Dear Test First Name Test Last Name,
The past two months have been quite busy and we were able to meet many of you in person – at the Going Green final events, at our booth at this year's Hannover Messe, or during one of several Teacher Trainings on our upcoming US Embassy School Election Project 2016!
In this newsletter, we'd like to welcome many new colleagues to this community. This edition features a look forward at the US elections and ways to participate in our school project, a look back at the conclusion of this year's Going Green project, and a word of gratitude to two people who have made Teach About US shine during this school year. As always, we hope you enjoy reading the newsletter – and get in touch with us with feedback and suggestions!
on behalf of the Teach About US Team and Partners
Leuphana Universität | Scharnhorststr. 1 | 21335 Lüneburg Fon +49 (0)4131.677-1662 | E-Mail | Web
This newsletter’s topics at a glance:
US Embassy School Election Project: An early preview
The Teach About US team is preparing for this year's upcoming highlight: the US Embassy School Election Project. We have completed a series of presentations and teacher workshops in the last few months in all parts of Germany. However, let me stress that it is absolutely not required to have attended these events in order to take part in the school project.
We have uploaded our PowerPoint presentation from these events along with the project flyer onto Teach About US. In addition, earlier this month we were able to discuss exemplary classroom materials with teacher colleagues at this year's Teacher Academy in Berlin. We have uploaded this early preview as well. Take a look at the materials and feel free to share them with colleagues at your school.
How can you participate?
To register, just visit https://www.teachaboutus.org/ and click on the registration link on the title page. (You need to be logged in for this. If you haven't yet created an account on our platform, please do so before registering for the project.)
What is the time frame for the project?
- Late June: A preview version of the Moodle course will become available (we will inform you about this).
- Late August: We will assign individual US states to participant courses through a web-based state lottery during (after the summer break).
- Late August until late October: This is the active School Election Project phase. It will end with the submission deadline for your course's prediction of the election outcome (to be announced).
- November 7: Students will cast their vote at regional final project meetings with representatives of all participating courses one day before Election Day.
For general information on the project, visit Teach About US.
Looking back at the Going Green project conclusion
This year, we were able to award 13 first prizes for student projects that exhibited outstanding creativity and innovative thinking, applicability in local communities, and a high quality of presentation – all done in the students' foreign language English. The award-winning Going Green action plans are:
As you all know, for such projects to succeed, it takes more than a learning platform and the prospect of presenting your idea to a large audience. In fact, what all of these student projects have in common is a teacher who sparked enthusiasm and inspired creativity among their students. This is why we decided to make this engagement visible by creating the Most Engaged Teacher Award. Four teachers share this award:
- Best Video: "Going Green video ideas" by course 5e at Gymnasium Essen-Werden with teacher Karsten Brill
- Best Bulletin Board: "Our food – local, healthy, sustainable" by grade 10 at Städtisches Gymnasium Gevelsberg with teacher Birgit Klöber
- Best Website: "How much water do we eat?" by the project group at Dalton-Gymnasium Alsdorf with teacher Anissa Schiffer
- Community Engagement Award: "Act locally: Our bike day, our donation to the Peace Village in Oberhausen, and teaching refugees" by course Q1 and Schülervertretung at Dalton-Gymnasium Alsdorf with teacher Anissa Schiffer
- Transatlantic Award: "SG Goes Green" by grade 11 at Schubart-Gymnasium Aalen with teachers Bettina Schönherr and Ilona Ackermann
- Most Comprehensive Award to Save the Environment: "Small Steps, Big Changes" by grade 11 at Saalburgschule Usingen with teacher Gisela Wildermuth
- Most Artistic Project: "Plastic is everywhere" by course 7e at Goethe-Gymnasium Frankfurt/Main with teacher Anne von Rekowski
- Best Powerpoint Presentation: "Einstein Goes Green!" by grade 10 at Albert-Einstein-Gymnasium Maintal with teacher Jil Behr
- Most Innovative Product Idea (Print): "Green World - All About Plastics" by grade 10 at Humboldt-Gymnasium Potsdam with teacher Silke Meyfarth
- Best Presentation: "Life Cycle of Clothes" by grade 10 at Gymnasium Hittfeld Seevetal and teacher Philipp Schmidt
- Most Innovative Product Idea: "Slow Down Fast Fashion" by grade 11 at BIP-Kreativitätsgymnasium Leipzig with teacher Madlen Naumann
- Best Poster Campaign: "Almeria – Does German buying behavior affect the sustainable agriculture in Spain?" by grade 10 at Georg-Herwegh-Gymnasium Berlin and teacher Chiara Catalano
- Most Creative Contribution: "Greenifying Our Scholl School" by grade 11 at Geschwister-Scholl-Schule Zossen and teacher Patrick Emmelmann
They all impressed us with their meticulous work on the Moodle plattform and the fact that they all succeeded in truly engaging their students in community outreach activities. They helped build partnerships with elected officials, local businesses, or institutions of higher education as part of their Going Green participation. With this award, we want to honor the commitment of these colleagues and shine a light on outstanding teacher engagement – which all too often is not being recognized the way it should be.
