Teachers never feel like there is enough time. I know that thought crosses my mind just about every day in my classroom. There always seems to be something new to share with students, including new programs, important special events, and annual curriculum changes. So how can I fit teaching about climate change into a day or a week that is already overflowing? Can I continue to push it into tomorrow?
The answer, of course, must be no! The solution can be quite simple and perhaps easier than you may realize. To maximize your teaching moments rather than trying to add more to your day, try looking at what you already teach. How can you weave climate topics into the lessons you already prepare?
For example, why not integrate climate topics into nonfiction reading lessons? This will hook your students’ interest while addressing required ELA standards. You can also ask students to write about what they read, providing them the opportunity to utilize their writing skills to make connections to the world around them.
Or take another approach by connecting a math lesson to climate change. Choose an essential math skill, such as data analysis, and incorporate weather trends in your area. Students can track and record local weather, create graphs, and compare the data to historical trends, supporting and strengthening their math skills.
When asking yourself if you have time to teach about climate change, just remember that the answer is in your hands, quite literally. By integrating climate topics into your existing lessons, you will be empowering your students with critical information. The solution is found in the moments you have with the most important part of the future—your students!
About the Author: Elaine Makarevich
My name is Elaine, and I am fortunate to live and teach in rural northwestern New Jersey. Family is important to me and so is my teaching career. I have been blessed to be able to dedicate my life to both during my 29-year teaching career. Spanning nearly three decades, my teaching assignments have included all subject areas (grades K, 2, and 3), ELA (grade 4), Spanish instruction (K-6), Gifted & Talented Services Coordinator/Teacher, School-wide Enrichment Coordinator/Teacher, and Schoolyard Garden Coordinator. Teaching is truly a joy and a blessing in my life—it has allowed me to make a difference to many while being present in the moments of my own children's lives. Our school garden motto sums up my career: "By the children, for the children."