Get published and save the environment — Gordon Greenwood students write to the local newspaper

April 22, 2021

“This project began by wanting to teach the writing process, while informing the students of environmental concerns of today,” says Gordon Greenwood teacher, Lindsay Hartmann. Her grade 7 class spent the last month researching and writing letters to the Langley Advanced Times regarding climate change. “We researched climate change, and created informational writes to answer ‘How human activity has impacted the earth and its climate?'”

However, what got her kids excited was that they would be submitting their writing to the Langley Advance Times. “After reading the students’ work, and passion displayed within their writing, this lead me to want to share their work with the greater community, to pass on their new ideas and hopeful thoughts to others in the local newspaper,” says Hartmann.

Hartmann contacted the Langley Advance Times columnist Heather Colpitts to put this project into motion. “I’m grateful to have had very positive reception of the idea from Langley Advance Times, specifically to work with Heather Colpitts who made this happen,” says Hartmann. For the last several weeks in the lead up to Earth Day on April 21, the newspaper has been printing the student letters in their opinion column.

“Submitting their papers to the Langley Advance Times has given the students a chance to feel empowered and possibly make a difference in their own futures and others who make decisions that have an environmental impact,” says Hartmann. “How does this affect their learning of subject, and their perceptions of the outside community? I’m hoping the students will see themselves more as activists in the community, and that they will feel more purpose in their writing.”

But the purpose of this project is two-fold.

“Writing to the newspaper gave the students more optimism to help mitigate climate change, as well as provided them with greater recognition and a sense of pride in their work,” says Hartmann. “They will feel more compelled to write with higher standards, and feel heard as young people.”

Her grade 7 students were excited. The work they put into this assignment had not only a practical purpose, but they got to share their ideas with the wider community.

“I was grateful to witness the extra editing that came about when they learned they were going to be published,” says Hartmann. “I hope that this is something that can be repeated in the future, to help students feel connected to what they are learning in a deeper way.

You can read the student letters online through the Langley Advance Times website. The links are provided below:

LETTER: Langley student dives into the importance of water

LETTER: Langley student powers through assignment on climate change

LETTER: Glaciers disappearing faster than in previous decades, Langley student writes

LETTER: Langley student urges everyone to think about how their actions affect earth

LETTER: People must change their actions to slow global warming, Langley student writes

LETTER: Langley student calls on public to take action to stop pollution

LETTER: Langley student crunches some numbers on food production’s eco-impact

LETTER: Langley student delves into climate change and the impact on storms

LETTER: Langley student spills about the link between milk and climate change