By Tammy Dunbar, #TeachSDGs Ambassador
Carlos was a puzzle. He usually had a bright, engaging smile, loved to read, and was very well spoken. However, when it came to writing assignments, he froze. Two years before he came to me in fifth grade, he had qualified for resource help with writing skills. Goals were set, but it was painfully obvious that Carlos just could not get words down on paper.
Halfway through the year, we were reading Dear Mr. Henshaw by Beverly Cleary, which Carlos very much enjoyed. But when I asked the class to write about their favorite part of the book, Carlos could not, or would not, do the assignment. I made him stay in at recess to work on it with me.
As Carlos sullenly settled in, I reached for my laptop, without Carlos seeing me, and asked him just to talk about his favorite part of the book. Relaxing a little, he began to discuss what he most enjoyed about the book. When he was done talking, I tapped my screen a couple of times, and then asked him to read what was on it. He started reading aloud, then said, “That’s what I just said!” I urged him to finish reading it out loud. When he was done, I told him that’s all I wanted him to do: write like he talks. That’s when I saw the look of understanding on his face along with a growing smile; he was making the connection between what he had said and what was showing on the screen.
My “aha moment” was that there must be even more ways that technology could help students overcome obstacles and find success.
Having co-authored the successful Human Differences project, I knew the power of collaborating on global projects. This Skype project paved the pathway for students from 50 schools, in 37 countries on six continents, to use the Sustainable Development Goals to talk about invisible and tactile walls between people and the need to build bridges of understanding in their place. I was really energized by the incredibly positive teacher and student responses from these global and life-changing, collaborative connections.
Then I ran into my dear friend and super librarian Julie Hembree at a Microsoft Hack the Classroom event.
For six years, Julie and the students at the school where she taught as a teacher-librarian had raised funds and sent more than 7,000 books to teachers in the Microsoft Educator network in Lesotho, Nigeria, South Africa, and Zambia. Julie knew that the 126 million illiterate youth in the world today are looking at an almost certain life of poverty.
Teaching in a school with a high percentage of low-income families, I also understood the challenges of cultivating literacy in our classroom. As we spoke, we knew our efforts needed to be bigger, bolder and powered by empowered students and teachers.
Using the fourth Sustainable Development Goal (Quality Education) as our guide, we developed the Cultivate World Literacy global Literacy project.
Using the tools students have freely at their disposal, like Learning Tools, OneDrive, OneNote, Skype, and Sway, students of all ages and abilities would both celebrate literacy and research the issues of illiteracy. Using Skype in the Classroom, they would connect with others around the globe to share their knowledge.
One hundred thirty classrooms across 34 countries and six continents joined in our initial project. We were honored to have Dr. Ada Okika, Executive Director of UNESCO Center for Global Education, as one of our many celebrity supporters (authors, journalists & dignitaries).
Cultivate World Literacy takes students and teachers through a journey, of focusing first on themselves and the issues of literacy at their local level, then moving beyond themselves in order to gain a perspective on the importance of literacy worldwide. Finally, they arrive at the ultimate challenge of becoming agents of change.
We hope Cultivate World Literacy project will be a catalyst for change. We have already seen hundreds of students share favorite authors never heard of before in other countries, read books out loud to each other via Skype, raise money to fund Read-a-Thons and Books to Africa, write DonorsChoose projects to purchase emergent readers for Kindergarteners and truly cultivate a love of reading with each other and the world.
We are honored and humbled that Cultivate World Literacy has won the 2018 ISTE Literacy PLN Award.
We dream of this grassroots movement continue to empower students who don’t want to see another generation of children living in poverty, and emboldening students and teachers to step up and make a difference. They will rally for children, regardless of their circumstances, to have the opportunity to read, write, and have a quality education.
The memory of the smile on Carlos’ face inspires me to believe that by cultivating world literacy, and empowering students in the process, we can help our students rewrite their future.
Resources for Cultivate World Literacy
Website for Cultivate World Literacy
Microsoft in Education Collaborative Skype Lesson Plan
Tammy Brecht Dunbar, M.Ed., S.T.E.M. Microsoft Innovative Educator Expert Fellow, Certified Educator & Master Trainer; 2016 California Woman of the Year, Assembly District 12; #TeachSDGs Ambassador; CV: bit.ly/TammyBrechtDunbar
This blogpost was originally posted on EdWeek on April 24, 2018: http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/global_learning/2018/04/using_partnerships_to_build_a_better_world_through_education.html?preview=
By Dr. Jennifer Williams
"Your efforts to work collaboratively as educators are a good start. Though if we are going to reach these global goals, we must find ways to move beyond working in collaboration alone and instead join together in solidarity." These powerful words spoken by then-United Nations Ambassador of Grenada, Ambassador Dessima Williams, have stayed with me for well over a year. Said with hands together, fingers interlaced and firmly locked, I believe this word "solidarity" continues to echo for all of us that were in that meeting that day.
