“The use of storytelling has the potential to be effective in all areas of higher education. Storytelling develops a context for active learning and remarkable ownership of the learning, both in terms of process and content. The current interest in storytelling and narrative can be seen in many areas within higher education, in both theoretical and applied disciplines.”
(Wills, Lives and Other Stories: Neglected Aspects of the Teacher’s Art)
The use of story telling as an effective teaching tool is universally recognized. The instructional component of our elementary educational program is story-based. Our stories are drawn loosely from the real life experiences with the natural world of the author, Jeanette Stewart, her pets, and the illustrator, Victor Zapata. Through our stories, our educational units become much more than lessons. They become adventures that the students participate in and learn from just as the characters learn as the stories progress.
Thus far, LANDS and WATERS has developed several educational stories accompanied by hands-on activities:
- Winter Bird Feeding (k+), students learn about the needs of winter wildlife and make suet feeders.
- My Roommates Are a Bunch of Worms (prek-7th), a story about the decomposing world. Students learn about vermicomposting and create a worm bin for classroom use.
- Happenings In Our Habitats (3rd+), examines human impact on natural areas. Classroom instruction coupled with schoolyard conservation projects.
- Wetlands (4th+), students learn about the benefits and conservation of wetlands. Projects include wetland creation and restoration. about the ecological attributes, importance, and the need for conservation of wetlands
- The Real Cost of Food (4th+), examines current issues in our global food system. Projects include vegetable garden creation, planting, harvesting, and plant-based cooking demonstrations.
- Down the Drain: The Story of Urban Water (7th+), a stormwater presentation and campus tour connecting human impact and watershed degradation by examining stormwater patterns and issues on the school’s campus.
- Vernal Pool Presentation (k-12th), students learn about seasonal wetlands and amphibian life cycles. Projects include wetland creation and biodiversity surveys.
- Biodiversity Surveys
- Water Quality Monitoring and Macro-invertebrate Testing
- “Follow the Water” program: following the water from the campus
- Seasonal Wetlands with a special focus on the importance on the vernal pools and creation of vernal pool type environments on school campuses
- Pollinator Gardens
- Eastern Box Turtles and creation of a hibernaculum
- Rain Gardens and Sponge Gardens
- Habitat: forest restoration/creation, meadows, pollinator gardens
The story is one component of the educational unit. A hands-on activity with a conservation connection is always provided as part of the unit.
Interested in having Jeanette Stewart come and present any of the above stories? Please contact Sue Cournoyer for information and booking.