Sustainability in Vermont’s
K-12 Standards-Based
Curriculum Framework
Russell M. Agne
The University of Vermont
http://www.uvm.edu/~ragne/
Outline of Presentation
• Standards Based Instruction in Vermont’s K-12 schools
• The original Vermont Framework (1996)
• Grassroots environmental organizations rally to change
state educational curriculum regulations (1999)
• Standards 3.9 “Sustainability” and 4.6 “Understanding Place”
• A tour of exemplary sustainability projects
• Assessment strategies to insure topics are taught
• How might the enhancement process have been
conducted more effectively?
The Vermont Framework
of Standards & Learning
Opportunities (2000)
* Vital Results
cut across all fields
of knowledge
 Field of knowledge
Standards
traditional
disciplines
Vital Results
1. Communication
2. Reasoning and Problem Solving
3. Personal Development
* Worth and Competence
* Healthy Choices
* Communication
* Making Decisions (3.7-3.9)
* Relationships
* Workplace
4. Civic/Social Responsibility
* Service
* Human Diversity
* Change (4.5-4.6)
Sustainability Standard 3.9
PreK-4
3.9 a. Identify items that they consume on a daily basis and
analyze the resources used in producing, transporting, using,
and disposing of these items, including the origins of the resources;
3.9 b. Distinguish between personal wants and needs and identify
how marketing and advertising inform their consumption patterns;
3.9 c. Identify and practice ways to repair, re-use, recycle, and
design and implement a plan to monitor personal resource
consumption;
3.9 d. Explore local natural and human communities, identify
the systems within them, and what is required for these
communities to be sustained.
Understanding Place
Standard 4.6
Grades 5-8
4.6 aa. Apply knowledge of local environment through
active participation in local environmental projects;
4.6 bb. Explore the interrelationship between the local
environment and the local community culture (e.g.,
settlement patterns, tourism, hunting, agriculture);
4.6 cc. Explore and participate in sustaining or building
on unique and valued elements of past and present
community heritage.
Grades 9-12 Standards
3.9 aaa. Prepare an impact assessment that
analyzes the effect of a particular product’s or
project’s life-cycle on the sustainability of a
natural and human community. [sustainability]
4.6 bbb. Evaluate and predict how current trends
(e.g., environmental, economic, social, political,
technological) will affect the future of their local
community and environment. [understanding
place]
Sustainability and Sense
of Place Project Exemplars
 Attentive to Standards







Mount Mansfield
3.9 and 4.6
Connections beyond
lesson or unit
Collaboration with others
Experiential learning
Conceptually rich
Authentic work
A rich history and a
promising future
Serves diverse learners
Environmental Learning for
the Future (ELF)
 School program taught by parents and other community
volunteers.
 Hands-on natural science in direct support of education
standards.
Includes Standards 3.9 and 4.6.
 Vermont Institute of Natural Science
VINS seeks standards additional to
Vital Results 3.9 and 4.6
Vital Results
 Problem Solving: 2.2-2.3; 2.5; (process, types of problems,
mathematics dimensions)
Abstract and Creative Thinking: 2.10-2.14 (fluency;
elaboration; flexibility; product/service; planning/
organization).
 Listening: 1.13-1.14 (clarification & restatement; critique).
Fields of Knowledge
 The Living World: 7.13 (organisms, evolution, and
interdependence).
 History: 6.4; 6.6 (historical connections; being a historian).
 Artistic Process: 5.22; 5.24 (intent; artistic problem solving)
FEED Project: Northeast
Organic Farming
Association
 Hands-on standards
Grinding flour
Vermont FEED
(http://www.nofavt.org/programs/vtfeed.php)
based units
introduce students to
farm life, agricultural
cycles, nutrition
education, and
history.
 A “curriculum of
place” Cafeteria,
local foods
 K-8
The Intervale
 Building Real Connections The renovation of this historic farmstead will
provide a center for experiential learning, where interactive dialogue and
education takes place around land, food and land-and-food-based
commerce. Interactive learning and project demonstrations, workshops,
lectures and tours will educate the general public about diversified and
sustainable farming, composting, riparian restoration and value-added
ventures -- everything from bio-diesel production to growing mushrooms
on spent barley or attaching an ice-cream business to a small dairy. A
youth garden, educational winter greenhouse and community kitchen are
opportunities for hands-on, get dirty learning, eating and cooking.
http://www.intervale.org/
Intervale 700 Acre working landscape
Place-based Landscape
Place Based Landscape Analysis
Goals
Provide educators with
information and
strategies for creating
place-based learning
opportunities for their
students.
* Cultural & natural history,
web-based @ UVM
* Landscape interpretation
http://www.uvm.edu/place/
A Forest for Every Classroom:
Conservation Study Institute
 Students immersed in
the interdisciplinary
study of “place” are more
eager to learn and be in
stewardship of their
communities and public
lands.
