in My Dirt! A Worm's Story proves that the idea of "the interconnectedness of all things" is a physical reality, not just a cliché.
Recent Eco-Cinema: A List of Ten Must-See Films
Turkey Creek Nature Preserve, Alabama
Part 2: How to Apply Project-Based Learning:
I whole-heartedly welcome the news that teachers in our state are being encouraged to implement project-based learning (PBL) in their classrooms. When I taught in the Birmingham Public School System, I found this method to be a most effective and efficient way to get the students truly engaged in higher-level learning.
Indeed, Alabama State Superintendent, Tommy Bice, is traveling the state telling teachers that the days of memorizing just to pass a test are no longer sufficient for our students. Instead, many teachers will be adopting project-based learning that focuses on problem solving. PBL will enable students to conduct in-depth investigations of important topics, and help them develop and implement the knowledge and skills they will need in the future.
Here’s just a sample of the projects my students accomplished using PBL:
*Produced and performed in a Shakespearian play before the entire school each year.
*Built a school nature trail and published an accompanying guide that was funded by the community.
*Wrote, edited and published a monthly newspaper for the school (including laying out the newspaper using computer software back in the early 1990s).
*Joined the Adopt-A-Stream program to monitor the water quality of a stream adjacent to the school grounds.
To my surprise and delight one of my students contacted me, on Facebook, about a time capsule his class created and placed in the Birmingham Public Library Archives twenty years ago. He said that he has thought about the project over the years and asked if he it was possible to open it. Another student, also contacted me on Facebook, to thank me for “showing her how to be in this world,” and hoped that she could pass that on to her own children. I’ll be meeting with these former students for a follow-up project. Stay tuned!
More recently, I began writing and publishing a series of eco-mysteries, The Adventures of The Sizzling Six for grades 4-7. In this series, six determined teens plunge into an exciting eco adventure to help save an endangered species. It’s a timely series that inspires students to become eco detectives and then to implement their own projects—using Project Based Learning.
To help teachers kick off their own projects, I’ve created a cross-curricula unit, How to Become an Eco Detective. The unit is free and can be printed directly from my website at:
I am available for classroom presentations and for teacher workshops. Please do not hesitate to contact me at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Project Based Learning
What is Project-Based Learning
Project-Based Learning Check List
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