Friday, March 30, 2012

Talking about Earth Hour with students

At 8:30 PM (local time) on Saturday, March 31, 2012, lights will switch off around the globe for Earth Hour and people will commit to actions that go beyond the hour.

The simple idea of switching off lights for an hour to drive action on climate change began in Australia in 2007.

In 2011 more than 5,200 cities and towns in 135 countries worldwide switched off their lights for Earth Hour 2011 making it the largest climate campaign ever! 

Hundreds of millions of people are expected to switch of the lights as part of the 'Earth Hour' action organised by WWF this Saturday night.

A record 5411 cities and towns across a record 147 countries and territories will participate in "Earth Hour 2012" tomorrow, Saturday March 31 at 8:30PM.

UN will take part at Earth Hour. United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, has pledged his support for Earth Hour. He promised that the UN would be switching off their lights. 

He called on people, organisations and businesses to do the same, in solidarity with the 20% of men, women and children who don’t have access to electricity. “Turning off our lights is a symbol of our commitment to sustainable energy for all,” Ki-moon said. “We need to fuel our future with clean, efficient and affordable energy. By acting together, we can power a brighter tomorrow.”

UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova has urged all World Heritage sites to switch off for Earth Hour, to show leadership and commitment for a sustainable planet. Watch here

The European Parliament will once again participate in the global WWF initiative 'Earth Hour' in order to raise awareness of the need to combat climate change.

Portugal participated on Earth Hour since March 2009. It started with 11 cities and now there are more than 80 that turn off the lights as a sign of support for the planet. 

This year, Portugal 81 cities will switch off the lights of some emblematic monuments ! Families, friends, will stay together to switch off the lights at home. Some go on the street and illuminate the cities with candle lights. 


Students are more and more motivated for environmental causes. The young green generation is there!

Since 2008, my students participated on Earth Hour. We worked on some activities in the classroom in Languages and Civics curriculum. Three blogs have several posts about our partcipation: BlogdosCaloiros (Portuguese language), BlogSkidz  (French Language) and Torrinhas Verdes (Civics). 

Last year, this blog shared Earth Hour 2011: it's time to go beyond the hour  proposing some school activities and showed Portuguese young people involved on Earth Hour.

Level: all levels (as an educator, it's up to you adapt the activities to the level you are teaching)

Curricula: Languages; Geopgraphy, Sciences, Civics, Arts

Earth Hour network has new ways to share your "Earth Hour". Challenge your students:

Challenge Earth Hour on YouTube

Make your Dare! "I will If You Will" Earh Hour channel already features challenges from hundreds of supporters and quite a few famous faces! 

Make sure you’re with your students among them.

Curriculum: cross-curricula Arts, Languages, Geography (elementary education and secondary education)

Join Earth Hour Group on Flickr

Earth Hour needs people help again to make sure it get the best shots as the lights go out around the world. 

All we need to do is join Earth Hour 2012 Flickr Group, ask students to take some photos of their Earth Hour celebrations (at home or on street), upload the best shots to the school own Flickr account and add them to Earth Hour Group

The best shots will be featuring on Earth Hour 2012 homepage. So on the night of March 31st, invite your students to go on to see if their shot is there. 

Cool isn't it? They will love to see their photos!

Curriculum: Arts, Languages, Geography, Civics (elementary education and secondary education)

Engage with Earth Hour on Twitter 

Ask your students to write inspirational tweets (140 characters), sharing photos, videos and updates with Earth Hour on Twitter by using the  #EarthHour hashtag in their tweets.

Earth Hour can retweet the best content to the rest of the world. 

Follow Earth Hour on Twitter to get the most up-to-date images, news and action from the lights out events as Earth Hour makes its way across the globe. 
Ask students to choose some news, images, events from Earth Hour hashtag and discuss some of them on Monday in the classroom.

Curriculum: Languages, Arts (secondary education)

Other ways to challenge Earth Hour : Instagram or Pintarest 

There is a map that can be explored here. And you have other tools and downloads here

Primary education:

For the youngest you have some fun staff here (games and applications that help spread the message of climate change action through Earth Hour):

To celebrate Earth Hour, Dr. Seuss’ legendary character The Lorax has promised to turn his moustache green for a whole day on 31 March.

According to The Lorax, "Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It's not," so now is your chance to do something. If 500 children promise to switch their lights off for Earth Hour, The Lorax will turn his moustache green for a whole day on 31 March.
Kids click on the link to “Accept” the challenge. Then ask them to tell parents to turn out the lights at 8:30pm on Saturday 31 March. 
  • To see The Lorax change his moustache, they must visit on 31 March with Mom or Dad.
  • Of course, they can watch the trailer of The Lorax and have fun before going to the theatres with family.
  • They can also see what Green Tips The Lorax has for "Earth Hour". Whether it’s recycling at home or planting some trees at school, we can all do our bit to save the planet.

"This Earth Hour we want you to go beyond the hour, so after the lights go back on think about what else you can do to make a difference. Together our actions add up."

Visit Earth Hour on Facebook.  Earth Hour Portugal is on Facebook too.