Standing outside on the steps that had earlier led us into the United Nations building, with flags of the world now moving in unison as the cold New York City January wind blew past, and after tasked in our meeting by Ambassador Williams and a team of UN delegates to find ways to use education to help realize the Sustainable Development Goals, I remember looking at my colleagues—fellow teachers who also knew we needed to do something, anything, we just were not sure what—and, saying "Well, how about we start with a hashtag?" And, at that moment, #TeachSDGs began.
Charged with advancing the work of the UN in relation to education through advocacy and outreach, we quickly recognized that our group of four educators all from North America, though steadfast and determined, was far from representative of a world that knew many definitions of teacher, school, and system. To meet a universal call to action that ensured no one would be left behind, we needed more voices. So, with no more than a hashtag and a little determination, we set out to find others who were ready to mobilize and get to work in our grassroots efforts to help reach these 17 goals that hold a promise of transforming our world.
Sustainable Development Goal 17: Partnership for the Goals, though last in line numerically in a sequence of goals that we as a world are committed to reaching by the year 2030, is one that is viewed by many as a connector goal binding the 16 before it. SDG17, represented in dark navy blue with five white circles that overlap and converge at many points, prioritizes coordination, cooperation, and global partnership. Though many outside of education are quick to associate only SDG4: Quality Education with teachers, educators today are faced with the need to engage with all the goals as our classrooms of students know poverty and hunger, inequality and injustice. As teachers, we take action for the climate and for clean water, and we seek well-being and peace for our students and for all citizens of our world. We, by design as a profession, are focused on all the goals. As I see it, Global Goal 17, much like the job of a teacher that looks out for all students in a classroom, is the essential caretaker.
Connecting Points: Strengthening Worldwide Partnership
The complexity of the global goals requires sound infrastructure and unified vision. Inspired by SDG17, we as the cofounders of #TeachSDGs developed a plan to prioritize process and coherence in our efforts to bring global educators together in conversation and cooperation to transform the world. Too, as we believed it was critical to be aware of our privilege and perspective, we worked to move beyond our networks and empower the voices of others. Four soon grew to 17, which then, through a process of pledge-taking, expanded to over 1,200 global educators. Lines on a symbolic map that connected #TeachSDGs would now cross oceans, continents, and borders and pass through beautiful lands with names such as Tunisia, Saudi Arabia, Costa Rica, Romania, Abu Dhabi, Bangkok, Paris, Akungba Akoko, Ghana, Iran, San Diego, Islamabad, Sri Lanka, Buenos Aires, Brussels, and many, many, many other world locations.
Distributed Leadership: Removing Hierarchy to Prioritize Solidarity
Sustainable Development Goal 17 calls on us to strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the global partnerships for sustainable development. For us, when formulating our efforts and our processes, we could not envision that a system built on a hierarchy of power could effectively allow for transmission of ideas or sharing of knowledge and expertise. Just as the global goals belong to each and every citizen of the world, we believed that #TeachSDGs belonged to all educators. For facilitation of any type of progress, the approach needed to be integrated, equitable, and accessible. To flatten leadership, we knew we wanted to move to a model of leadership by committee, and we were set to keep #TeachSDGs a movement that was for and always by teachers.
Onward: Seeking Out New Ways of Communicating & Innovating
Today, we are organized by committee with a focus on responding to the call to action to meet the Sustainable Development Goals through (1) global projects, (2) resources and publications, (3) world events, (4) advocacy and outreach, (5) communications, and (6) partnership. With 104 ambassadors leading the way, we recognize that for our world to succeed in hitting the targets by 2030, we must have sufficient means to access and implement the goals. The goals invite and encourage us to reconsider the ways we communicate and share information. For us, use of collaborative forms of technology has been the accelerator to scale out messages, ideas, and announcements. We have engaged in technologies with free tools such as Twitter, Skype, Voxer, WhatsApp, Empatico, and Flipgrid. We've brought global educators together in Twitter chats, in global games with Kahoot!, and in global student learning experiences with World's Largest Lesson. Technologies connect us and allow us to make data-driven decisions based on people-centered strategies.
Each day, educators take the pledge to teach the SDGs at www.teachSDGs.org, and we are working to provide the needed resources to our ambassadors and others that aim to get the message out to those that may not have access to technology or reliable information. Bit by bit, it is through partnership and in solidarity that we move forward. We invite you to join us as a partner in the movement to #TeachSDGs by trying one or more of these ideas framed according to direction provided by Sustainable Development Goal 17:
By Khushboo Dubey, Mumbai
I am a traveler and an avid reader both my passions led me to where I am a passionate educator.
