Project Ripple Effect / Проект Эковолна

A Project Prototype by Alla Savelieva

not published

The project is designed for intermediate Russian learners. It aspires to address the littering problem and lack of sustainability and environmental awareness in Baku, Azerbaijan. In this 3-week course, Russian language students develop an activity book for 7-year olds (2nd grade) of Baku European Lyceum. The activity book aims to encourage sustainability and raise environmental awareness among 2nd-graders in the course of interdisciplinary education. Russian language students create an activity book that teachers of interdisciplinary education can use in class as a supplementary material.

This project was developed during the NLFRC, University of Hawaii's Online Institute on Pragmatics in PBLL (February-March 2018) and  on campus Summer Institute on Pragmatics in PBLL (June 2018). The project aims to incorporate PBLL's key features of a cognitive challenge, emotional engagement, social satisfaction, a good balance of language and content, and personal empowerment. 

In this project, Russian language students practice speech acts  (greetings, requests, and thanking) in a culturally appropriate manner,  analyze sustainability from multiple perspectives, provide solutions to real-world problems, and improve their technology literacy. 

Overview files comments

Preparing for the Project

Project idea development and connecting with project partner

Launching the Project

Ice-breaker

Gallery walk

Interview with a community representative

Huseyn's story

Driving Question

Managing the Project

Photos and reflection exercise

School visit/Lesson observation

Reading the interview with an environmental education expert from Russia

Interview with an environmental science professor from ADA University

Building the learners' profile

Email writing

Infographic

Graphs

Activity design

Gallery walk

Feedback from an environmental education expert

Getting language feedback

Transferring activities into Google Doc

The Public Product

Assessment

Evaluation Week 1

Feedback from the lyceum teacher

Evaluation Weeks 2-3

Final presentation

Final reflection

Implementation Info

Interview with an environmental education expert

Email writing handout

Preparing for the Project

Project idea development and connecting with project partner

The idea of developing a project that focuses on environment came naturally from my own interests and background, and experience of growing up and living in a place where sustainability is only a recent concept and garbage sorting is not mandatory. My hope was that students would also feel strongly about environmental protection and education. Luckily, the problem really resonated with them. 

Students may develop more interest in environmental problems of Azerbaijan when they read artciles about pollution: 10 most polluted cities in the world. One of these cities is a former Soviet industrial town not far from Baku. Students can also notice things around them, pay attention to littering and garbage sorting problems. 

The public product idea was inspired by exisiting project prototypes, - the Hawaii Plantation Village Project and Manoa Fall Project. Our project partner, Baku European Lyceum, also supported the idea of developing a supplementary activity book.  The lyceum is a school for gifted children in Baku. It was very eager to collaborate and quickly agreed to participate in the project. The teachers allowed us to observe lessons and gave their feedback on the activity book. One of the Russian language learners was a former lyceum student and it was nice that one of the participants had a personal connection with the project partner. 

The project environmental experts are environmental science and education specialists from Siberia, Russia. They work in secondary and/or higher education to promote environmental education and sustainability, and collaborate with domestic and international environmental organizations. It was quite challenging to coordinate the project events with the experts because of the time difference. The project was launched in late May and was not a perfect time to collaborate with the experts because of field projects and expeditions. We developed a printed interview and written feedback via a messenger instead of Skype interviews. In future, however, Skype interviews could be included in the project as well.     

The project preparation also included scaffolding authentic texts and real-life interactions with native speakers. Student did multiple passes through a text and were encouraged to recycle the vocabulary as much as possible. 

To help students learn new vocabulary, a glossary is available at 

To help students develop activities for children I provided activity samples. 

Based on interviews and other input, student formulated the main principles of environmental education for children, and the school and student profile. Together with the driving question, public product idea and available tech resources, this informarion is available in a presentation in Russian and in English.

 

 

Launching the Project

Ice-breaker

Students take an A4 sheet, fold it in a pyramid and write their names in Russian in the middle. On the other side, student use the top part to write three things about themselves: " I - ...", "I am from ...", "I like ...". 

Once they are ready, students get up and mingle. They have 3-4 min to introduce themselves to at least three people. 

Technology Tips

No technology involved. Students need A4 paper and markers. The teacher should demo how to fold the paper into a pyramid and what she wrote for the three things about her. 

Task Extension

The name pyramids can be used further in the course. To add new information, students use the remaining two panels on the other side. When students are given more input, they can write/draw something they like to do or identify themselves with and etc. Drawings encourage others to ask questions, when students mingle. 

