Ann Finkel

“Our Lives, Our Land, Our Health”

“Our Health is More Important than Your Money”

“People Power Prevailed”

These are some of the quotations from the posters my students made after our Blockadia lesson this past year. I’ve been using resources from A People’s Curriculum for the Earth in my 7th grade science class for some time now, but this was the first year we did the Blockadia lesson. In our Climate Justice unit, I’m always trying to balance the need to impart a true sense of urgency when it comes to the climate crisis while not leading students to despair and defeatism. The Blockadia lesson helped to do just that — show students that when people join together and decide to take action, they really can make change. And not just in a hypothetical way — this is really happening, near and far!

I also used this lesson as an opportunity to teach students about the climate justice fights in our own neighborhood of East Boston, including opposing a proposed Eversource Electrical Substation to be built right next to a playground, and developers paving over grass and next to marsh with little consideration for the environmental needs (or affordable housing needs) of the community.

As a capstone to this lesson, students made posters pretending that they were members of the groups they read about. The words and pictures on these posters are the best testament to the effectiveness of this empowering lesson.