Wednesday, October 15, 2014

World Wisdom With Weaver - "The Millennium Development Goals"

Well, folks this is a big week! In the days to come two major events will occur; the first is World Food Day (October 16). Haven't heard of it? Well then check out my previous World Wisdom With Weaver Blog that details this event.

In addition to that, The World Food Prize begins this Wednesday and runs for the rest of the week. Visit the World Food Prize Website to see the events that Kayla and I are attending. My next blog will reflect on my experiences there and will share with you ways to participate or to utilize the information in your classrooms.
Running concurrently with this is the Global Youth Institute which I am attending with my cohort Kayla Hack! She and I are beyond excited to participate in this event for the first time and to meet
with students, faculty, scientists, policymakers and dignitaries from around the world. I feel that it will help us gain so much perspective. Check out their website.

But, for this week, while these other events are occurring I want to discuss another topic that ties in with both of these - the United Nations' Millenium Development Goals (MDG's). In 2000, a committee of world leaders sat down to compose the United Nations Millennium Declaration. This document outlined the commitment their respective nations made to help end extreme poverty by working as a global community. From that came the UN Millennium Project and the UN Millennium Campaign. Both are tasked with informing, inspiring, and challenging the global citizens to take action and help to combat extreme poverty. The UN Millennium Goals are 8 topic areas that help to focus the project to not only pinpoint areas of need, but to also help guide resources and action.

They set a deadline for 2015 to reach these goals...

That date is soon approaching, and in fact, on several pages of the website, there is a countdown clock to the 2015 date they set. So, what have they done? It's a wonderful question and, I think, a great question to ask your students!

My goal in this blog is to get you thinking about how to incorporate the 8 MDG's and inspire higher level thinking in your students. They are, after all, the next generation to tackle these global issues.

Listed above are the 8 MDG's the UN Summit determined. These goals drive the campaign and the efforts of those involved. Let's talk about some ways to introduce these in class:
  1. Idea #1 - Class Summit
    1. I like to challenge my students to "think outside the box." Start by giving them some documents to read:
      1. What is the United Nations? The United Nations: An Introduction for Students
      2. What was the point of the 200 UN Summit? Millennium Summit (6-8 September 2000)
        1. But leave out the part where it lists the 8 MDG's.
    2. Encourage a class discussion with the prompt "What are the greatest issues affecting those in extreme poverty?" As students begin discussion, have someone serve as scribe and list those items on the board. Have them review the board and reflect on their choices, perhaps ranking them. Before you know it, they've BECOME the UN Summit and are developing their own set of MDG's. Want to make this more technology-forward? Facilitate this discussion through Twitter or other online forums. Develop your own hash-tag for the event.
    3. When the discussion is over and they have determined the most pressing global issues (feel free to give them a number - 8 would be appropriate), provide them with the 8 goals the UN Summit developed and discuss the similarities/differences between this list and theirs. Have them evaluate - did the UN get it right? Is there something they missed?
    4. Take it to the "streets." Encourage your students to interview classmates, faculty, administration, families and community members to have them weigh in on the topic. 
  2. Idea #2 - News Sharing
    1. Want to incorporate some literacy initiatives in your classroom? Have your students check out some of the ARTICLES related to the UN MDG goals. In groups of 4, students will read an article of your choosing (each group will read a different article). Within each group, provide questions as a starting point for discussion in the group. One student should be the reporter and write down the main ideas presented by the group and a question they'd like to ask the group pertaining to what they read. 
    2. When ready, have each group report out on the article they read and facilitate discussion through the question they formed.
  3. Idea #3 - Fact Sheets
    1. A simple activity utilizes the Fact Sheets developed in 2013.  
      1. Goal #1 Fact Sheet
      2. Goal #2 Fact Sheet
      3. Goal #3 Fact Sheet
      4. Goal #4 Fact Sheet
      5. Goal #5 Fact Sheet
      6. Goal #6 Fact Sheet
      7. Goal #7 Fact Sheet
      8. Goal #8 Fact Sheet
    2. Split students into groups and have them read over a goal you assign. Each fact sheet provides an overview, targets, and current progress. From this, students can produce a product (poster, Prezi, infographic, etc) to share that information.
These are just a few ideas for now. Please check back in future blogs when I'll focus on just a few of the goals at a time and provide some articles, curriculum and ideas to incorporate these MDG's into your classes. 

Have a great week!

Agriculturally Yours,
Nicole Weaver
PSU Global Teach Ag! Fellow
Agriculture Science Teacher

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