Gallery walk

Photos of garbage and littering are placed around the classroom. These photos are taken in the University neighborhood. In pairs, students walk around the room, look at the photos and say " I see...", "I think...", "I wonder...". 

Technology Tips

No technology required.

Task Extension

Students can also benefit from a small vocabulary sheet (garbage, littering, garbage can, recycling, cigarette butts, plastic bags).  

Interview with a community representative

This is a mini-interview with a community representative, who is also a teacher and a parent. She is invited to class to sit down and talk about the garbage problem and lack of environmental education in Baku. The teacher asks the guest to tell a bit about herself and:

-       which environmental problems she sees in her neighborhood and Baku in general

-       what can be done/solved on the individual level

-       whether her children notice the problem and ask questions

-       why environmental education is important at a young age.

 

After the interview, the teacher asks students to help her lay out the key ideas from the interview on the whiteboard:

-       environmental education should start at an early age

-       the garbage/littering problem is a serious problem in Baku

-       many things can be done on the individual level

Technology Tips

No technology required

Huseyn's story

The teacher asks the students to define the correct order of a graphic story of Huseyn, a local boy. The purpose of the graphic story is to support what the community representative says in the interview and prepare students for the driving question. In groups of three, students read all slides and decide which order is correct. They need to justify their answers. The students use a language sheet for transitions of order. Once the groups finish, they are invited to compare their versions of the story.

Driving Question

After the graphic story, the teacher presents students with the real-world problem, driving question and her idea of the public product. 

Technology Tips

No technology reqired

Managing the Project

Photos and reflection exercise

From the entry event, students have a homework task to notice the littering problem in Baku. They were asked to take a photo and think of it. They use the same formula of "I see...", "I think...", "I wonder..." that they used in the gallery walk in class. 

Students work in pairs, show each other their photos and speak. 

Technology Tips

Students bring the photos on their phones. 

School visit/Lesson observation

Students visit Baku European Lyceum and observe a lesson of interdisciplinary education in the second grade. We come in during the break before class and the Russian learners have time to meet the 2nd graders, introduce themselves to the teacher and students. The Russian learners use an observation form to record their observations. In the second part of the lesson, they monitor student activity (designing a poster) and help them with poster ideas. 

Technology Tips

No technology required. 

Task Extension

With the school permission, student can use their phones to take photos and/or make short videos and  in the following lesson give a 3 min presentations about what they learned. 

Reading the interview with an environmental education expert from Russia

To learn more about environmental education before creating an activity book, students read an interview with an environmental education expert from Siberia, Russia. This is an authentic interview that I transcribed and scaffolded. -- The teacher orientates students to the text, elicits that it is an interview and tell some information about the interviewee.

- Students read the text for the first time and mark all words that they know.  

- Students read the text for the second time and tick all the cognates. 

- Students read the text for the third time and fill in the blanks.

- Students go through the text again and highlight the key points. The teacher writes them down on the whiteboard. 

- Students go through the text again and find the phrases, which are useful for interview etiquette. Students write down the phrases in the handout. 

 

Technology Tips

No technology required

Task Extension

As homework,

- Students can recycle the text to talk about themselves. 

-Students write 4-5 sentences about environmental education in their own country. 

 

Interview with an environmental science professor from ADA University

The teacher interviews the professor in class. Students take note and ask questions. (This time it is easier for students to ask questions because they took part in a mini-interview in the entry event, read an interview, and visited the school, where they also interacted with native speakers). The purpose of the interview is to give students information about environmental protection and education in Azerbaijan. In return, students tell about environmental education in their home countries (prepared as homework).

Questions: 

- Tell a little about yourself.

- In your opinion, is environmental education developed in Azerbaijan?

- What does the government do to protect the environment in Azerbaijan? 

- How to effectively teach children to protect environment? 

 

Technology Tips

No technology required. 

Building the learners' profile

At this point, students have plenty of information to define key features of effective environmental education activities. On chart paper, students bullet point the following: 

- principles of teaching environmental education to young learners

- learners' profile (student use their observation forms from the lyceum visit)

- country context 

Technology Tips

No technology required. 

Email writing

Students write an email to the lyceum teacher, thanking her for letting them observe the lesson and politely asking her to share her activity ideas with them. 

Students can recycle the language from the printed interview and other previous activities. 

The activity is also scaffolded by a handout for email writing phrases. 

In salutations, the teacher explains the cultural differences in formal addressing in Azerbaijan and Russia (patronymic - father's name). If necessary, the teacher can also highlight the importance of patronymic in Russian culture, show the typical endings and ask what students' patronymics are. 

