I am a Grade 4 classroom teacher. I love teaching, and I really love teaching grade four. For me, it is the sweet spot in education: the kids are capable, have not developed any attitude, and still love school.
As both a teacher and a parent, I feel it is my responsibility to teach the young people in my life about climate change: it is an issue that is going to have a huge impact on their lives. While we don’t know what the future will look like entirely, we do know that the world will change.
To do this, I always start with reading aloud the book Can We Really Help the Polar Bears? Yes We Can!, written by Katie Daynes and illustrated by Roisin Hahessy. This is an optimistic book that grounds the information in science and solutions, and does it from the perspective of kids helping polar bears with the issue of melting ice.
One aspect I particularly like about the book is that it explains what fossil fuels are and do by using simple language and excellent illustrations, so that information is clear but without making it too complex.
The book’s content is primarily about the many ways we can work together to reduce our emissions. Somewhat coincidentally it also often mirrors the Live Net Zero challenges. It starts with approaches or ideas of how you can get around or travel with lower carbon output (Challenge 1), including encouragement for taking vacations closer to home. It talks about how improving insulation is important (Challenge 2), and how we can reduce energy through HVAC systems (Challenge 3). Reducing purchasing habits (Challenge 5) are also highlighted. The book continues with ideas around food waste, shifting to a more plant-based diet, and planting trees.
The importance of carbon-reduction strategies being communicated with other people is emphasized: parents, teachers, businesses, and politicians. Stay tuned to see how my class approaches this next step!