(Also see Communication & Journalism, Drama & Theatre, Writing)
Clearly, English and Language Arts classes can benefit from a variety of subject matter. While serious matters should not be treated merely as exercises, we think the classroom teacher is key to preventing trivialization by framing the activities as being of serious concern and of importance in students’ lives.
Following are a few sample areas that might help initiate or deepen student discussion and exploration. Would these be helpful in your classes?
- Have students read fiction and non-fiction works about a future under global warming and facilitate discussions about the facts and implications. (See possible readings below.)
- Show short videos dealing with climate change climate change, fossil fuels, renewable energy sources, and related matters, and about them; have students facilitate discussions about the facts, controversies, and implications.
- Have students write about the impacts climate change may have on their own lives in different writing genres, such as essays, fiction, journalism, and poetry. Some possibilities for getting started:
- Results of the COP events, especially COP21 & COP22.
- Possible effects of the failure to reduce GHG emissions, keep fossil fuels in the ground, or transition more rapidly enough to renewable sources of energy.
- Ways students and communities are acting to raise awareness, to mitigate climate change resulting from global warming, or to stop harmful practices and initiate sustainable ones
- Complex topics such as global warming and sustainability matters benefit from a strong focus on substance.
- Thoughts and feelings about global warming and its significance for their futures can help inspire deeper, more substantive expression in student writing, discussions, and oral presentations.
A variety of suggested readings are listed in the Readings for students section. In addition to selections that focus directly on global warming, some are intended to raise environmental and social awareness.
Links and Additional Resources for English Language Arts
- Children of the Earth website – ideas, writing, and lessons by students (Amazing Animals, Awesome Activities, Creative Kids, Earth Issues, Eco-Careers, Great Books, Green Homes, Native Wisdom, Nature Programs, Powerful Plants, Recycling, We Give Thanks)
- Climate Change and Your Community. Two short video clips from PBS.
- Cross-Curricular Math, English, and Science Lesson. Open Educational Resources website.
- Does Climate Change Have a Place in the English Classroom? [PDF] Article by Lorna Collier, includes useful references for reading & writing related to climate change. [http://climatechangeela.pbworks.com/w/file/fetch/122408988/NCTE%20Council%20Chronicle%20article.pdf]
- English Teachers Concerned about Climate Change website & blog. [etcccsite.com]
- Haiku [PDF]. North Texas Institute for Educators…. [ntieva.unt.edu]
- How to Teach High-School Students to Spot Fake News. Slate.com, December 2016. [www.slate.com/articles/technology/future_tense/2016/12/media_literacy_courses_help_high_school_students_spot_fake_news.html]
- Political Stages, Edited by Emily Mann & David Roessel. Applaude Theatre & Cinema Books, 2002. Short plays by 20th-century playwrights (with introductions). [www.halleonardbooks.com/product/viewproduct.action?itemid=314499&subsiteid=166]
- Teaching Climate Change in English Language Arts, by Richard Beach. Literacy & NTCE website. [blogs.ncte.org/index.php/2016/03/teaching-climate-change-english-language-arts]
- What did you do once you knew?, by Drew Dellinger, included in Love Letter To the Milky Way.
- Why I must Speak Out About Climate Change, by James Hansen (2012)
TED talk, runtime: about 18 minutes [www.ted.com/talks/james_hansen_why_i_must_speak_out_about_climate_change]
- Why Teach About Climate Change in English Language Arts, in Teaching Climate Change to Adolescents: Reading, Writing, and Making a Difference by Richard Beach, Jeff Share, and Allen Webb. Routledge, Spring 2017. [climatechangeela.pbworks.com/w//100551079/FrontPage]