The Celebration of Writing and Literacy 2022 October 27, 2022 – Posted in: Uncategorized

On Saturday, October 15th, the Teachers Institute of Philadelphia in conjunction with The Philadelphia Writing Project and the Penn Museum, hosted the annual Celebration of Writing and Literacy focusing on teacher research and knowledge. This year’s theme was Teaching Environmental Justice, where educators in all disciplines explored how they can teach their students the effects of climate change and environmental contamination and ways to take action on these issues. Keynote speaker, Michael Mann, Presidential Distinguished Professor in Earth and Environmental Science and the Annenberg School for Communication, was a highlight of the event. In a speech on his new book, The New Climate War, Mann stressed the importance of voting and of the implementation of rigorous K-12 standards for climate science education to ensure that current and incoming generations understand the depth of the problem.

Jerome Shabazz, another keynote speaker at the event highlighted the need for educators from under-resourced communities to connect with environmental resources provided by local government and non profit organizations. Shabazz who is CEO of the Overbrook Environmental Center, reflected on his experience immersing students at Overbrook High School in a land reclamation project that spurred them to think critically about air, land, and water quality. In the project, students helped transform a brownfield in their neighborhood and reflected on the experience through journaling.

The conference also featured sessions with over 30 teachers and HS students, partner institutions, and community-based organizations who shared environmentally conscious and culturally relevant practices. Participants spoke enthusiastically about how the conference changed the way they viewed environmentalism and about the ideas they would bring back into their classrooms.