I am currently associated with a school as Resource person for Educational initiatives and Global Partnerships. I also take care of Language development through reading.
I am a SDG enthusiast, and it inspired me to take this as a challenge and currently I work to promote SDG’s through reading for my students, teachers and support staff.
To show how schools can adopt reading for spreading awareness about SDG’s.
Why it’s important:
United Nations has chartered the Sustainable Development Goals, officially known as “Transforming our world: 2030 Agenda for sustainable Development. It is a set of 17 Global Goals to be talked about and achieved."
For me these goals are important to have a better world for the future generations to live peacefully. Peace is an important word, maintaining peace, when you don’t have adequate resources to live or when you suffer inequality or when the environment around is falling apart is not only difficult, it’s impossible. Hence, I want my students to create a world in which they have peace with themselves and within the world.
Reading about SDGs shows them that this is a dream of millions of SDG ambassadors across the world who are working diligently on the global goals. I am trying to do my bit for the same. Reading should free the mind, taking a person from known to unknown; hence I connect reading with SDG.
I have 1,500 students in my school and teaching all of them is quite a task. So, I have decided to take it one step at a time. I am now introducing them to the global goals through stories, newspapers, and magazines; there is no better way to gain knowledge than reading a book.
Students will grow up to be our leaders in the future and should be aware of cultural diversity, differences, and interconnections of the world. Introduction to SDGs has nurtured in them an appreciation for people and culture. It expanded the horizons of their minds and enabled them to look at problems and brainstorm solutions from a broader, more global perspective.
This is how I do it:
4. We have discussions about the books and the related goals.
5. Poster creation about the goals to spread awareness.
6. I also make everyone read every book so my students read fairy tales and STEM books together.
I use social media like Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn articles to start a discussion or make them aware about what other students are doing around the world. This has helped them to be thankful for what they have and work towards providing others who deserve.
My school it is a 50 year old school, but a large number of the student population is first generation learners. Over the years, we have built a Library that has Smart Board, projector, and wireless routers for internet.
Khushboo is an educator in Mumbai, India, and she has a Master’s degree in human resource and a Bachelor's degree in microbiology. She also holds many certificates in storytelling, global education, and sustainable development initiatives. She works as Resource person for Educational Initiatives and Global Partnership in public and private schools. Khushboo is the coordinator for International School Award for she school, and they have received ISA for the year 2015-2018. She also works with street children for storytelling, basic math, and language, and she is loves travel, photography, and reading. Connect with Khushboo on Twitter at @Kdantre.
REPORT ON THE TRAINING OF TEACH FOR NIGERIA FELLOWS ON “INCORPORATING SDGs IN LEARNING IN THE CLASSROOM”
By Oluwaseun Kayode, TeachSDGs Ambassador
Teach for Nigeria is an organization that expands educational opportunities for less privileged students in underserved schools in low income communities in Nigeria. They do this by recruiting promising leaders and placing them in classrooms to teach on a two year full time fellowship program. After these two years, these leaders called Fellows would become Alumni of the fellowship and would also be lifelong advocate of quality education for all. Teach For Nigeria is a partner of the Teach For All global network with presence in over 45 countries.
I was privileged to facilitate a one hour session on the topic “Incorporating SDGs in Learning in Classrooms” for fellows in one of their continuous professional development sessions.
The session objectives were as follows:
We had a very engaging session and everyone participated in defining what Sustainable Development Goals are to them through a simple 10 minute activity. With this, we all had a shared understanding of the global goals and why it’s important that we achieve them by 2030.
There was a common understanding that it’s possible that these goals would be achieved and it would happen through a mass action – everyone everywhere doing something to achieve them. It was indeed a session of commitment as fellows took pledges on the TeachSDGs website to teach the goals in their classroom.
I was able to share the work that we do at TeachSDGs and also about the Global Projects Subcommittee which I am privileged to co-chair with Sandra Rodriguez. Fellows also got to know about ‘The World Largest Lesson’ during this presentation and some of them have started downloading lesson plans and taking courses on the SDGs which they would use in the next school term. It is needless to say that the one hour session wasn’t enough, as fellows wanted to learn more and continue the discussion.
To this end, there was a suggestion that a WhatsApp group chat be created for interested fellows to continue the discussion on how we can use education to achieve the global goals. We had a great time together, and I can’t wait to have other opportunities to talk about TeachSDGs.
TeachSDGs Ambassador – Nigeria
By Nam Ngo Thanh, TeachSDGs Founding Ambassador, Vietnam
Why did I decide to do this project?
As a teacher or parent, what do you care about when your child goes to school? When asked this question, 90% of the time I received the answer: "I want kids to have good academic results." This is a perfectly reasonable expectation. However, the school, the family, and the society teaches many other things. Sometimes a child's success in the future is not determined by the knowledge they have.
