Winter term 2008: Summary Report

The Use of Municipal Water in our Community

 

Ann Kopel    email: akopel@pcc.edu

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)

 

California Objective 43: Government and Law – Environment

 

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

 

Civics Language and Literacy Objectives:

(Objectives are listed in logical order. The numbers refer to their place in the CA Objectives.)

 

2. Identify and describe environmental problems.

This term we focused on personal and community use of municipal water and how to conserve our use of water in the home.

 

1. Interview community members to determine key environmental issues.

We invited Jodi Burlin, Natural Resource Educator at the Portland Water Bureau to speak to the class about how Portland gets its water.

 

8. Identify actions people can take to alleviate environmental  problems (e.g. use less water) We invited guest speaker Linda Hendrickson who has transformed her home and lifestyle to save water. www.lindahendrickson.com

 

ESOL level 3 language learning objectives integrated into the Civics lessons

·        Increase accuracy in pronunciation and improve reading comprehension through the study and practice of:

o   Long and short vowel spelling rules

o   Spelling rules for adding endings to words that end in y

o   Understanding the meaning of compound words composed of two nouns

o   Understanding and using of prefixes

o   Changing the part of speech of a word through the use of suffixes

·        SPL – Practice the above in conversation via pair work, conversation grids, and class discussion. Listen to videos and live speakers for comprehension.

·        Writing: Learn proper paragraph form, the use of topic sentence, and always capitalizing the first word of a sentence and using end punctuation. Also, improve the ability to clearly express complete thoughts

·        Grammar:

o   Review verb tense forms for the simple present and simple past.

o   Produce sentences that use positive, negative, and question forms of these tenses.

o   Understand and differentiate parts of speech labels from the grammar role label (eg. noun vs. Subject/object)

o   Learn and practice the use of common modal forms in positive, negative, and question form in both speech and writing.

o   Learn a few idiomatic speech forms for polite requests and refusals.


 

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. This episode also looks at the use of polite requests.

 

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 1: Introduce idea of conservation for new students

READING:  Read an article about saving energy by replacing the famous Times Square New Year’s Eve dropping ball that used to use electric light bulbs with one that uses light emitting diodes. “New York’s Green New Year” www.breakingnewsenglish.com

This led to a cloze activity to focus on comprehension and spelling. Vocabulary introduced included:

diode, light-emitting, technology, multi-colored (provided an opportunity to introduce concept of prefixes which was explored in depth near the end of the term)

 

Activity 2: Introduce idea of Global Warming to new students

Watched Movie Trailer for “The 11th Hour” http://movies.yahoo.com/movie/1809424669/video

Vocabulary introduced:


 

·        environment

·        greenhouse gases

·        CO2

·        Methane

·        blanket

·        gravity

·        warmer

·        North and South poles

·        human footprint


 

Speaking / Listening: Listened to the movie and discussed as a class. Then in small groups talked about these questions:

1. What unusual weather news have you heard about in the last few years?

2. What does 11th hour mean?

3. What is a refugee? What is an environmental refugee?

4. The movie says that “with existing technologies we can reduce the human footprint on planet earth by 90 per cent.” What can each person do to help?

 

Activity 3: Introduce concepts of where our water comes from and how it is used

Use an edited print out from Gresham’s Water Bureau website

http://www.ci.gresham.or.us/departments/des/water

READING: As a class, read this print out and follow the path of Portland’s water from Bull Run to the city. Show pie chart of how water is used once it reaches your home and discuss ways to conserve water.

Vocabulary:


 

Watershed

dam

water treatment

facility


 

 

Activity 4: Elaborate on previous concepts of where our water comes from and how it is used via Guest speaker: Jody Burlin, Natural Resource Educator at the Portland Water Bureau

Speaking / Listening: Jody came for one hour. She covered much of the same material we had already read about previously, but she also brought a wonderful “google earth” slide show that visually flew us from the pristine Bull Run Watershed, down the river, across the dam, and into Portland. After the presentation the students asked questions.

 

Activity 5: Learn to read your water bill

I brought in a copy of my water bill and showed them how to read it. I also explained that the water use from the first quarter (Jan, Feb, March) determined the year-long charges for the more expensive sewer bill. By using less water during the first quarter, a household can save on their water bill all year long. Students were asked to bring in their own water bills.

 

Activity 6: 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. www.lindahendrickson.com. 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 7: 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 8: Introduce idea that one person can make a difference.

READING and WRITING

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

Vocabulary:


 

interconnected web of life

realized

environmentalism

choices

affect

animal behavior

noticed

generation


 

 

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:

House

Heat

Appliances (washing machine, refrigerator, air conditioning)

Transportation

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.