Learning Theory

Trees as Storytellers

he thought of talking trees conjures up images of the fantastical. Tolkien’s ents patrol the forest, Baum’s forest of fighting trees throws apples at Dorothy, and Marvel’s Groot guards the galaxy. Or, perhaps, we think of those who speak for the trees that cannot...

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Immersive Storytelling

Immersive Storytelling: A Reminder to Read to Your Students Outside By Hannah Levy Sitting amongst towering cedars as the sun treated us to the last bits of golden hour, our final field study day was coming to a close. We had a hard week, for many of my students, this...

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E.E.’s Philosopher King (Pt 2)

Not One More Cute Project for the Kids: Neal Maine’s Educational Vision   by Gregory A. Smith Lewis & Clark College, Professor Emeritus   PART TWO (see Part One here) Sustaining Neal’s Place-Based Vision of Education: Lessons Learned Despite the power...

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Forget Your Botany!

by Jan van Boeckel MANY PEOPLE DEPLORE the loss of direct contact with nature. Moreover, this absence might be one of the root causes for the ecological crisis we are experiencing today, and for the mood of indifference that many people feel for it. It is hard to care...

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Blog: Teacher Preparation

Know and Do What We Teach: How many times are we assigned to teach a subject we know little about? by Jim Martin CLEARING Special Contributor t a riparian ecology training for teachers a few years ago, I met two who epitomize a perennial problem in education in...

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Blog: Science, Art, and English Education

What is the Place of Science in Art and English Education? by Jim Martin CLEARING Special Contributor School districts have, over the past four decades, reduced their arts offerings in order to meet increased demands for time devoted to science, mathematics, social...

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Empathy and Environmental Education

The Compassionate Educator: Empathy and Environmental Education Tom Stonehocker common challenge in environmental education is working with students who feel disconnected from their environment. This disconnection not only impedes a student’s ability to understand how...

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Integrated Teaching

Photo by Jim Martin Integrated Teaching: The Student-Directed Investigation by Jillian Whitehill s educators, our goal is to increase the growth of each of our students, foster their passion for learning, and best prepare our students for the real world. While there...

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Jim Martin on Inquiry

Is active learning an effective vehicle to train science inquiry mentors? Walking along with you is far better than telling you "I’ll show you the way." ow should we prepare mentors of teachers who wish to learn how to engage their students in authentic science...

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Jim Martin on Teacher Mentors

Why would a practicing teacher need a Mentor? Is the idea of mentoring teachers an unnecessary element in our Schools?   by Jim Martin If you were to trace your ancestry 25,000 years or further, you'd find that your forebears read no books about the natural...

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Jim Martin on Science Inquiry

Can We Learn What Science Inquiry Does For Us? What To Teach; And How?   by Jim Martin n a previous blog, a student, Maria, noticed a salmon fry darting toward a rock covered with periphyton, a thin colony of algae which supports microbes and invertebrates living...

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The Importance of Deep Experiences in Nature

The Importance of Deep Experiences in Nature By Joseph Cornell rofound moments with nature foster a true and vital understanding of our place in the world. I remember an experience I had as a five-year-old boy that awakened in me a life-long fascination for marshes,...

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NGSS and Active Learning

Maria’s Eye: How do we empower it to engage and understand her world? by Jim Martin CLEARING writer and contributor f I could imagine the best possible classroom in the world, it would be one in which each student is empowered to look out into the world, see something...

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A Pedagogy for Ecology

A Pedagogy for Ecology by Ann Pelo s a teacher, I want to foster in children an ecological identity. I believe this identity, born in a particular place, opens children to a broader connection with the Earth; love for a specific place makes possible love for other...

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Understanding Ecosystems

Understanding Ecosystems is a Real Need: Will we help today's kids learn what they ought to know about ecosystems? by Jim Martin CLEARING Writer and Contributor ids in school today, and their children, need to understand ecosystems, and their own place within them....

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Ethics and Science

Chymograph by Jim Martin· kymograph (‘wave writer’): a device that produces traces on a piece of smoked paper clamped onto a rotating drum, a mechanically amplified graphical representation of spatial position over time, such as the rise and fall of a worm’s blood...

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NGSS and Environmental Education

Use the Real World to Integrate Your Curriculum In today’s test-driven schools, there’s little room for including the world outside the classroom in the curriculum, even though school is supposed to be based on the real world. And prepare us for it. by Jim Martin...

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Digging Deeper

  by David A. Greenwood, Lakehead University, Canada As part of the 2009 North American Association of Environmental Education Research Symposium, this article addresses the cultural and theoretical frameworks that we bring to environmental education, the web of...

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Teaching Science

Why kids need ecology now! Teachers, as well as science majors and graduate students, need to understand the process of science. And they need to be able to argue it, discuss it, suggest novel perspectives, give and respond to criticism. Does our inservice education...

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Jim Martin: Arts and Humanities in the Sciences?

Arts and Humanities in the Sciences? Is that incongruous, or what? By Jim Martin Have you ever ‘felt’ the weather as cloud formations began to change? I love to watch Mares’ Tails form; multiple long extensions of a cumulus cloud that race out ahead, then turn up and...

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Earth Day

Although this article was written in 1996, and contains references to events and people from that era, much of Weilbacher's critique remains relevant today.  -Ed.   Every Day is NOT Earth Day Reflections on the True Meaning of Earth Day by Mike Weilbacher 'll...