The email writing handout.

Technology Tips

Student need laptops and a Russian keyboard. As an option, they can handwrite in class and type it up at home. 

Infographic

Students look at two different infographics about decomposing of various items (food, paper, plastic, tyres, etc). 

Students find cognates and write them down on the chart paper (there is chart paper on the wall to write down cognates). 

Students look at the infographics and match items with their decomposure times. 

Student check their answers in pairs. 

Students discuss how they can use infographics in designing their own activities.

 

Technology Tips

No technology required. 

Graphs

The teacher polls students on ice-cream flavors by having students write their favorite ice-cream flavor on a sticky note. Then she writes down the flavors on the whiteboard, stacks the notes  above the names, and traces lines around them as to build a graph. 

Then students poll each other on favorite beverages and fill out a blank graph handout to show their findings. 

Students brainstorm how graph activities can be used in their future environmental education activity book. 

 

Technology Tips

No technology required. 

Activity design

Student draft their activities on handouts. Each student designs two activities. Students have the following resources: 

- Sample activities from textbooks for 2-4th graders 

- Sample activities shared by the lyceum teacher

- Depth of knowledge table (lists various verbs that reflect critical thinking)

- The criteria of effective activity design (that students bullet pointed earlier) such as promoting sustainability and critical thinking, engaging, interdisciplinary, and multiple prespectives. 

Technology Tips

No technology required. 

Gallery walk

After students sketched their activity designs, they transfer their activities on chart paper sheets and put them on the walls. In pairs, students do a gallery walk and use sticky notes to leave feedback on each activity.

Student award different categories to activities:

- the most appropriate for the 2nd-graders,

- the most relevant in Baku,

- the most convincing.

- they also have an ATTENTION sticker to remind peers to double-check facts.

At the end, as class students brainstorm how to make all activities suitable, convincing and relevant.

Technology Tips

No technology required. 

Feedback from an environmental education expert

As students keep working on their activities, they ask for feedback from an environmental education expert. 

Students send her a message on Whatsapp, politely asking to provide feedback on their draft activities.

Students reuse phrases of the interview etiquette and email writing phrases, - salutation, asking for help, asking for clarification, thanking.

The expert answers in the form of voice messages.

Students incorporate the feedback.

 

Technology Tips

Student need to have Whatsapp installed on their phones. 

Getting language feedback

Students get language feedback from language experts. Language experts are the teacher and invited university students who are native Russian speakers. Students use a handout

 

Technology Tips

No technology required. 

Transferring activities into Google Doc

The teacher creates a shared document and creates an outline. Students transfer their activities into the document. Students learn how to insert and format images and tables in Google Doc. Student help each other with tasks such as formatting, using online tools (mazes, inforgraphic and graph generators, etc.) and language (instructions). 

Technology Tips

To edit the document, students need to have a Gmail account.

Students bring laptops to class. 

Student have access and refer to the Google Slides presentation, Glossary, and a list of online tools.  

Task Extension

Students can also use the commenting tool on Google Doc to comment on each others' activities, if they have an idea how to improve them or see an error. 

The Public Product

The activity book. 

Assessment

Evaluation Week 1

At the end of Week 1 students fill out a form.  

Feedback from the lyceum teacher

The teacher shares the Google Document with the Baku Lyceum 2-nd grade teacher. As the receiver of the public product, she reviews students' work and leaves comments in the document. Student incorporate her feedback.  

Evaluation Weeks 2-3

Students fill out a form

Final presentation

Students prepare a 2-minute presentation about their activities. 

They use the following checklist: 

Presentation skills: 

- Did I greet my audience?

- Did I tell the title of my activity?

- Did I explain the procedure of the activity?

- Did I answer questions from the audience?  

Language skills:

- Did I use appropriate vocabulary?

- Did I use transitions? 

- Was my speech grammatically correct? 

Together with the checklist, students also get a list of useful phrases for presentations.

The university students and faculty, community members and the Lyceum teachers are invited to attend the presentation. 

Final reflection

Students write a short reflection essay in which they answer the following questions: 

- What did you learn about environmental education and sustainability in this project (can be about Azerbaijan, Baku, Russia, or in general)? 

 

- What did you learn about teaching children in this project  (can be about the school, class size, teachers, activities, principles, culture)?

Implementation Info

Interview with an environmental education expert

The interview is an authentic interview with an expert from Siberia, Russia. The text is scaffolded and accompanied by exercises. 

Email writing handout

The handout outlines typical thank you/follow up/request emails. 

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