This Friday, our student-led Middle School Environmental Ambassador’s Club (EAC) led a march to address climate change. The optional march took place during recess in support of the Global Youth Climate Strike organized by teenage climate activist Greta Thunberg. Our girls (Grades 3-8) marched down Broadway to Fillmore to Jackson and back, in support of climate justice for all.
Rise To the Challenge (RTC) is the intensive for our Grade 7 students. Intensives are a concentrated period of study where an entire grade is working on a project or projects, with profound research and preparation, followed by a public event. These intensives are designed with Hamlin’s mission in mind, as our students meet the challenges of their time.
RTC really started in autumn when students began going on various field trips where they volunteered and learned about how nonprofits serve a community. In addition to those engaging experiences, throughout the year students listened to many guest speakers who shared their altruistic wisdom and inspiration.
This preliminary work culminated with Grade 7 students choosing their own RTC topics, doing in-depth research, then sharing their findings, providing short and long-term solutions to various problems.
This year’s topics were: Improving Maternal Health, Minimizing Risk of Genetic Diseases in Newborns, Improving Public Access to Quality Food, Creating Environmentally Friendly Packaging and Shipping, Challenges Involved with Autonomous Cars, Opiate Addiction, Technology and Well-being, LBGTQ+ Rights, Oceans and Plastics, Environmental Conservation, Sexual Assault on College Campuses, Reducing Gun Violence, Reproductive Rights for Women, Dangers Facing Various Ecosystems
Many teams used technology to generate awareness, including: videos, websites, and Change.org petitions. Some groups did fundraising through bake sales; others conducted raffles to raise funds. Proceeds went to various organizations, including the Marine Mammal Center, the National Institute on Drug Abuse, and the World Wildlife Fund.
Avery, a Grade 8 student, just returned from a 3-day training with the Climate Reality Leadership Corps in Los Angeles. In the above photo, Avery is standing with youth poet laureate, Amanda Gorman (who also participated in the event).
The mission of Climate Reality is to catalyze a global solution to the climate crisis by making urgent action a necessity across every level of society. The Earth is facing a climate crisis, driven by fossil fuels. At Climate Reality, we’re here to make urgent action a necessity. In politics. In business. In every aspect of our lives. Everywhere. Urgent action to cut greenhouse gas emissions and speed the global shift to renewables. Urgent action to make world leaders strengthen and honor their Paris Agreement commitments. Led by former US Vice President Al Gore and CEO and President Ken Berlin, we do it by empowering everyday people to become activists, equipped with the tools, training, and network to fight for solutions and drive change planet-wide. The result is nearly 14,500 Climate Reality Leaders mobilizing communities in over 100 countries. Branches in 10 critical nations and regions around the Earth. Over 80 activists chapters (and growing) pushing for practical clean energy policies across the US. Together, they add up to a powerful movement growing by the day. One by the people. Of the people. For the planet.
Avery shared the following about the training conference:
“It was very interesting because Al Gore showed us how to give a presentation on climate change. He encouraged us to use the slides that stuck out for us. I’m planning on giving a presentation with my mom to a group of friends and family, then probably in front of other people as well. I’m so glad I went, it made me feel like I know so much more about climate change.”
To learn more about The Climate Reality Project, please visit: https://www.climaterealityproject.org/
The Hamlin.org Global Citizenship webpages needed to be created, and Dan was preparing for a seminar he was leading about Global Citizenship. We wanted to have visual content to supplement the written/spoken material that had already been assembled. What better than a student created iMovie project to meet these needs!?
Dan Polk, Director of Global Citizenship, and Marisa Felt Bellingrath, Assistant Head of School, teamed up to envision the project and created a proposal for two Grade 8 students, Ava and Bella, to complete.
Jim Lengel, Middle School Tech Integration Specialist, and Liz Beck, Project Manager LMS, were teaching Bella and Ava in the Digital Art Elective at the time of the project.
Q: What grade level were you working with?A:Dan Polk and Liz Beck: Grade 8Q: What were your goals going into the project?A:DP: The central goal of the project was provide a broad overview of Hamlin’s Global Citizenship program, one that incorporated the voices of both students and faculty.LB: Both students who created the video had been in Digital Arts for 5 trimesters. They are iMovie and Photoshop power users and are very talented esthetically. We needed a project that would challenge these students and help them take their skills to the next level – creating digital content that can be used in a real world context, and learning how to work as a part of a team to execute a creative project.Q: How did you roll out the project?A:LB: Originally, Dan asked me to work on this project. While I was happy to help, the timing perfectly coincided with the start of Trimester 2 of Digital Art and the struggle I was experiencing with keeping the course relevant to Ava and Bella.
Dan arranged a time to meet with Ava and Bella during Digital Art. He introduced the scope of the project, as well as its goals and timeline. He and Marisa also dropped in periodically to check on their progress. The students knew I was there as a resource, but overall they managed the project independently and worked on it both during Digital Art and on their free time.DP: I also provided the students with music ideas, images, and questions to pose to faculty/students.Q: If you were to do the project again what (if anything) would you change?A:DP: I might include a live shot or two of students doing something Global Citizenship related, skyping, working in the community etc.