Saturday, June 22, 2019

Sustainable Development Goals: Why we must teach them and resources to help

We only have one planet and we’re not doing a great job protecting it, nor many of the people in it. By now,  there aren’t too many people who would disagree with this. So the question is about how we can shift the habits of adults and develop sustainable habits in children - our future. This post is less about what we have to do, and more about how we can do it in our classrooms and model sustainable practices ourselves. Feel free to skip to this Wakelet collection of resources
But first, a little bit about the UN Sustainable Development Goals. (also known as the Global Goals) 

In 2000, the UN set eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), with the aim to eradicate poverty, hunger, illiteracy, and disease. The goals were specifically targeted but faced criticism for omitting some critical areas. In 2015 a multi-year process involving civil society, governments, the private sector, and academia culminated in the SDGs. The aim was to account for the shortcomings of the MDGs. The new SDGs - 17 in all - are more comprehensive and have set targets for the year 2030. Learn about the SDGs in this short UN-sponsored video and at this specialized UN website for SGDs. Here is another short video from The Global Goals on YouTube. 

How about a few classroom project ideas? Our classrooms are a great place for educators to do their part at every grade level and any age range. The resources available online for educators (and individuals) is immense. One of my classroom applications have included student research on a popular brand that culminated in a ‘report card’ that assessed the ethical practices of a brand with consideration of SDGs and World Fair Trade Organization principles. (the final action was a public service announcement campaign in which students posted their videos around the school using posters with QR codes) Another was a World Health Summit in which students had to research one disease outbreak and present a power-pitch to a hypothetical sponsoring entity, trying to convince them that their disease needed funding. The power pitch had to include a consideration of SDGs. We also had an election campaign simulation in which students had to consider SDGs while developing their party platforms. We’ve done a letter writing campaign as well. While I’m still on my ‘teaching SDGs journey’, I’ve quickly found that SDGs can be incorporated into pretty much any unit of inquiry. 

The remainder of this post is to give you some starting points for your classroom. 

Teacher Learning & Advocacy

Microsoft-sponsored course for teaching SDGs - A program “designed for educators and all those who would like to teach children and young people about the Sustainable Development Goals, commonly known as the Global Goals.” It includes a wide range of resources from the World’s Largest Lesson. 

Participate Courses - A series of online courses that will empower your teaching of SDGs.

TeachSDGs website - A website with a “goal of actively supporting and enhancing the work of the United Nations' efforts within K-12 classrooms…”. A wealth of resources for the classroom. Check out their Ambassador Program and mission. 

SDGs on Twitter - #TeachSDGs, @TeachSDGs@WorldsLargestLesson, #worldslargestlesson

Activities & Resources

170 Daily Actions - A great list of actionable ways to live the SDGs. Great for anyone. Tweet one per day. 

The Global Citizen Project - Join the movement to Think Global, Act Local and empower your students as global citizens. Whether you just want to stay informed or take the monthly Global Goals challenge with your students, complete the form and let's be changemakers!

Go Goals Game - A downloadable board game to help familiarize your students with SDGs. 

Skype Lesson Plans - See how you can employ Skype (or another video conferencing tool such as Hangouts or Zoom) in your classroom.

The World We Want - A pdf booklet that will give you some ideas for elementary and middle school learners. 

Thomas & Friends Life Lessons - Thomas & Friends have a series of videos that help educators and parents teach young learners about SDGs. 

SDGs in Action app - You and your students can download the SDGs in Action app on your mobile or iPad device through Google Play or the App Store.

World’s Largest Lesson - Scroll through the resource library. It is age-specific, has comics, animated videos, Global Goals games and more. There is a Student Action tab with practical activities and ideas for students to apply what they’ve learned. - A site with quick access to information and ideas.

Action for Sustainable Development - An organization that highlights activities worldwide with an interactive world map. The “Leave No One Behind” initiative intends to empower all, especially those marginalized and not benefitting from the Global Goals initiative. 

Communication and media downloads - These come from the United Nations and include the SDGs colour wheel, printable SDGs posters, and printable icons of each of the 17 goals.  

Other Resources

SDG Fund
UN Library on SDGs
SDG Action Campaign


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