Eco-Justice Ministries
   Eco-Justice: "the well-being of all humankind on a thriving Earth"
 

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Eco-Curriculum Review for the title
Singing Mountains and Clapping Trees: Let All Creation Praise

This is the full report format.

Short Description:   Vacation church school (or other settings) program with 10 lessons, produced by the Reformed Church in America
Long Description:   From the text: Curriculum ideas for ten lessons are provided. Many of the lessons, however, could easily span more than one class period if desired. The first lesson introduces creation as Godīs gift. The next eight lessons study and celebrate those gifts according to the days of creation in the first account (Genesis 1). The final lesson provides a time for celebrating all of the gifts of creation and for making a commitment to their care and protection. Each lesson begins with a psalm of praise. Next the Present (gift of creation) and the Problem (wasy in which the gift is abused) are listed. An activity for each of the following categories is provided: Parable (story); Preparation (Bible learning experience); Project (something to make); Prose (writing activity); Psalm (song); Play (game); Picnic (snack idea); Praise (a way to praise God for the gift); Prayer (creative prayer activity); Plan (action children can take).
Reviewed by:   Linda Mullison, a Presbyterian laywoman from Colorado

Bibliographic & Purchasing Information
Author:   Colleen Aalsburg Wiessner
Publication date:   1991 Website for this resource:   none known
We know of 1 source for purchasing this resource.
Address Environmental Justice Resources
National Council of the Churches of Christ
PO Box 968
Elkhart, IN   46515-0968  
Phone 800-762-0968   219-264-3102 Fax 219-262-0966  
Website www.nccecojustice.org/printedresources.htm E-mail    
Price $8.95  Order # EJ 9435 

Target Audience & Course Sessions
Age levels Preschool     Primary    Jr. High    Sr. High    Adult
Optimum class size Minimum: 6 (for some of the group games) Very easily adapted for large groups 
Normal number/length of sessions If the curriculum's normal lesson plan is followed, there will be 10 class sessions each lasting about 1/2 day
Are suggestions included for expanding/contracting the series? Each session, done in its entirety, probably would take at least 1/2 day. However, sections of each session could be eliminated to fit the lesson to 1 hour.  
In the judgement of the reviewer:
 using these materials, or even just one session from them, a reasonable, coherent and self-contained class can be offered in a single session of about an hour.
 using these materials, a class can be offered that runs for at least two sessions.
Are learners expected to do homework? None  
Target audience:
 Interfaith - addressed people of many faiths
 Judeo-Christian - addressed to Jews & Christians
 Christian - addressed explicitly to Christians
 Not explicity faith-based - not much religious content
Note: The reviewer says that this curriculum is especially appropriate for members of the denomination or agency that developed it (Reformed Church). For example, it may explore a denominational policy statement. The reviewer also believes that it is possible for groups outside that tradition to make good use these materials.

Materials provided
Materials include:
 Leader's guide
 Student book
 Discussion questions
 Class activities - arts & crafts
 Class activities - group participation 
 Video
 Reading materials
 Presentation or lecture notes
 Prayer or worship resources
 
Other materials required:none specified
Description of the Leader's Guide:Please see "Optional Long description".
Description of the Student's Book:n/a

Materials review & Assessment of usability
Are all necessary materials provided in an accessible format? Adequate - all necessary information is present  
Is the leader's guide comprehensive? Yes - materials are very well laid out and comprehensive  
Are class sessions clearly outlined? Yes - materials are very well laid out and comprehensive  
Will it be helpful to have a teacher with above-average expertise in the subject matter? Not Necessary to have teacher expertise  
Preparation time required by the leader:
Subjectively rated as heavy, medium or light
Preparation time will involve preparing the parable (usually a performance), gathering materials for craft projects (such as making recycled paper, or finding magazines with nature pictures in them), obtaining songs and stories. However, the preparation does not involve researching the subject matter. 

Content focus
Is this curriculum explicitly focused on environmental awareness or action? Yes, as a primary focus  
Does this curriculum deal with a specific environmental issue or problem? No - it covers a number of topics.  
How is the scope of the environmental impact positioned?  Impact on specific human communities
 Impact on humans in general
 Impact on humans and non-human parts of creation
 Impact on non-human parts of creation only  
Does the curriculum address questions of social or economic justice in relation to environmental issues? Yes - as part of the topic  
Does the curriculum provide detailed content in a particular academic area?   For example, is there significant content in biology, physics, sociology, economics, etc.?
Biblical & theological content are covered below
No.  
Biblical/theological content
Does the curriculum have explicit biblical or theological content? Yes, as a major emphasis  
How are the Biblical materials used? Individual texts are presented as meaningful ('proof texts')
Several texts are developed to show a larger biblical theme
Texts are placed in a historical or cultural context
Texts are presented as authoritative
Students are invited to comment/reflect on the meaning or authority of texts
Biblical texts are of equal importance to other scriptures/readings  
The checked statements reflect how ethical guidelines are grounded The Bible tells us how we should live/act
A theological tradition or other authority tells us how we should live/act
We should make decisions about how to live/act based on defined ethical norms
Caring for creation is an assumed norm  
The curriculum views humanity's role in creation as:
The checked lines are clearly affirmed
Domination - God created the Earth for human use; there are no real restrictions on what we can or should do.
Stewardship - "The Earth is the Lord's"" and humans are in a position of managing the creation according to God's will.
Partner - Humans are part of the web of creation, and participate in it as one species among many.
Intruder - Humans are separate from nature, and inherently destructive.
In evaluating changes to "solve" environmental problems, does the curriculum tend toward an approach that is: Confessional - I/we need to change
Confrontational - Some other person, policy or institutions needs to change
Combination - a mix of confessional and confrontational

Content approach
Which of these are a primary target outcome of the curriculum?  Increase awareness or concern about the environment in general
 Increase awareness of concern about a specific environmental issue
 Acquiring factual knowledge about an issue
 Changing or deepening personal beliefs
 Change in self-awareness or self-identity
 Changes in personal behaviors or lifestyle choices
 Influence on institutional (church or other) practices
 Increased political advocacy
 No change, or goal not clear
Range of perspectives offered:   A single perspective is offered
  Compares 2 or more perspectives
  A diversity of perspectives presented

Subjective Reviewer Feedback
In general, would you use this program with your congregation/organization? Why or why not?
Yes! There is a wealth of ideas, from very short-term, immediate projects to long-term action. While each lesson focuses on a gift of creation, there are enough ideas to come at each focus from several different angles (for instance, "What can we learn from birds?" to "How can we make shopping choices that won´t endanger birds or ocean life?" in one lesson.) There are many fun activities to keep the focus upbeat.
What specific feedback do you have after reviewing these materials? What did you like? What did you not like?
Realistically speaking, there are too many activities in each lesson even for older children with longer attention spans. An educator planning from this book should begin with the assumption that each lesson would need to be trimmed, or that one lesson could span several sessions. In particular I like the upbeat, fun focus of the book and the many suggested action items.
What questions did you have after reviewing the materials?
n/a
What, if any, concerns do you have about the use or implementation of this curriculum?
None.
What content, if any, does this program seem to be missing? What would you like this program to cover which it does not?
n/a
Have you ever used this program in the past, or heard of others who have used it? What if any response was received?
n/a


Eco-Justice Ministries   *   400 S Williams St, Denver, CO   80209   *   Home Page: www.eco-justice.org
Eco-Justice Ministries ended all programming on July 31, 2020. This site is an archive of writings and resources.
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