Where Dystopian Fiction Meets Water Journalism

One way to help students become climate stewards is to model how reading paired climate texts enhances our ability to both problem-spot and problem-solve.  In our haste to offer solutions, we may insufficiently consider the root causes of environmental problems.  While reading Neal and Jarrod Shusterman’s novel Dry, my students and I pore over local […]

Picture Book-Driven Inquiry: Picturing Survival with Octavia Butler

I’ve been eager to shake up my classroom literature circles.  Sometimes, it is easy to fall into a routine rut: assign some chapters to be read, passages to be annotated, literary techniques to be identified.  As we read Octavia Butler’s Parable of the Sower, I thought about what it meant for Lauren Olamina to come […]

Writing Flash Fiction: Environmental Ghost Stories

In last month’s post, I described how writing flash stories helped my students process the contents of an informational text.  As we turned to a news article about a disturbed landscape, I wondered: How could recasting the details of a news article in the form of a flash ghost story help students understand its implications?  […]

Fostering Environmental Storytelling: Making an Eco-Zine

The question—What kind of access to environmental news stories do we have?— is one that arouses concern in my classroom.  According to my high school students, unless you’re taking an AP Environmental Science class, chances are slim that climate change is being addressed, let alone mentioned.  This is troubling for students who are mindful of […]

Writing a Climate Victory Garden

Louise Maher-Johnson’s poem, “Notes from a Climate Victory Garden,” offers a series of calls to action, as seen in the poem’s opening: Rebalance: Greenhouse Gases (CO2,N2O, CH4, H2O vapor) with                                                                                 photosynthesis. Recognize: Plants cool by evaporation, ground cover, shade, and                                                                                     precipitation Replant: Lawns with Victory Gardens, as in world war past. Organized by lines beginning […]

Environmental Justice, Comic Book Storytelling, and Seed Work

In Charlie La Greca and Rebecca Bratspies’ environmental justice comic, Mayah’s Lot, the image of the aspen seed is prominent.  The titular character intends to plant an aspen seed in a garden she secretly tends on a vacant lot, just before finding out a corporation’s plan to transform the lot into an industrial toxic storage waste facility.  […]

The Craft Moves of Climate Stewards: Thinking with Xiye Bastida and Greta Thunberg

One way to provide an entry point for students who often feel overwhelmed by the magnitude of the climate crisis is to explore a text pairing that puts ideas in conversation with each other.  This juxtaposition can bring key concepts into relief, as well as help students articulate the priorities of each writer because there […]