Teaching for the Climate Collaborative (TCC)
Four CBO partners make up the Teaching for the Climate Collaborative: Common Threads Farm, Nooksack Salmon Enhancement Association (NSEA), RE Sources: Sustainable Schools, and Wild Whatcom. TCC’s project encourages K-5 teachers to move student learning outdoors and incorporate local context and solutions-focused climate change connections into their lessons. The four CBO partners who specialize in school gardens, salmon recovery, natural resource conservation, and nature immersion provide experiential education that gets students outside, keeps lessons place-based, and teaches resilience, respect, and conservation of nature.
Teacher Professional Development
The project hosts up to 120 K-5 teachers in Whatcom County in multi-session teacher workshops, offering both a 101 and 201 option to support both new and returning teachers. Sessions focus on increasing teachers’ understanding of climate science, and applicable local resources for context and support, while drawing connections between NGSS and hands-on outdoor lessons incorporating environmental stewardship. The series provides NGSS aligned lessons that address real world climate experiences. Offering place-based education for teachers and a connection to their specific environment allows students the ability to make sense of the natural world around them.
Inclusion of early elementary teachers provides much needed professional development opportunities with a focus on climate science lessons and resources for younger students. Rural school district teachers are also a focus to provide equal representation of their counties where professional development may otherwise be lacking. For example, in previous years several educators from private schools outside the school districts, homeschool cooperatives, and Lummi Nation School attended. By including these teachers, this project provides a critical collaborative component that is normally missing in these communities, due to differences in school infrastructures and support systems.
Teachers who have participated in previous years’ professional development with TCC will be provided with the opportunity to deepen their knowledge and practice. With their peers, they will be able to troubleshoot lessons they have used in their classrooms. The project intentionally includes a teacher panel and relationship-building opportunities so that returning teachers can act as mentors for their peers both during and after project completion.
Partners & Collaborators
Resources for Sustainable Communities, Sustainable Schools
Nooksack Salmon Enhancement Association
Northwest Indian College
NW ESD 189
Western Washington University, Woodring College of Education
Teaching for the Climate Sessions
This online, self-paced Canvas course brings together the knowledge and experience of our local outdoor education organizations and partners to give Whatcom County educators the confidence to connect the next generation of students to their surrounding community and the natural world.
Teachers will learn strategies to create equitable and effective outdoor learning environments. Teachers will then choose one of the provided NGSS-aligned lessons to implement with their students.
Lesson plans feature place-based climate science through outdoor, hands-on activities and also incorporating indigenous ways of knowing and social justice.
This exciting expansion of our project will allow teachers ready to dig deeper in climate science education to strengthen their skills through peer networking and troubleshooting, incorporate new lessons from ClimeTime, OER Commons or other resources (ie CLEAN) into their classrooms, and to deepen their own understanding of content while also building a community of best practice by serving in a mentor/advisor role to first time ClimeTime participants. We hope this shared learning space will allow peer-to-peer relationships to build so that co-mentorship can continue well beyond the project, creating richer experiences for students in our region.
Success Stories from TCC
By now, many know that the colonization myth we learned in school doesn’t tell the whole story of how the Americas were settled. In 1492, Christopher Columbus sailed the ocean blue, but what he discovered was not a “New World” — it was once inhabited by millions of...
What’s your favorite meal? Is it macaroni and cheese or pizza? Arroz con pollo or oatmeal? No matter what the food, where it is grown, or how it is disposed of, there is an impact on the environment and people. These facts were made evident to elementary school...
While working through the Teaching Outside module teachers were asked to spend some of their own learning outside. “Having to be outside for a required assignment was wonderful. I have felt so cooped up the past few months, and so much of my work requires me to be...