At present, in Vietnam and in many countries in general, school violence is happening more and more severely. We are anxious, but there is not much action to take root to end this situation. Personally, I think that once people treat each other kindly, society will be better.
Scientific studies show that kindness brings a lot of physical and mental benefits, and children need a healthy dose of warmth to be able to grow into healthy individuals--fun and perfect. Children as well as teens cannot learn kindness just by thinking or talking about it. Kindness is learned through perception and then is distributed. That feeling is when they are doing the right thing. So, who will teach children kindness?
It's me, you, and this society. The Everyday Kindness Project aims to bring children the value of goodness in life. Throughout the project, I also realized that kindness is the root of what we can achieve with the Global Goals. Since its inception, the project has received the attention and support of many teachers around the globe, especially the support of the Varkey Teacher Ambassadors.
What are the objectives of the project?
5 WEEKS: 1 MISSION
*Week 1: Building knowledge
- Students watch videos of kindness
- Discussion together
+ What is kindness?
+ What actions are considered kind? (Some kind actions you can suggest to your students if they need your help: caring for themselves, helping their parents, helping their friends, scavenging, etc.)
*Week 2, 3, 4: Kind action
- Students will perform kind works everywhere, such as at home, at school, in public, etc. These actions need to be recorded in photos, videos, kind stories, etc. Therefore, you should work with parents on a weekly basis by sending parents a weekly action sheet. This form will be sent to parents at the beginning of the week and will be sent back to the teacher on weekends. Parents can send for you photos, videos, their kids' story via email, message.
- At the end of each week, teachers will review and commend students for doing a lot of good work. I suggested that teachers print their pictures and paste the corner of the class as a way to advertise them.
*Week 5: Skype-a-thon about Kindness
To help students share the kind work they have done as well as listen to their friends' stories from other classes, I encourage you to participate in the Skype-a-thon week for students to have chance to connect with other classes around the globe. I think that beautiful action should be widely shared. Skype-a-thon is also an opportunity for students to learn the culture of other countries around the globe. You can also have your student connect with another teacher to share if you do not find a class that shares the same time zone.
*Bonus week: Kindness Day (optional)
In Kindness Day, you call on all students, parents, and staff in your school to raise money, clothes, food, books, etc. to help children in difficult places. This is the way students learn the way to share difficult with others.
What do students say about this project?
"I feel I am a useful person."
"I understand parents’ hard work."
"I'm happy to help everyone."
"I'm proud of myself."
That's the feeling of the students when participating in the Everyday Kindness Project. Throughout the project, the children learned about their parents' struggles, their parents' concerns, and their concern for those around them. These are the great effects that the project did during five weeks. In the lines of students’ feelings, doing kindness just to see the smile of parents, make parents happy, makes people around happy, but most important, "find themselves useful" is what makes them happiest and most proud of themselves. Join us to spread kindness to the people around you!
Complete this form if you want to be a part of this project.
Nam Ngo Thanh (@mrnamvas) works as a primary school teacher in Ho Chi Minh city, Vietnam. He is also a Microsoft Learning Consultant and Varkey Teacher Ambassdor. He has authored multiple articles, and he been nationally and internationally recognized for the implementation of creativity and the integration of technology into his teaching. As well as being a Top 40 Finalist for the Global Teacher Prize 2018, he was also named Educator of the Year Asia 2017 and the winner of the 2018 Global Collaboration PLN Award.
By Thuy Tran Thi, @TdGreenhouse
To begin my writing, I would like to express my preference for being a feminist. I want to inspire the kids especially girls in my poor rural area to be more. I was born to the poorest family in my village. My brother had to stop his schooling when I started my first year at school life. My parents tried their best to support me and made my dream of being an English teacher come true. I turned back home with the big surprise of my friends at university because I wanted to make my community better (for more information: bit.ly/Ilovemyschool).
In 2009, my school did not have any projectors and now there is no internet connection in the classroom. We are in short of many facilities, and I myself bought the internet wire to bring the internet to the classroom. Currently, I am using a Wifi transmitter to connect with other teachers or help my students to use ICT in the classroom. I did all those things and did not need the money back. I just want to create the environment in which my students can learn and interact.
From my point of view, transformation with teaching with SDGs means 3 keys: transforming yourself, transforming your students, and changing other teachers around you.
I started my journey with teaching the Sustainable Development Goals when I self–studied courses on the Microsoft Educator Community about the SDGs and Teaching Gender Equality via Skype. These courses totally opened my mind about how to help my children, especially girls, to be empowered. Moreover, I try to learn about the sustainable development goals from bit.ly/UnitedNations_SDGs and planned my lesson plans and activity to inspire my children to THINK BIG with these goals.