Turning off your computer, your TV and all those other power-hungry devices is an important part of the process. Your Geeklet ritually disconnecting from their game and shutting down the computer is really making a sacrifice. 

So, we are all on it! Tomorrow, 8:30 PM (local time) switch our lights, disconnect our geeklet ritual, light on our candles!

I will if You will!


Copyright © 2012G-Souto'sBlog,® 

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Talking about Earth Hour with students by G-Souto is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Education : 50th Anniversary of World Theatre Day


John Malkovich, message 2012

"I'm honored to have been asked by the International Theatre Institute ITI at UNESCO to give this greeting commemorating the 50th anniversary of World Theatre Day. I will address my brief remarks to my fellow theatre workers, peers and comrades."

John Malkovitch

World Theatre Day was initiated in 1961 by the International Theatre Institute (ITI). It is celebrated annually on the 27th March by ITI Centres and the international theatre community. 

Various national and international theatre events are organized to mark this occasion. One of the most important of these is the circulation of the World Theatre Day International Message through which at the invitation of ITI, a figure of world stature shares his or her reflections on the theme of Theatre and a Culture of Peace. 

ohn Malkovich, message 2012/ UNESCO

The first World Theatre Day International Message was written by Jean Cocteau (France) in 1962. 

This year, the World Theatre Day Message was written by award-winning actor, director and producer John Malkovich:


Go to the theatre with your students! Best lesson you can share with you students about theatre.

Students can celebrate WTD 2012 by cliking on the map of celebrations to find out more about the different events organized for WTD 2012 all over the world.

Level: Vocational Education

Curriculum: Arts

"Theatre has the power to move, transform and educate in ways that no other art form can. Theatre reflects both the extraordinary diversity of culures and our shared human condition, in all its vulnerability and strength."

Irina Bokova, Director of UNESCO 
on the occasion of the 50th Anniversary of World Theatre Day 


Copyright © 2012G-Souto'sBlog,®
Credits. videos UNESCO

Licença Creative Commons
Education : 50th Anniversary of World Theatre Day by G-Souto is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.


Being John Malkovitch | UNESCO

Malkovitch: le théatre dans la peau (interview en Français)

World Theatre Day

Saturday, March 24, 2012

It's Daylight Saving Time !

Hugo | Martin Scorsese, movie (2011)

How good it is! Spring hour is back! Today March 25th, time changes in Europa clocks.

Last Tuesday, the equinox marked the point in space and time when the sun moved across the celestial equator from south to north 

Spring Google doodle

Spring has historically started on the day of the vernal equinox, which occurs on the night of 20/21 March. 

The spring, or vernal, equinox marks the point in space and time when the sun moves across the celestial equator, an imaginary circle projected into the sky above the real equator.

"The Earth's atmosphere delays the sunset and makes the sunrise earlier,"
 Robert Massey, the Royal Astronomical Society 
Daylight Saving Time (DST) gives us the opportunity to enjoy sunny summer evenings by moving our clocks an hour forward in the Spring.
The date is particularly significant for pagans, many of whom carry out rituals, while others indulge in activities such as egg races, egg hunts and egg eating and egg painting. 

Pyramid of the Sun | Mexico
Photograph by Henry Romero, Reuters 

A number of Spring festivals are celebrated at this time while Vernal Equinox Day is a national holiday in Japan, when families visit graves and hold reunions.
The Persian new year, Nowruz, also corresponds with the vernal equinox while many Iranians, Kurds and others will celebrate the 13-day festival.
An interesting subject to discuss with our students: ancient traditions in different civilizations, don't you think? I really do it! And students love to learn about it and make their own researchs. Some are fascinatined on cultural matters.

Yet, the implementation of Daylight Saving Time has been fraught with controversy since Benjamin Franklin conceived of the idea. Even today, regions and countries routinely change their approaches to Daylight Saving Time.
DST was first introduced in 1895 by George Vernon Hudson, a New Zealand entomologist. 

William Willett independently came up with the idea of DST in 1905. As an avid golfer, Willett disliked how his afternoon golf round was cut short by early days. 

During 1916, Germany and its allies in WW1 were the first countries to adopt daylight savings time to ensure consistent railroad times and limit coal usage.

Interestingly, not all countries will participate in the daylight savings 2012 time changes. About 70 countries worldwide participate in daylight savings, while some major countries like China will not participate in daylight savings in 2012.

"Most areas of North America and Europe observe daylight saving time (DST), while most areas of Africa and Asia do not. South America is mixed, with most countries in the warmer north of the continent near the equator not observing DST, while ChileParaguay, and Uruguay and southern parts of Brazil do. Oceania is also mixed, with New Zealand and parts of southern Australia observing DST, while most other areas do not". Read more on Wikipedia...
Most of the United States begins Daylight Saving Time at 2:00 a.m. on the second Sunday in March 
In the European Union, Summer Time begins and ends at 1:00 a.m. Universal Time (Greenwich Mean Time). It begins the last Sunday in March.  In the EU, all time zones change at the same moment.

Well, teachers know that DST can be disruptive for some teenagers and school children everywhere. Students feel tired in the morning courses during the first week.

