A dedicated environmental educator, ocean campaigner and experienced senior teacher, Judith Stutchbury has been using the Roots & Shoots Resource Box for Schools for over a year with incredible results. A now dearly loved feature of her classroom at Kalkie State Primary School, Bunderberg, QLD, her pupils have excitedly dived into our four hardback books. The books have developed a deep passion and curiosity for the natural world, plus a strong desire to protect it.
Here Judith shares her story with the Roots & Shoots Australia Resource Box for Schools program, and why she highly recommends the program to all primary-age educators:
What was the reaction to the box by your pupils when it first arrived?
“The students were very excited opening the Roots & Shoots Australia Resource Box of goodies that arrived at our school. We don’t get many parcels! Opening the box was a delight in itself, but the “wow” that came after was heartwarming…
“Even at age seven they were so impressed by the quality of the books, the photography and information. They are simply spectacular and it was so uplifting to see the students as thrilled as I was. Straight away students pointed out creatures they had never seen, spectacular places and animals with interesting facts. I could not keep up with them!
“They were amazed with the photographs: beautiful and unusual places they had never seen before; animals they had never heard of; unusual animals that did interesting things; as well as animals they were familiar with. The students have never received any books of such quality, nor have I in my thirty years of teaching.”
What impact has the Roots & Shoots Resource Box made on your pupils?
“The Roots & Shoots Australia Resource Box has been exceptional for engagement of students and connecting them with nature. The books have so much environmental interest for students, and brilliant learning experiences that they immerse themselves voluntarily. They are an excellent escape from anything that may be worrying them.
“Our class assessment required an information report on animals – including a description, information on habitat, diet, predators and more – so the four books were an invaluable resource for that task. However the general knowledge, learning and the interest of students generated from the books has been ongoing and lovely to watch.
“Students have much joy excitedly telling me things about places and animals. They love teaching me facts from books. The books are treasured by the students so much, that they now top my behaviour management strategies! All the students work on task knowing that I am looking for great workers to pick Dr Goodall’s books first, for shared reading. (This is rotated so all get to choose as they are hotly contested otherwise.) It’s also made them learn how to look after books, especially ones of such quality.”
What are the favourite books/parts of the Box for your pupils?
“All of them and everything! We did have a vote however, and they said it was hard to choose one, but What on Earth was a very slim winner!”
How has the Resource Box helped you as a teacher? What has been most useful?
“The books have been uplifting for the students. Students seem to have a natural love for animals and interesting places, so to further inspire them with such gorgeous books only encourages and makes them more eager to learn more. As a teacher, they have been excellent for general knowledge and generating discussion to inspire students to care for the environment and its creatures.
“Glow Worms were the subject of a paragraph in a reading kit we are required to use for reading assessment. The entire class had never seen glow worms, most had no idea what they were, and thus had very limited prior knowledge. However, when the books arrived the students excitedly pointed them out!
“The comprehension and understanding of their reading that followed after seeing photographs, reading about them and discussing them in such appealing Roots & Shoots books, would most certainly have helped them answer the questions required (the books arrived post the reading level test). Next year we’ll have them first! It was so rewarding for them, and joyous as a teacher to watch them become so engaged after seeing the beautiful pictures.”
What would you say to teachers thinking of signing up for 2021?
From what you know of the 2021 books (see here what excites you the most?
“Living Landscapes will be great a learning tool, as will Wonder of the Universe. They both have so many pictures students would not normally get to see. I’m really looking forward to working with them all. The Roots & Shoots Resource Box for Schools program is such a treat, that every primary school teacher should join.”