Developing Skills of Students
Teaching with Goal 5: Gender Equality
Then, my story continues with teaching our kids, raising them up, and making them change their mindset about their strengths and how to improve all our lives. On the 8th of March 2017, I found a different way to celebrate International Women’s Day with my students. I used Skype in the classroom to invite a South African girl who overcame her difficulties to achieve her goals when living in poor conditions. At the beginning of the sharing session, my schoolboys gave her a bunch of sunflowers and thanked her for being her with us. At that moment, all the members of my class realized the meaning of empowerment, the meaning of trying hard every day to make themselves better, to make our community better, and to make our world better.
I work hard every day to prove a simple thing to my students. I am a rural girl. My parents are poor farmers. I was given chance to work with different worldwide educators via Skype, become Skype Master Teacher, and be awarded by the Minister of Education and Training twice in an academic year for being the most outstanding educator. All I want is to give back to my village--to support them, guide them, and learn with them.
I worked with another English teacher,Mr. Tam, to help our children in the rural area by giving them free English classes. On 8th of March this year in 2018, we celebrated an ICT Day for Girls. We asked the students to present about the tools that they really want to utilize in their learning process and asked them if they had a chance to improve that tool, how could they make the needed changes. We were extremely surprised at the ways they delivered the presentations and how they answered the questions. Our normal presentation celebration often lasts about one hour, but this session lasted 2.5 hours, and I know for sure that they are changing, and they are making themselves better.
At the end of the celebration, I let them watch a video about the 4th Industrial Revolution and how to cope with the changing world--where we are now and how to make it better. And, I see from the bottom of their hearts that education
is the key. Gender equality is the key. And, the sustainable development goals are their future. See more at bit.ly/TeachGoal5
Teaching with Goal 4: Quality Education
In my school, some classrooms were built in 1986 – that is older than my age and we lack facilities for learning and internet connection to my classroom. The Microsoft courses enabled me to think differently and to help my children to learn and be more. By spending $88 a month from my own money, I was able to get a Wifi transmitter, I am now able to invite Guest Speakers/Experts to my classroom and can bring the world to my students. Their knowledge, skills, mindset, and especially their visions about future are most important. We are welcoming the 4th Industrial Revolution with Internet of Thing (IoT), machine learning, and big data, and I am certain that EDUCATION is the key to change the world--to prepare for our future and make it a better place. I even created a lesson plan to bring free English tips to the children all around the world and hope to help them to learn and change their mindsets and help them. See more at bit.ly/TeachGoal4
Supporting Other Educators
I was recognized as Skype Master Teacher in 2017 among 155 worldwide educators, and I continue my journey to train other educators in my country and all around the world and use Sustainable Development Goals to help them to connect and demonstrate a sample lesson. I connected with a teacher in middle school and shared the screen to let them discovered the 17 Sustainable Developments Goals. The teachers and students there were super excited to learn and take their action plans for their own future.
My Plan for Teaching SDGs
To me, 17 Sustainable Development Goals are our future, and I, with my students, their parents, and other teachers, will make it come true from now forward. Our students have mastered Skype, Kahoot!, and Flipgrid, and of course we are going to travel all around the world via ICT tools to change our mindsets and take actions. My vision for my own future teaching job is 17 Sustainable Development Skills will be the content of our 2030 class. I am trying every day with you to make a better world, and I can be a happy teacher forever.
Tran Thi Thuy teaches English in Viet Nam. She is a MIE Expert, MIE Master Trainer, innovative educator, SMT, participant of Education Exchange 2017, and was named the Most Outstanding Teacher of the Year. You can learn more about Tran and her work at @TdGreenhouse on Twitter.
By Akhilesh Reddy, @AkhileshSingi
My Project Everyone: About 671 million people lack fundamental skills like reading and math, about 470 million people lack access to primary education and so on. The numbers are huge and alarming. Since I am fortunate to have had a good education, I feel I have the responsibility to take along with me as many students as possible in the path of progress on which I am traveling leaving no one behind. So, I've shouldered the responsibility to digitize schools in rural India. I have so far digitized three schools in two years which not only fights dearth of teachers, but also make them digitally able to connect with the world audience.
Green Revolution: I have been carrying plantation drives in communities trying my bit to fight climate action day by day building self sustained communities. I call them miniature forests where a diverse variety of plantation is done to improve not just green cover, but also diversity.
Herself: Herself is a project I have initiated to advocate women empowerment. It is a platform which gives women both voice and an audience with whom they can share to and learn from. The initial project has been a tremendous success which has featured global audience. Issues, causes, and solutions was the theme.
GoalsOnWheels is an ambitious project that I have embarked on to reach one hundred thousand youth and build a massive workforce which is aware, capable, and willing to together work for the implementation of sustainable development goals. I strongly believe education is the best weapon and youth are the starting point. So, I started this campaign to educate youth and bring together forces for global goals by giving presentations, conducting deliberations and debates, and instilling in them the zeal towards global agenda.
