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And Just Like That I became an ESS Teacher...

I may be showing my age with that Sex & the City reference, but I don't mind. ;) It seems like at every school I teach at somehow Environmental Science finds me.... in this case in the form of IBDP Environmental Systems & Societies, a course that I am very excited to be teaching this year! I'm actually kind of surprised that I managed to go four years teaching here in Morocco before I ended up teaching this course. I have been the EcoClub advisor since I arrived here (and I have taken on a similar role at every school I've taught at) and while my undergraduate BSc degree is in Biology, my BEd had a focus on Nature-based Environmental Education and I chose to take two years off teaching to complete my Masters of Environmental Studies where I wrote my thesis on Sustainability & International Education.

You can see some pictures in the gallery above including me hiking in Setti Fatma here in Morocco, one of the AP Environmental Science classes I taught in China in our APES exam shirts, my Masters of Environmental Studies degree with my Certificate in Environmental Sustainability Education and the Green Team in Caracas, Venezuela working on making reusable shopping bags out of old t-shirts. It is clear that the environment and sustainability have been important to me.


Thus far in my teaching career Environmental Science has found me teaching SVN3M (Grade 11 University/College Environmental Science) in Ontario, Canada then AP Environmental Science in China, then a small group Environmental Science Independent study class in Caracas, Venezuela and finally on to IB Diploma Environmental Systems & Societies here in Morocco. Due to my many years of experience teaching similar courses and my knowledge of the IBDP from six years of teaching IBDP Biology I am well equipped to take on ESS.


The biggest difference between ESS and the other, similar courses which I have taught is that ESS is not a pure science course, the IBO has cross-listed it as a Science (Group 4) course and as an Individuals & Societies (Group 3) course. While Environmental Science by nature has connections to economics, politics and culture ESS takes these connections to the next level deliberately weaving them into each and every topic. They do this particularly well with the use of case studies, where students are given a data booklet of graphs, short lists of facts "fact files", maps and other useful diagrams about a specific country or region to analyze. There is so much reflection, investigation and application in ESS, much more so than in the other pure Environmental Science courses I have taught.


For this reason teaching ESS is very exciting to me, it has inspired me to create lots of new resources for my class, some of which are ready to go in my TPT store. One of my favourites so far is the Music, Culture & the Environment Assignment, which I used to introduce Environmental Value Systems & media (in this case music and children's books). I was inspired by a song called "Written in the Sea" by Hannah May which I discovered this summer. I have also designed my first new lab, also for Topic 1, this time about Ground Pollution using bread slices & food colouring, it's a great way to assess your students laboratory skills and identify both strengths and weaknesses as you plan the rest of your course.


Here are some of my favourite books, videos and documentaries to use while teaching any environmental science course, all of which I hope to incorporate into my ESS course over the next two years.


Books (links are to free resources like YouTube read a-louds):

  • The Lorax by Dr. Seuss

  • The Truax by Terri Birkett (a response to The Lorax)

  • Silent Spring by Rachel Carson

  • No One Is Too Small to Make a Difference by Greta Thunberg

  • A Bigger Picture: My Fight to Bring a New African Voice to the Climate Crisis by Vanessa Nakate

  • What is Life? Five Great Ideas in Biology by Paul Nurse

  • Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer


Movies & Documentaries (links are to trailers or YouTube videos when available):


There are so many things to learn about, talk about and explore in Environmental Science and I'm excited to see what new things I discover while teaching ESS. Stay tuned! I know there will be more to share as I continue to blog about my #teacherlife.


As always, thanks for reading teachers, travelers & curious souls of all kinds. The Roaming Scientist



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Hi, thanks for stopping by!

I'm the kind of teacher who is always trying something new, new labs, new Apps, new scaffolds and even new countries to live and teach in. I'm looking forward to share what I learn with you all through my weekly blog posts. 

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