- Anissa Schiffer (Dalton-Gymnasium Alsdorf)
- Chiara Catalano (Georg-Herwegh-Gymnasium Berlin)
- Bettina Schönherr and Ilona Ackermann (Schubart-Gymnasium Aalen)
Our competition winners were invited to present their action plans to fellow project participants at concluding events in Berlin, Frankfurt, and Düsseldorf. If you couldn't make it to these events or want to relive the experience, here are some impressions from these events.
Going Green participants in Frankfurt (April 12, event organized by Earth Day Germany, IHK Hessen, and the US Consulate General Frankfurt)
Going Green participants in Düsseldorf (April 19, event organized by Schulministerium Nordrhein-Westfalen and the US Consulate General Düsseldorf)
Going Green participants in Berlin (April 18, event organized by Friedrich Ebert Stiftung and the US Embassy Berlin)
We have also uploaded a video of the award ceremony in Berlin. Watch it here.
Once again, the entire Teach About US team and our partners would like to congratulate all students and teachers who participated in Going Green and made this project such a – sustainable – success! And, join us again next school year for another round of Going Green!
Going Green featured at Hannover Messe
As part of our project's success in the Germany – Land of Ideas competition last year, we were invited to showcase our learning platform and school projects at the Hannover Messe, where the US was this year's official partner country. Although President Barack Obama did not find the time to stop by our stand (how could he?), Ambassador John B. Emerson made a visit to calculate his environmental footprint and to hold a town hall meeting with visiting high school students and apprentices inside the Tech2You Pavilion.
US Ambassador John B. Emerson speaking to high school students at a town hall meeting during the Hannover Messe last month.
Last, but certainly not least: Thank you to our bloggers, Brandon and Julianne!
This school year, Julianne Troiano and Brandon Greenblatt have done incredible work in keeping us up-to-date about what is happening on US-American campuses regarding sustainable development. They took us on bike cruises across Washington DC, riding for a greener future; explored volcanic landscapes in Iceland, the land of fire and ice; shed light on to the grassroots of environmental stewardship on US college campuses and young Americans' engagement in the divestment movement; they've introduced us to film directors and their vision of documentary films as a tool for social change; they've taught us to challenge common perceptions and to think outside the box, no, the paper bag; they've shown us these and many other exciting aspects of sustainable development across the Atlantic.
Reading their blog posts has become an interesting pastime for many within the Teach About US community over these past few months. In fact, it does not come as a surprise that the blog has become the "most clicked" item on our platform – and it's clear that this is due to the outstanding quality of Julianne's and Brandon's work! Their virtual internships with the US Embassy are now ending, but Brandon has already signaled his interest in blogging about the elections in the fall. We also hope to have a new team of German and American student bloggers soon in the new school year. But for now, let us extend a sincere 'thank you' to Julianne and Brandon, and all the best on your future projects!