1. It is the individuals who create societies and civilizations. It is education that moulds each individual. So, I have chosen education as the solution, a starting point for achieving the global goals. When you support quality education, you give an individual limitless possibilities and a community, future stability. Yes, education is a right and a necessity but it should not just be available and accessible but also acceptable and adaptable. 420 million could escape poverty with secondary
Education.With proper education we can equip even the most marginalised women with the knowledge they need to thrive. Alarmingly 617 million children and adolescents worldwide are not achieving a minimum level of proficiency. About 137 million adolescents though are in school are not learning the minimum. The numbers are huge and petrifying. So did I choose this goal to fight for education, to achieve my dream to see that all children and youth are in school, learning and earning a quality education. Education is progress and change is the end.
2. Of the key factors that lead towards successful implementation of SDGs, awareness is identified as the top priority. Tremendous efforts are being put towards realising SDGs but on ground the results are far from reality. So I chose to narrow this awareness gap through #GoalsOnWheels, which aims at appraising youth and children there by becoming a global goals generation.
GoalsOnWheels -- Insights:
I started this initiative as volunteer. We are the youngest generation the world has ever seen and as per stats we are only going to be younger. So I chose to tap this potential to move masses for implementation of Global Goals.
Each day I go to a school conduct presentations, debates, discussions or workshops regarding SDGs. Starting with the origination of MDGs, their success and shortcomings, raise of SDGs, the importance of their implementation for a fairer world, I would brief the students to start off with the session. Once students now have clear idea, it goes into an active dialogue. The dialogue leads to positive outputs like awareness, surfacing issues, short easy solutions and commitments.
But that is all what happens when I am there with them. What after that? So, in every school a team is built who would voluntarily choose each of the SDGs to lead it in their capacity within the school which is an assurance of continuation of the great effort.
As a result:
1. An active team engaged in SDG advocacy per school
2. Schools have promised to make their premise polythene-free zones
3. Plantation drives to improve green cover with in the school and adjacent localities
4. Students taking forward the pledges into their homes and communities
5. MUN's have been initiated to reciprocate the work
6. Pledge to move school infrastructure towards clean energies
7. Necessary action towards innovation driven education, quality education and many other localised solutions
1. The project has achieved a continuous 97 days, 97 schools milestone
2. Around 90,000 individuals have taken sustainable pledge among who are students, teachers, schools, government officials and entrepreneurs
3. The initiative has made to finalist list of UN SDG action awards
4. The initiative has been featured in a social community of 'One Million' people calling me an 'Inspiring Man'
6. The work has been featured and has been showered with praises in leading print and digital media
7. I am chosen a member of WorldWeWant2030 policy strategy group working relentlessly for ground root level implementation of SDGs
8. I am made champion of FreeBasics Glocal an impact investment platform working towards funding the sustainable development goals
The current ambitious target to reach 100,000 students is only the initial phase of the four folded impact going to be created. In the next phase, this is going to be a global phenomenon where multiple campaigns on similar lines will be launched in the countries across the world with the help of global peers.
Each of these initial phases is subdivided into two intervals, during campaign and after campaign. During the campaign apart from running the campaign to build massive work force, through a rigorous process an active team is establish in each school, which would be granular unit of the chain which ensures the continuation of the campaign through the years to come. In the after campaign phase together with all teams within the countries and across the countries large scale implementable solutions will be worked on.
For more information, visit http://singanna.com/goals-on-wheels/.
Global Community of Learners Striving to Tackle Climate Change - and on the way Build Partnerships for the Goals
By Estella Owoimaha-Church
Thanks to the vision of #TeachSDGs Ambassador and recent Global Teacher Prize finalist, Koen Timmer (@zelfstudie), more than 250 teachers and their students had an amazing opportunity come together this fall as a global community of learners. Our goal was to tackle SDG 13, Climate Action via the #ClimateActionP Project.
While I cannot say with certainty how many students worked on the project, it must have been in the thousands considering 250 schools were involved. If only 10 students per teacher participated, that is a yield of nearly 3,000 students engaged worldwide. In our school’s case, 32 tenth grade English Language Arts students participated in the project. #ClimateActionP garnered support from some of the largest names in science and has been covered by new media outlets around the world.
Earlier posts on this blog make reference to the #ClimateActionP project. I encourage all readers and those in this professional learning network to go back and read those posts for in-depth reflections and personal anecdotes. Consider this post a highlight reel which includes personal anecdotes from my classroom. While the obvious goal addressed through this project is “Climate Action”, I believe this project exemplified goal 17, “Partnerships for the Goals”. Never have I witnessed, or had a chance to participate in such a massive coordinated project. Every second of it was glorious.
