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Environmental issues featured in the school newspaper in L.N Tolstoy Gymnasium in Kazakhstan

School-gymnasium №4, named after L.N.Tolstoy in Stepnogorsk, Akmola region, uses the YRE methodology within the work of the Youth Press Club, which is an elective course a lot of students find interesting and choose to follow.

Students work as reporters, photo-correspondents, editors and website managers to help develop the school newspaper and provide content for the school website and social networks. They often report on local environmental issues, or environmental projects and events that are held at their school and the city.

Litter captions in Canada

In Grade 8 Language Class in Canada, students were assigned with taking pictures of litter around the school and the local surroundings, and asked to give different captions as messages against littering. They were, then, assessed on the pictures and captions, as part of the final grade for their semester report.

This was an opportunity to bring the theme of sustainability into the classroom, which constitutes an important part of the Geography class curriculum.

Following the weather

In February 2014, Slovenia was covered with ice and the weather was characterized by the strong freezing wind, precipitations and low temperatures.

As 10 centimetres of ice covered trees, cars and houses, a true phenomenon for the area, a student found a chance to take photos, enter the YRE International Competition and win the 2nd place with ‘Ice defeated mankind’.

See the pictures below!

German students’ work receives attention by online and offline media platforms

Emily Grabo, a German student participating in the UNESCO World Conference for Education for Sustainable Development, worked as a journalist to report on the procedures of the conference. Her article was published on the UNESCO website, at the following link:

Robert Fisher, with an article on food sharing, won the national and international YRE competition. He was then invited to Berlin for interviews by regional TV- Channels, as his article was fresh and innovative; he had been one of the first students to write about the issue of food sharing.

Environmental young reporters drive change

Swedish Young Reporters for the Environment attending the eighth World Environmental Education Congress in Gothenburg, got the chance to interview Mr. Alexander Leicht, Chief at Section of Education for Sustainable Development, UNESCO.

Students talked about UNESCO’s goals, the role of countries and children, as well as the actions people can take towards a more sustainable lifestyle. They received information about UNESCO and its goals for the present and future. According to Leicht, UNESCO seeks to make environmental stability a bigger part of educational systems around the world.

Leicht explained his role, which is to work with primary and secondary schools in enforcing environmental sustainable development teaching in curricula.

Read the full interview here

Young Scottish reporters interview government officials

For the last two years the winning entries in the 'Our environment' competition, run in collaboration with the Scottish Environment Protection Agency, have been from the Eco-Schools and YRE teams, in the 11 years and older categories.

During the past year, young reporters have had the opportunity to interview five government ministers on subjects ranging from youth engagement in sustainable development, COP21, international development, character education and language skills for a low carbon future.

Young people engaged with the World Wide Views Global Citizen consultation on Climate and Energy, facilitated in the UK by Keep Scotland Beautiful Education and Learning. This was an important step in the process of UNFCCC, raising the profile of Article 6 through more citizen participation in 76 countries. As a result of the consultation, UNFCCC decided in Bonn to rename Article 6 (Education and Participation) to ACE - Action for Climate Empowerment.

Team-building through YRE in Romania

Students in a Romanian school were taught about the different styles of writing during their Romanian Language class; as the school fashion show, with clothes made of recycled materials, was taking place, students decided to become journalists and report on the show, putting the knowledge gained in class into practice.

In doing so, the students were involved in a team game, where everyone had a specific role. The class was divided in teams of five, each with their own assignment, according to Gardner's multiple intelligences theory.

- the chief editor / interpersonal, logical and linguistic intelligence;

- the copy editor / visual effects intelligence;

- the editor / verbal and linguistic data intelligence;

- the photographer / visual intelligence;

- the reporter / bodily, verbal and interpersonal intelligence

From Geography to filmmaking

In Portugal, 9th grade Geography students at Escola Básica Alto dos Moinhos had to interview and produce a video related to the production of electricity with the use of solar panels.

Click here to watch the video:

Dar a conhecer a utilidade dos painéis solares foto-voltaicos, as vantagens ambientais e porque devemos adotar este tipo de energia.

At the professional schools, students from Escola Profissional do Alto Minho Interior had to develop a report regarding the course on Audiovisual Technology, in which they had to take pictures of landscapes and examples of biodiversity of a fluvial beach in the north of Portugal.

Environmentally friendly receipts in France!

In France, a group of eight 11-year old students implemented their YRE project during a course entitled ‘Scientific Workshop’, coordinated by their Technology teacher.

After identifying that the majority of people were not familiar with climate change, its causes and consequences, students decided to find ways to create an impact on the general public regarding these issues. They found an original idea: to print some tips that would contribute to the campaign against climate change on receipts (proofs of purchase). They printed, for instance «Have you thought about reducing the radiator temperature before leaving home? ».

They, then, created a website, where they published more tips. Three shops decided to print the students’ advice on their receipts, along with the website link for up to two weeks. This initiative created the potential for great impact, as it helped raise awareness among customers and encouraged ecological behaviour.

Check the website for more information.

YRE as an Interdisciplinary Learning tool in Scottish schools

Interdisciplinary Learning allows Scottish teachers to use YRE as a vehicle for learning in a variety of ways, be it formal and co-curricular; to meet the English Language criteria in the spirit of 'Assessment is for learning', some classes choose to focus their 'discursive essay' task on a comparative environmental argument.

Furthermore, along with their own subject of expertise, each teacher has a responsibility for the classes of Numeracy, Literacy, 'Health and Well-being' and 'Learning for Sustainability'; in this sense, cross-curricular teaching and Interdisciplinary Learning is encouraged and used widely.

YRE reports from conferences have also been used to introduce topics such as the Circular Economy, Triple Bottom Line accounting, and the evolution of the Sustainable Development Goals on a peer to peer basis to young people.

A documentary by young environmental filmmakers in Greece!

The Geography class in Egnatia High School, Thessaloniki, conducted a survey about the Koronia Lake and the environmental problems it has been facing through the years. As reported by The Guardian, Koronia had lost a third of its surface area in the last 30 years and has suffered from increasingly intensive agriculture and the growth of industry.

Students wanted to approach the story of the lake from the human perspective and record the experiences of people living close to it.

Students acted as real journalists. They were split into groups, each with a specific assignment: to investigate, take pictures and videos, to create a documentary, create a model of the lake and to do interviews. They collected and edited information about the lake, with which they made posters and displayed everything in an exhibition.

They did interviews with the local citizens in the community and with scientists about the environmental problem of the Koronia Lake. They talked about its protection, or the failure to protect it, what may be the future of the area and their feelings about this catastrophe. They then created a documentary with all the information they had gathered and pledged to continue their work to change the situation. 

3+1 ways in which Slovakian schools incorporated the YRE programme into their curriculum

We have seen a lot of ways in which a teacher, a student, or a group of them, can come up with ideas to bring environmental issues into the classroom. Environmental topics, like the causes and effects of environmental disasters, global warming and climate change, fit into different contexts, and students can work on them under different lenses.

- In Chemistry class in schools in Slovakia, students attended lectures by older students on waste separation and recycling, and were then asked to make posters, presentations, and create comics.

- During Language and Literature class, students were given the chance to become familiar with different styles of writing, and to develop their own journalistic skills through analysing articles, writing articles themselves for the school magazine, and understanding how the press works.

- In the Geography class, as part of the chapter 'Regional Geography of my Municipality' teenage students were asked to map out the local illegal dumping sites and write reports.

- Lastly, the IT class helped with the dissemination of results on environmental research. The students prepared presentations on waste separation and on minimising waste, which they later talked about in a School Waste Conference.