California Objective 43: Government and Law – Environment

Ann Kopel  email:   Portland Community College – Southeast Center

Level 3 ESOL – Integrated Skills (Class size: 28 students with about ½ new to the class and the rest continuing students)


Conserving our water


Competency Area: Government and Law – Environment

Civic Objective: Identify environmental problems and recognize appropriate steps for resolution.

Language and Literacy Objective:  #8. Identify actions people can take to alleviate environmental  problems (e.g. use less water)

Crossroads Cafe - Episode # 17  United We Stand


Background: For the 2007-8 school year, we decided to focus on the environment. During Fall term our class looked at energy use, particularly electricity, but also at other energy sources such as natural gas, oil, and gasoline. Winter term looked at the use of water in our community, and next term (Spring 2008) we will focus on food and where it comes from.


Activity: Discover ways to use less water

We brainstormed ways to use less water and then invited guest speaker Linda Hendrickson who has transformed her home and lifestyle to save water. Go to her website to see what she and her husband do. They collect rainwater to use to water their yard and flush their toilets and they have a very parsimonious dishwashing technique. They also compost all their food waste and use it to raise worms.


Activity: Raise awareness of the problem of disposing of purchased water bottles

READING: Using Internet sources, I created an article called “Think Outside the Bottle” borrowed from the nonprofit by that name. (Article is attached.  File name: “The hidden life of bottled water.) Read and discussed.


Activity: Introduce idea that one person can make a difference.


Read the article I adapted “How can we change the world?” about the hundreth monkey story (attached.)



interconnected web of life





animal behavior





Review proper paragraph form, etc.

WRITIING: Write your story. How is your life different in the United States. For example, you could write: “In Vietnam I rode a motorcycle, but in the U.S. I drive a car.”

Tell us about your:




Appliances (washing machine, refrigerator, air conditioning)


Water use

How many things you have

The kind of food you eat


Do you think your life protects our environment? Why or why not?


End with Crossroads Café - Epidsode # 17  United We Stand

This episode deals with plumbing (and other) problems in Rosa’s apartment building and how she organizes the tenants in the building to address the problems with the corporation who owns the building. Discuss how Rosa was able to make a difference.