At least eighteen of the participants on the project represent the Teach SDG’s initiative as ambassadors or task force members. As mentioned above, this project was facilitated and created by task force member, Koen Timmers. Below are links to the projects of several ambassadors. To explore other classrooms involved in this project, visit www.climate-action.info.
Throughout the course of the project, schools were tasked with addressing a few questions:
Over the course of 4-5 weeks, which began in October, students explored these topics and questions in some of the most creative ways imaginable. Some projects included Minecraft, Sway presentations, films, visual art projects, and more. Week four, some projects culminated with schools collaborating via Skype to share finding, project results, and ask more questions. Week five included live Skype calls with prominent scientists and explorers; one of which included Celine Cousteau. A compilation video of participants is available here. Several other videos related to the #ClimateActionP Project are available here.
#ClimateActionP Project in California
Our project began with a brainstorm and discussion about the Sustainable Development Goals. We embarked on a 4-week research project meant to culminate in mixed media projects that would be shared digitally. The classes that participated were my sections of 10th grade English Language Arts. Reading and writing are sometimes a challenge for students and so this endeavor was structured as a Project Based Learning module. Students were given a bit more autonomy and flexibility in what was discussed as well as what final presentations looked like. In addition to completing the group mixed media assignments, students were tasked with writing a research paper on climate change.
More than 15 sources - well within students’ Lexile ranges - were compiled both digitally and in file folders for student groups. Students worked in 2 groups throughout the four weeks with their fifth week being devoted to writing their research papers. Each week, students got into their expert groups to discuss the articles that pertain to the given questions, as outlined by Koen. Once they were done with this, they moved to their share out groups in order to help each other break down each source. Then students, in flexible groups used the data they had collected to produce posters for that week’s research question. Students then practiced public speaking by sharing out their findings and their posters.
Before the project came to an end, we were able to have a Skype call with Sean Robinson’s class in Canada. This experience was amazing for my students. It was their first time on an international call and they were ecstatic about the prospect of meeting students in another country. After speaking with the brilliant scholars in Sean’s class, we were lucky enough to get a visit from Naomi, Global Teacher Prize finalist and TeachSDG Ambassador. Naomi led a demonstration-lecture on climate change and guided students through hands-on science observations.
The best part of participating in this project was watching students realize they were a part of something larger. They took great pride in the fact that they were members of a global action. They derived even more motivation to complete the project knowing they were the only ones in our school working on this project. They gained a new level of confidence and empowerment that had been lacking due to a history of low grades and reading levels. When they received their certificates of completion, they were shocked. I think they thought I was exaggerating about how massive the project actually was. Some of them laughed and said, “You were serious?” as I handed them their certificates. At the very end of the project, we made a few videos. As I played them back, it was clear they were having fun - which is something I take great pride in.
I have to thank Koen for being the force behind an amazing project and putting forth the effort to ensure so many of us were on board. While the most obvious aim for this project was to meet sustainable development goal thirteen, I believe it was just as effective in supporting goal seventeen, partnerships for the goals. After participating in this project, my students now have 249 partners as we continue to move towards 2030. We are empowered and instilled with hope as it is evident none of us are alone in the effort to meet the goals.
Estella Owoimaha-Church was recently named a Global Teacher Prize Finalist (2017). She holds an M.A. in Education: Language Arts & Literacy from Loyola Marymount University and a B.A. in African-American Studies: Urban Education from California State University, Northridge. Estella teaches theatre in Los Angeles, helping youth to employ performing arts as a community service tool. Mrs. Church is an education consultant, as well as a reading, curriculum and pathway specialist. Though in the classroom full time, she remains active with several community organizations, including Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights, training teachers in human rights and social justice education. “The arts are a transformative tool; when paired with the SDG’s, the arts can heal communities and build bridges, cultivate youth into global citizens, and usher in the SDG’s by 2030.” She is humbled and looks forward to serving her community as an #TeachSDGs & Varkey Teacher Ambassador. Connect with Estella on Twitter at @eochurch.
By Craig Jones
On a far north eastern island in Siberian Russia you will find a group of devoted and enthusiastic activists who dedicate their Thursday lunch times to making the world a better place. The idea evolved from Sakhalin International’s school vision of developing future accountable global citizens. What better way of achieving this than linking their ideas to the UN Global Goals? This team of internationally minded and moralistic students all applied to become a member of the group. The 12 then decided who would become team leaders for particular goals. With some projects already in mind, the ideas, goals and team leaders were selected and the hard work began.
Global Goal 14: Life Below Water
The team leaders for the Life Below Water goal set out to recycle as much plastic as they could. There is a particular overuse of plastic bottles in their community, so this seemed the best place to start. The project aims to collect plastic bottles as well as encouraging other members to use the recycling bins that are already in the community. Better recycling initiatives and raising awareness of the problem, means that they can contribute to keeping plastic out of the oceans. It is said by 2050 that there could be more plastic in the oceans than fish. This worrying prediction highlights the need for all of us to play our part in supporting this goal.