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Jim Martin: Do We Learn As Our Students Learn?

Do We Learn As Our Students Learn? by Jim Martin CLEARING Associate Editor We propose that an essential feature of learning is that it creates the zone of proximal development; that is, learning awakens a variety of internal developmental processes that are able to...

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Bias and the Educator in the Mirror

Bias and the Educator in the Mirror Our inherent perspectives color the world we share with our students. by Victor Elderton Many of us in environmental education strive to create lessons and activities which we hope will facilitate greater understanding and stimulate...

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Supporting Our Children’s Innate Sense of Wonder

Holding the Space: Supporting Our Children's Innate Sense of Wonder By David Strich, M.Ed. “If a child is to keep alive his inborn sense of wonder, he needs the companionship of at least one adult who can share it, rediscovering with him the joy, excitement, and...

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Teaching and Learning Ecologically

Cultivating Ecological Teachers and Learners Using Project Learning Tree   by Jaclyn Stallard from The Branch, Project Learning Tree's E-newsletter Summer 2014 "Ecological teaching and learning is not just a matter of pedagogy, but also philosophy. Ecological...

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Are economies the only things that expand and contract?

Are Economies the Only Things that Expand and Contract? Do we need to inject more time for contemplation into our curricula? by Jim Martin CLEARING Associate Editor Photo by Jim Martin Concentration and contemplation. Expand and contract. Walk drive. Makes life...

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Community-based Science Teaching: A Journey of the Mind?

By Jim Martin CLEARING Associate Editor he young woman carefully pours hydrogen peroxide into a graduated cylinder, presses a key on a computer keyboard, then measures ten drops of liver homogenate into the cylinder.  The surface of the hydrogen peroxide seems to leap...

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When you empower students, you teach more than content

by Jim Martin CLEARING Associate Editor e left the teacher we have been following as she was planning a project she and her class will do on a creek at the edge of the school property. What she is doing, as well as her plans, appear to approach what the National Board...

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Details, Details, Details…

Details, details, details... The degree to which you can elaborate detail determines the level of confidence you’ll have in teaching curricula which begins in the real world by Jim Martin CLEARING Associate Editor ust as the degree with which they elaborate the...

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What is School?

Teaching how to involve and invest students in their education and empower them as persons isn’t a passive set of knowledge, skills, and understandings. Rather, it is an active, dynamic process, not as easy to teach, at least within the current education paradigm. by...

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Seeking Environmental Maturity…

...at Starker Forests Helping students climb the ladder to responsible citizenship by Dick Powell This past summer I attended the World Forestry Center's International Educator's Institute (IEI). As an environmental educator without any formal pedagogical or...

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Lessons for teaching in the environment and community — 23

"Lessons for Teaching in the Environment and Community" is a regular series that explores how teachers can gain the confidence to go into the world outside of their classrooms for a substantial piece of their curricula. Part 23: Notice is a Powerful Verb: Noticing...

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Lessons for teaching in the environment and community — 21

"Lessons for Teaching in the Environment and Community" is a regular series that explores how teachers can gain the confidence to go into the world outside of their classrooms for a substantial piece of their curricula. Part 21: Where Brains Learn Some cognitive...

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Logic Models – A Tool for Evaluation

by Chuck Lennox Principal (Consultant) Cascade Interpretive Consulting LLC Program evaluation is a valuable process to determine the efficacy of programming being offered to the public by an organization or agency. Sometimes the process can feel intimidating. How do I...

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Moving Backwards Into the Twenty-first Century

by Charles Rubin Duquesne University I want to start with a central problem that I see facing environmental education efforts, that can be seen from two fact sheets provided by the EPA environmental education website. The two fact sheets are "Environmental Education...

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“Meet a Tree” is Boring

Do you know meet a tree? The exercise where you blindfold one kid and their buddy leads them to a tree. Then, after the blindfolded is removed, the child goes and finds their tree. Yawn.

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The Nature and Purpose of Education

    by Maurice Holt In her celebrated The Classic Italian Cookbook, Marcella Hazan wrote: “What people do with food is an act that reveals how they construe the world.” At the time — 30 years ago — it was a sentiment that needed a word of explanation; the...

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10 Reasons To Try Distance Delivered Environmental Education

by Sandi Sturm I recently attended a social event organized for adjunct faculty members of our university.  Sitting across from me was a woman from the Environmental Studies program who openly denounced the use of technology.  Begging to differ, I approached her...

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Preparing Teachers for Environmental Education

Preparing Teachers for Environmental Education by Louise Conn Fleming Abstract: Our teacher education team at our university teaches the junior year methods and assessment to preservice middle grades teachers. Starting Spring 2003 we began using “The Projects” as part...

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Top Five Ways to Use EE to Achieve Your Education Goals

By Judy Braus You’re a new teacher with a head full of ideas. You want to be innovative and effective — on the cutting edge of reform. You want your kids to be excited about learning. And you think the environment is an important, cross-cutting theme that will engage...

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You are Brilliant and the Earth is hiring

By Paul Hawken From a commencement speech given at the University of Portland, May 3, 2009. When I was invited to give this speech, I was asked if I could give a simple short talk that was “direct, naked, taut, honest, passionate, lean, shivering, startling, and...

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