Carmen Clay

I retired from teaching service-learning and Spanish to help with my grandchildren.  Then, the pandemic started and now they are attending in-person pre-school in Massachusettes and I am keeping safe at home in Oklahoma City.  I decided to join this challenge with my grandchildren as my students.  I am adapting the curriculum to 2- and 4-year old minds without any elementary education background.  I have not focused on climate change and this will be an opportunity for me


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School: Homeschool 2 students are involved The average age of the students: Pre school Year

Projects 2020

Week 1: Weather, Climate, Climate Change

I met one of my students for two brief sessions.  We started recognizing the letter W as the letter in the word weather.  Our discussion took us to focus on maple trees and that is where we are now.  I am documenting interaction and lesson plans at FaceTime Toddler Homeschool OKC/MASS CCC.  

Our short interaction with the subject of maple trees-due to the love my student has for maple syrup-is shown the reality that some farmers in the Northeast of the USA are replacing milk production with sugar maple for their livelihood and as a positive avenue to prevent climate change.  A little extra video research on the subject of how climate change is affecting the sugar maple reveals that the window of time for tapping sugar maples has become shorter due to climate change. 

Week 2: Alone in this journey for the time being

As a student-teacher of this program, I continue to read the curriculum to enhance my personal knowledge.  I am also creating PP with videos I am finding from the web and linking recommended activities to my class age group.  As family schedules do not allow me to be with my grandchildren on a set schedule, I need to wait to interact with them when the parents' schedule permits it.  Then, I need to navigate through what the kids interest is at the moment to guide them to my lesson plan without forcing the issue.

Find my second week preliminary PP here 

Week 3 Connecting with other teachers and schools

I am still having a solo journey this week.   I have emailed some Pre-K-K teachers, Yvette Sampior, USA, a Primary Teacher, Margarita Dakoronia, from Greece, and a Primary Teacher from India, Dhanam Sivalingam, to see how they are connecting the Challenge Curriculum to their students' age level.  I eagerly await their response as I have not seen any postings of their work yet.

Meanwhile, this PP shows how I am adapting the curriculum, but they are just ideas that will be enhanced or will send me on a different path as I see what experience Primary School teachers are doing with their students.

I felt validated on my efforts when I received the following email from Ivette Sampior, California, USA.  

"How are you? I have felt a bit overwhelmed with Distance Learning. I teach Kindergarten and I also have a Kindergartener at home. I have one son.   Bless moms and dads who have more than one child at home!  I have simplified how I integrated The Climate Project on-line as part of my curriculum.

One lesson, I defined the weather.  I had my students draw how the weather looked in the morning where they live.  Then I had the students draw, once more,  how the weather looked before the sunset. Weather can, in some places, change quickly.  Climate does not change quickly.

Lesson 2 was defining Climate Change.  I found a short video to play for my students. Then I asked them to illustrate how they can save energy at home.

Lesson 3 Next week I will ask them to become inventors and create ways we can conserve, save energy. I am not at all tech savvy, but I have to admit I have enjoyed learning and teaching through this platform! 

I hope my ideas have helped you in some way. Let me know if you want me to send pictures of my lessons to you!  ~ Yvette M. Sampior"

I immediately added her drawing ideas to my grandchildren PP for week 1, where I am still having fun following the curriculum whenever my family gives me the opportunity to be a Climate Change ABC's sitter grandmother.  As I was writing the email to Ivette, the idea of a picture book came back to the surface of my future planning.  I found myself telling her that the creator in me uses images and words as creative tools.  I may have discovered the creator in me.  It is funny to write that as I never consider writing a book an invention, but... we will see.  As a first step, I started a PP with words my grandchildren have used so far.  Illustrations will also come from the children.

My country of birth is Peru and I am teaching my grandchildren a little bit of Spanish and some words in Quechua, a native Inca language.  As both of my grandchildren like to cook, they have been exposed to the idea of Pachamanca (earth cooking) and now I decided to teach them how to take care of our Pachamama (earth).  As I google this last word, I discovered that there are a film and an Australian Daycare Center with the Pachamama ideology.  I also got connected to a globe picture book, which I immediately sent  a personal copy to my grandchildren.  I love to see the possibilities of a globe that focuses not only on the earth's geography but on all living things in it.  

Week 4: Solutions and Collective Action

We are still in Week 1 in real-time interaction with my grandchildren.  I have been keeping up with the weeks by myself.  I have learned so much by just reading the curriculum and watching recommended videos and some that just were provided as possible interesting connections by the algorithm that checks for things that may be of interest to me.