Global Goal 6: Clean Water and Sanitation
Arguably the most precious resource on Earth is water, however only around 3% of the water on our planet is fresh water suitable for drinking. UN Sustainable Goal 6 is increasingly becoming one of the most urgent issues in many third world countries around the world. The team leaders are busily fundraising to build a well in Bangladesh.
Global Goal 1: No Poverty
Poverty can be an overwhelming issue to tackle. There are endless possibilities when considering where to start. However for the no poverty team leaders, the answer to this question was already being considered by a parent of the school. One of our parents runs a charity linked to an orphanage in Nigeria. During his recent visit he discovered that many of the children did not have shoes or the ones that did were using shoes that were ill-fitting. His mission was to provide the children with shoes. Our brilliant team leaders came up with an even better idea, growing shoes. Growing shoes can be adjusted to be made bigger as the child grows. The founder of the charity loved the idea and the no poverty team are now pitching ideas to the Head Teacher, Mr Freeman, for approval.
Global Goal 5: Gender Equality
The big surprise for the Gender Equality team was to discover how girls are treated differently to boys in many countries around the world. The team researched how boys were given more opportunities particularly in developing countries. They also considered countries where society dictated gender specific roles. The aim now is to promote gender equality through awareness projects in our school and beyond.
Global Goal 4: Quality Education
Access to education in many economically wealthy countries is often taken for granted however many children in developing countries have little or no access to any form of schooling. It is estimated that 70 million children worldwide do not receive a proper education. The team leaders came up with a great way to make the education journey easier for local orphans in Yuzhno. They decided to organize a shoebox appeal they call “School in a Box.” The idea is to help others by providing a gift package of school items that may be needed.
Craig Jones is a project leader and P7 teacher and says “we cannot save the world by ourselves, but we can contribute in our own way. By supporting the school’s vision of developing our children as future accountable global citizens, we can encourage a more internationally minded and compassionate group of people who can make a difference in the world. Along with high standards of academic achievement we also need high standards of thoughtfulness, cooperation and morality." Craig is originally from the Rhondda Valley in SouthWales, UK. He has been teaching for 12 years. He is currently the IPC Lead at Sakhalin International School where he runs a UN Goalkeepers Club. Craig is a passionate educator who believes in educating children as a whole focusing on the IPC personal goals as well as teaching international mindedness through the UN Global Goals. Craig is a big believer in lifelong learning and has just completed a Masters Degree in Education and he plans to move onto his next Masters, in Psychology later this year. As well as Russia he has also taught in Colombia, Malaysia and the UK. Aside from teaching, Craig loves to travel to new places especially to places where he can see wildlife in their natural habitats. You can connect further with Craig on Twitter at @CraigLearning.
My story begins with UN SDGs when I took the Sustainable Development Goals course on the Microsoft Community and felt its importance for raising awareness of our community in Egypt and all over the world.
So, I began to think of a project to share the importance of SDGs generally and how some of these goals can be achieved through solving desertification which is both one a local and global issue. Desertification has become a big problem in Egypt, specially in my city Damietta because we are located on the Delta and River Nile.
I began to teach the SDGs for my students (Primary and Intermediate levels from 8–15 years old) and asking them to research the importance of the SDGs by using Microsoft tools and by creating simple drawings through using this link: https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/sdgs.
You can follow our progress in Egypt through this Padlet:
Some countries have already begun carrying out the project steps like India, Sri Lanka and Argentina.
You can follow everything through this link:
Other countries as Canada, Kenya, Lebanon, Indonisia, Philippine ,UAE and Qatar will carry out when back to school next Septmber2017.
Now we are working on creative solutions to achieve these goals and solve the problem of Desertification using Minecraft game for Primary Stage and planting some types of plants from Science Faculty in Damietta in a small area in our School ( El Kafrawy Language School).
Besides I’m joining two global projects :
1. A Virtual UN Model Assembly By Maria Flor Conforti .( Goal 2 ) Zero Hunger . https://education.microsoft.com/Story/SkypeCollaboration?token=V6lew
2. Climate Action ( Goal 13) By Koen Timmers. It will be carried out 2nd October.My students are already preparing their work for them.
Rania Ezzat received her Post Graduate Diploma in Curriculum & Instruction Methodology and is preparing for her Master's in Education Technology. She is an EFL Head Teacher, and she has received awards in Kuwait and certifications from AUC and Microsoft. In June 2017, Rania was named the Sway Award Winner for her lesson on desertification from Microsoft which can be viewed HERE. Rania is a TeachSDGs Ambassador and is committed to bringing the SDGs to classrooms of the world. You can connect with Rania on Twitter at @ezatrania2.