Greening the L2 Classroom is a great article in the July 2012 edition of TESOL Connections by Wendy Coyle and Amy Delis. I met Wendy and Amy at TESOL 2012 when I attended their presentation on having students create environmental PSAs. This article describes much of the process they used in structuring this activity, and also gives some of their rationale for using the environment as a source of meaningful, content-based activities.
They begin by giving students an overview of the environment, and then offer some ideas for getting students more deeply engaged. One approach that I really like is having students conduct research on how green their school building is. This type of activity provides lots of opportunities for language learning, in addition to fostering true critical thinking. And I’m definitely a fan of teaching global and environmental issues with a very local focus because I think it helps keep them relevant.
For a culminating project, Wendy and Amy had students create environmental infomercials. They begin by reviewing samples on Youtube, then they have a couple of lessons on persuasive techniques. Students then make their own videos in groups and show them at the end of the semester. Sample videos are provided. I love this approach, and I think students would really enjoy it, too.