My PP of preliminary activities for Week 4 with my grandchildren can be found here. 

As a student, much older than the ones intended to be connected with this Challenge, the solution I am working on is to raise awareness through social media. and using my buying power to help WWF. 

I am also overcoming my excuses for not being creative or inventive and I am starting to work on a Climate Change -Virtual Reality -Alphabet Picture book.  The first version will be a very personal one with my grandchildren's contributions to the challenge as we go through the material I have prepared for them.  I was hoping that the teacher from California would be interested in joining me with her class, but I have not heard back from her since her first connecting email. 

I am considering altering my eating patterns to include more plant-based consumption.   

Finally, I am going to investigate with the City Council how to plant trees in "desert areas of our city" and, when I will feel that is safe to go into the community, I will promote indoor gardening in collaboration with the organizations that are currently working on this area.

Week 5: Action Project Development and Presentation

Well, as I expected, I am still going solo on the week's schedule, but my grandchildren have indirectly decided what the project will be.  My grandson FaceTime one day very interested in continuing to learn how to make letters, especially because he had figured out how to write his name in uppercase letters.  I am teaching him how to read in Spanish using a program I remember using when I was his age.  It is called Coquito.  Coquito was invented by a Peruvian pre-school educator who turned 95 years old this year.  So, our project is raising awareness of climate change in the pre-school and kindergarten population by creating an alphabet book. So far, I am using the Spanish alphabet and I am attempting to do the words bilingually.  

The structure of the alphabet will change as we go through the lessons, but in the 5th week PP you will find the beginning of it with the letter A for astronauts as both of my grandchildren dressed up as astronauts for Halloween 2020.  We also have done the words for Winter and Winter Climate and Fall Climate.  I need to point out that my older grandchild still does not understand the difference between seasons and weather, therefore, the climate has not been targeted yet, but soon will as we look through the lens of sending a note to the space station.  

During a breakfast conversation this week, my grandson asked me if I knew about the colors of the planets and the solar system as he was very excited about being an astronaut for Halloween.  He had a placemat with the Solar System and he proceeded to teach me about the colors in it.  As I also sent him an inflated space ship, he was going to blast off to those planets soon.  I told him I was going to add astronaut, space ship, the space station to our growing Alphabet.   An ABC of Caring for Mother Earth and the Solar System.  My granddaughter was only interested in showing me the bow in her hair she was going to wear for Halloween.  Her astronaut suit did not generate the same level of excitement as in my grandson.  The space ship did though.  Maybe because I only sent one inflatable and her brother was so excited to blast off in his astronaut suit. 

I showed my grandson an abbreviated version of the space station and astronauts telling about what they do there.  He was eating breakfast and kind of showed some interest.  I asked him if he wanted to write something to the astronauts in the space station.  He said he would, but he had to think about what he would say.

Week 6: Action Webinar and what is next

Saw most of the webinar.  It was inspirational, but I wish we had had a collective advocacy action together, like sending the manifesto to our elected officials the same way we send comments in the chat.  The kids who would have click that sent push would have had a very personal collective commitment to their right to systemic change, after all, nature is the children's property.  In a decade, I will be 75 years old.  I hope to have made some difference in this area before I move on to my final sleep.

The speakers were great and the collective effort united us in purpose.  Now is up to us to live on our planet watching our personal choices, starting with small choices like less meat, replace arrogance, and greed with the knowledge of interdependence and that everything on earth is living and needs to be respected, protected, and nurtured.  We must get to Net Zero because we do not have two planets to live on.  The only other planet that once was like earth, Mars, the trip takes 3 years and the infrastructure for us to survive is not there yet.  Net Zero is an existential action and we must convert the "PRIMA DONNAS" to take this existential journey with us.

My six week PP has the emerging ABC book my grandchildren and I are creating as we continue to learn together about Climate Change and we begin to take small actions like planting trees, creating temporary homes for lonely bees, cleaning oceans, and using their curiosity to investigate and create new ways to eco-friendly ways of life.

From the webinar, I am going to follow-up on the Legos, Build the Change, subscribe, and do some of the lessons of Roots and Shoots, and investigate further Global Citizen and Roman

Thank you for the opportunity to participate in such hearth ware for the earth experience. 


Images by Carmen Clay 2020-11-01Clay