School Interview

School of Creative and Performing Arts

Mrs. Suzcek’s first grade class was asked how they help to take care of the earth. The following drawings are their responsive journal entries.

scpa_art-01While at SCPA, we also had our “teacher questionnaire” filled out:

Is sustainability currently a focus in your classroom?

We recycle and will read books about recycling. At the start of the school year, we will be taking a trip to an apple farm where the students will be learning about plants.

Are there any initiatives in place to promote sustainability? 

recycling, lights off when leaving the room, half lights off during the day, saving paper, using scraps. We will be having someone come in from Ohio Soil and Water to talk to the students.

Are there any materials that you feel would be beneficial for you to have in the classroom to help students better understand sustainability? 

interactive games, games that demonstrate the importance

Do you feel that there are particular topics regarding sustainability and the environment that are not being met by the current curriculum? 

Each grade level has different standards and topics to learn about. First grade focuses more on the scientific process. Next will be the environmental unit.

What do your students currently learn in science class?

Scientific process, observation, prediction, etc. Physical change, properties of water

Do your students already seem to have an interest / knowledge of sustainable living?

Many of the students are knowledgeable about recycling because we do it at school. It seems some families recycle.

Advertisements

St. Peter Claver Latin School for Boys

St. Peter Claver Latin School for Boys is located in the Over the Rhine area of Cincinnati, Ohio. The school has about 30 kids total in grades K-8, keeping the classroom sizes small and intimate. We were able to visit the school and meet with two classrooms of boys, first the second and third graders (group 1), second the kindergarten and first graders (group 2) . We were also able to meet with the teachers during this time, and were able to collect the following data:

teacher
  • While sustainability isn’t currently a focus of the lectures in the 2nd/3rd grade classroom, they do have a recycling bin in their room. In Kindergarten and first grade have been looking at these concepts regularly for the past 2 years and Keep Cincinnati Beautiful visits the school once or twice a year. The older boys are also able to go on a field trip with Keep Cincinnati Beautiful to visit Rumpke. They have also participated in neighborhood clean up.
  • The current initiatives in place to promote sustainability are: Recycling, no littering, turning the lights off. The First graders are learning about paper recycling in particular (what is okay to put in the bin).
  • Teachers felt that games and picture books would be beneficial materials to have in the classroom to help promote sustainability. They were also open to any other materials if we had any ideas.
  • One teacher felt that working environmental lessons into religion lessons helped the students take the topic more seriously because they are caring for what god has given us.
  • Right now it seems that students are mostly learning about animals and weather

The students provided a lot of wonderful insight as to what they like, don’t like, know, and enjoy learning about as well. They were full of answers and personality. We wanted to focus on filling the gaps in their knowledge, so it was important for us to understand how aware they are of the world around them. ​

Questions Asked:

  • Do you know why its important to take care of the environment?
  • What do you do to take care of the environment?
  • Do you know what littering is?
  • Do you know what pollution is?
  • When you leave a room do you leave the light on or off?
  • Do you like to play outside?
  • What kind of activities do you like to do outside?
  • Have you ever donated a toy?
  • Do you like to play in the dirt or get dirty?
  • Do you like video games or board games better?
  • Do you like to make things with your hands?
  • Do you learn to take care of the environment at school?
  • What about at home?
  • Who teachers you about the environment?
  • Have you ever planted anything?

What did we learn?

Similar to the kids of South Elementary, it was apparent that the kids had some sort of awareness and understanding about the world around them. All of them knew what recycling was and knew that it was a good thing, but only one or two could really say why. Group 1 came up with more reasons about why it’s important to care for the environment, while Group 2 seemed to struggle, however they knew it was important. When it came to the topic of turning lights off when you leave a room, it was clear that this was more of an economic focus in homes than an environmental one. Both groups had a very basic knowledge about growing plants and liked it because they liked watching them grow. They do receive a basic science education which contributes to some of this knowledge and a few had sources at home encouraging this information, but overall there seemed to be a distinct separation between environmental education at school and at home, which could be a great thing for us to address and emphasize.

Almost every child enjoyed playing outside, whether it was playing sports, going to parks or exploring with family. However, every child also said play video games was one of their favorite things to do. Other notable interests or activities included interacting or playing with family, eating, and biking. Some children emphasized their enjoyment for getting “trophies,” which helps to reinforce the idea of a reward system to keep learning interesting.
Based on our notes from these visits, it seems like there are a few aspects of this subject that we can address, specifically the separation between school and home. These visits also gave us extremely valuable information on how we can specifically direct our creation toward these kids in a way they will understand and hopefully be interested in.
IMG_20140908_091910

South Elementary – 1st grade class

For support, we wanted to reach out to local elementary schools focusing on kids ages 6-9, grades 1st-3rd. Finding out what the students already knew about the environment and where we could step in to bridge the gap was a key area we were focusing on. We were also able to ask the teachers questions about there experience teaching sustainability and environmental issues to their classrooms as well as what materials they might find beneficial in the future.

WP_20140907_002

Questions Asked:

  • Do you know why its important to take care of the environment?
  • What do you do to take care of the environment?
  • Do you know what littering is?
  • Do you know what pollution is?
  • When you leave a room do you leave the light on or off?
  • Do you like to play outside?
  • What kind of activities do you like to do outside?
  • Have you ever donated a toy?
  • Do you like to play in the dirt or get dirty?
  • Do you like video games or board games better?
  • Do you like to make things with your hands?
  • Do you learn to take care of the environment at school?
  • What about at home?
  • Who teachers you about the environment?
  • Have you ever planted anything?

What did they know?

The kids seemed to have a basic understanding of how to treat the environment. Most of them knew what littering was, a few had an idea about pollution but when it came to why they thought it was important to take care of the environment there were generous amounts of answers. Some kids brought up animals, clean air, clean drinking water; they knew it was important to turn off the lights but weren’t exactly sure why. For there most part, kids could answer most of the questions with some knowledge to back it up. The thing we found most lacking were the reasons as to why they shouldn’t do these things. When we asked them why they should turn the light off most said because it saves money or because “my electricity will get cut off.”

Who educates them most?

From the two schools we visited on Friday there definitely seems to be a lost connection between home and school education on the environment. Most kids said that their parents didn’t teach them about the environment, they learned mostly from school. This gives us an opportunity for us to step in and bridge the gap between the two. Talking to parents will the next steps in our research process and should give us some perspective maybe as to why they don’t educate their kids on taking care of the environment. We really need to focus on educating them as to why it’s important to do these things in the long run, not just because they save us money or because mom and dad said not to.

What kind of activities do they like to do?

  • Play video games
  • Tag
  • Arts & crafts activities (play-dough, gluing, touching, creating)
  • Imaginary games (pirates, house, cars)
  • Board games
  • Sports (mainly football)
  • Roller blading
  • Bike riding
  • Barbie dolls/action figures
  • Hot wheels
  • Playing with siblings
  • Watch movies/TV

This list gives us an idea as to what type of games the kids might enjoy if we were to create some sort of game or activity for them to do. Outdoor activities seemed to be at the top of their lists, so games that can be played outside with friends and siblings might be a good approach as a part of our solution. There was a lot of talk about video games, but we are really trying to avoid your typical solution to most education based programs nowadays. We want to create something hands on and important that will resonate well with kids in the long run. Something that will not only interest them but maybe their siblings and parents as well.