 Public forums
 Teacher workshops
 Curriculum Units
FFEC professional development program
http://www.nps.gov/csi/trends/forest.htm
Landscape Change Project
Winooski in 1927
Winooski in 2000
Digital Archive of historic and current photo pairs
http://www.uvm.edu/perkins/landscape/
Sustainable Schools Project
Educating for Sustainability
Understanding
the
Interconnecte
dness of the
World
Knowledge of
Place – human
and natural
communities
Awareness of
one’s own
ability to
make a
difference
Sustainable Schools Project
http://www.sustainableschoolsproject.org/
Students
engaged in
creating
sustainabl
e
communitie
s
The Living Machine
Champlain Elementary School
“The tank and its place
in the center of the
school are
emblematic of the
seriousness with
which teachers and
students here
appreciate the issue
of sustainability”
Invented by John Todd
Classroom use of The Living Machine
http://www.sustainableschoolsproject.org/curriculum/livingmach/lvngmach-intv-betsyp.html
Shelburne Farms Field
trips
Join the Flock!
March
Spend a day on the farm during lambing season.
Students will explore the life of sheep from their
care to the wonders of wool fibers. Students will
card, spin, and felt wool. Hands-on experiments
will help students investigate the amazing
properties of wool.
Educational Standards Taught
Visual Arts, 5.29-5.30; Natural Resources, 7.16
(a-c and aa-cc); Understanding Place, 4.6 (a-c);
Sustainability, 3.9 (d)
Shelburne Farms
http://www.shelburnefarms.org/educationprograms
ECHO at the Leahy Center
for Lake Champlain
Hands on the Land
Standard 4.6 bb. Gr. 4-7
45 minutes--change in the
Lake Champlain Basin
Human impacts including
hunting, intentional fires,
forest cutting, agriculture,
development, pollution,
resource use
ECHO Lake Champlain
http://www.echovermont.org/
The Last Link/The Next Link:
Building Sustainable
Communities
Tim Kahn
An educational documentary on Pete Camino, an
83-year old shepherd who is one of the last Basque
farmers in Buffalo, Wyoming.
The film is a tribute to family-based agriculture
and the loss we are now facing in this country and
around the world with the disappearance of family
farms. Narrated by Willie Nelson.
Tim Kahn's Lesson Plans, Student Work Samples
http://www.uvm.edu/~smelcher/nextlink/
Here Lie the Bodies: A Look at
Vermont’s Cemeteries and their Place
in the Landscape
Joan Alexander
1/3
As settlements grew, graveyards near churches
and in towns were built…Sandstone and slate
were popular for gravestones; they were softer
and easier to carve than boulders, and were
found locally.
2/3
In cities outside Vermont, the “in” gravestone
material changed from slate to white marble
during Victorian times (beginning about 1880),
and Vermont followed the trend.
3/3
“Who Am I?” Curriculum
The Sharon Academy
How does place influence who we are?
Essential Outcomes
1)
Gather and present evidence [town survey]
2)
Consider perspective [personality and lifestyle]
3)
Consider supposition [What might Sharon look like in
4)
5)
6)
7)
50 years without zoning laws?]
Demonstrate social commitment [service learning]
Make connections [language arts interviews, science]
Consider relevance [how place influences their lives]
Employ Creativity [Personal Special Places Map]
1/5
The Minister’s Lot
The Sharon Academy Minister's Lot Project
http://www.cmapgallery.org/gallery/TSA/index.htm
“You can’t get there from
here..”
The Sharon Academy Middle Schoolers at The Minister’s Lot
* There are too many trees, too close
Student
Suggestions for
the Sharon
Conservation
Commission
together, and the land needs to be logged.
I think there are too many maples and
that there needs to be something done to
prevent diseases, and forest fires.
* I think that the Minister’s Lot should
be left alone. It is a good place for a
preserve and not a good place for the
public.
* I think that trails should be made for
people to walk on whenever they choose.
* Making a campground, walking/cross
country skiing trails, and leaving a
habitat for the animals would benefit
many people in different ways.
Assessment of “Who Am I?”
Curriculum
Grades 7-8
Learning and Teaching Activities
Assessed
Place Journal
One week intensive geography class with
climb up Mt. Cardigan
x
Personal Special Places Map
x
Map creation with VINS
x
Map presentations to community
Town planning readings and discussions
x
Values barometers and other activities to
introduce place
x
Miles to Nowhere reading and worksheet
x
Acknowledgments
Paul Bierman, The University of Vermont
Christine Massey, The University of Vermont
Joyce Morris, The University of Vermont
Jen Cirillo, Sustainable Schools Project, Burlington
Gail Hall, Vermont Department of Education
Margo Ghia, The Nature Museum at Grafton
David Alexander, ECHO Lake Aquarium & Science Center
Judy Moore, The Sharon Academy
Andrew H. Lane, The Sharon Academy
Bruce Parks, Vermont Department of Education
Susan Agne, Central School, South Burlington
Sandra W. MacLeod, The University of Vermont
Tim Kahn, South Burlington High School
Joan Alexander, Glover
Tracy Lavallee, Underhill ID School
Anne E. Watson, Montpelier High School
February 14, 2005
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