The rationale behind changing the times on the clock makes little (or more likely, no) sense to them. But let us explain the process using the video below:

Last year, I presented another video by Mitch Butler and Josh Landis of "The Fast Draw" team providing an animated explanation for moving our clocks forward and backward in the spring and fall.

You can use both in the classroom to provide a good explanation of the rationale for Daylight Saving Time. Students will understand better the reasons of DST.

Some links to complete DST theme in the classroom

Students might learn when DST happens in the different countries around the world - Geography curriculum 

But don't be fooled by the old rumor that on the spring equinox the length of day is exactly equal to the length of night. (...)

During equinox, night and day are nearly exactly the same length – 12 hours – all over the world. This is the reason it’s called an “equinox”, derived from Latin, meaning “equal night”. (...)

An interesting article that presents us 6 reasons against TSD in USA that you can argue in the classroom with your students if you live in the United States

Like the clouds, an interactive website about DST that students might use to develope tech skills, picking the clouds one by one to learn about Day Light Save, when, why, where. There are some good itens to enlarge knowledge like the History, Controversy (amazing guidelines) or Anecdotes (funny)

Similar to the previous link but students might learn about DST in Portuguese, English and Spanish - Languages curricula

Kids are always very curious about 'things' happen! Here a good way to let them learn about Day Light Saving, Spring Equinox and some traditions in different civilizations.

Well, some people don't like daylight saving time. I do love Spring DST but really hate Autumn DST. If you live in Europe...

It's daylight saving time: Don't forget to "spring forward" the clocks tonight by one hour. 

Copyright © 2012G-Souto'sBlog,®
Credits. video CGP Grey
Licença Creative Commons
It's Daylight saving time! by G-Souto is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

And what about World Water Day at school?

r Day. 
"World Water Day" is observed on March 22 every year. A day to recognize the importance of earth's most precious natural resource was proposed 20 years ago (1992) at the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED). 

Diptendu Dutta/AFP/Getty Images (2011)

While we often take water for granted, many people cannot have it. Water plays a role in almost everything we do. We drink it, wash in it, play in it, generate power with it, irrigate crops with it, travel and transport goods on it, fight fires with it, and worship with it. 

World Water Day official ceremony Live from 9:30 GMT. 

"UNICEF's World Water Week, to be held from March 19 to March 25, is expected to create awareness and find donors and volunteers to identify and support the cause of providing water to the 780 million people who don't have safe drinking water."


Each year the UN focuses on an aspect of water and the forthcoming event clearly links in with agriculture and nutrition. 

"When a billion people in the world already live in chronic hunger and water resources are under pressure we cannot pretend the problem is ‘elsewhere’."

Coping with population growth and ensuring access to nutritious food to everyone call for a series of actions we can all help with:
  • follow a healthier, sustainable diet;
  • consume less water-intensive products;
  • reduce the scandalous food wastage: 30% of the food produced worldwide is never eaten and the water used to produce it is definitively lost!
  • produce more food, of better quality, with less water
So, we can discuss all these items at school. And bring some new habits to our students.

Levels: Primary to Secondary education;

Curriculum: Civics; Sciences; Languages; Arts.

Some resources:

  • Today, 9:30 GMT tune in to the Live Webcast of the Official UN-Water World Water Day 2012 ceremony from FAO Headquarters in Rome. Watch the webcast with your students (secondary education).

  • UNESCO has a DVD for Natural Sciences (a package of four CD-Rom produced for the International Decade for Action 'Water for Life', published in 2003).

  • UNICEF has also a video "Safe water safe lives" : in Pakistan access ro safe drinking water and sanitation is protecting children for deadly diarrhoea and malnutrion.

  • Watch "Water, The Drop of Life" here or "Safe Water Safe Lives" here.
Let your students use their smartphones and meanwhile ask them to take some notes or to search for countries where the water is a great gift.

It can be a good start to an open discussion in the classroom, after watching the ceremony or the videos by UNESCO or UNICEF. 

It will depend from the resource you chose for the level that you teach.

Or you can simply start your lesson with the video below:

After that, ask your students if they know how much water they consume every day and how can we change our diet and reduce our water footprint.

Some UN Water campaign materials can be download from here
  • brochures, 
  • logos, 
  • videos and animations
  • games

Download and print out these materials for your "World Water Day" event or lesson learning more about this year's topics of 'Water and Food Security'!

For example this game teaches the students how much water is needed to create one meal, while ensuring that we get the nutrition we need. 

The game can be played on students' computer or mobile device and is available in English, French and Spanish. 

Some extra activities: 

You come up with different suggestions that students can develop for a week:
  • Discussing (at home and in the classroom);
  • Writing (news, storytelling, drama, poetry);
  • Drawing;
  • Dramatizing;
  • Creating videos;
  • Sharing experiences with different schools in the world using Twitter or Facebook (school account) or just by emailing if some schools in  disadvantage countries have no access to social networks.

I am sure that World Water Day 2012 event in your school will be an interesting project.

The success of "World Water Day" depends on you!


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Licença Creative Commons
And what about World Water Day at school? bG-Souto is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

References for Teachers:

UN Water