Islands Society Launches Pacific Islands in the Classroom Program – 3/16/16

The Islands Society is pleased to announce the launch of an innovative program designed to increase student awareness about Pacific Islands while instilling in students a sense of community engagement and public service. Pacific Islands in the Classroom aims to promote knowledge-sharing among K-12 Pacific Island educators regarding the unique history and culture of different Pacific Islands including the pressing issues facing these island communities locally and globally.

Specifically, Pacific Islands in the Classroom intends to develop and distribute high-quality lesson plans that increase awareness about local communities across the Pacific Islands while simultaneously strengthening core competencies in math and reading. To achieve this objective, the program promotes knowledge-sharing among K-12 educators in these local communities through the use of customized social media and social networking technologies.

“Pacific Islanders have a sense of unity due to their shared identity and challenges as islanders,” says Michael Edward Walsh, Founder of the Islands Society. “This program will help Pacific Island educators to learn more about each other’s respective home islands, which will, in turn, serve to strengthen that sense of unity. It will also promote collective knowledge among students about pressing issues faced as a region on topics ranging from climate change to human rights.”

“Given the few natural resources of many small Pacific Islands, our youth is our greatest resource. We hope that in teaching students more about their fellow Pacific Islanders and about global events that impact us, students will come away with not only a greater awareness of local and global issues, but also with a strong sense of public service and advocacy,” explains Charity Porotesano, the program’s managing director. “We are preparing leaders for tomorrow,” she emphasizes.

The program is designed to provide teachers from different Pacific Islands with the opportunity to share ideas and lesson plans and to form a community. “There are very few resources in education, much less in Pacific Islands. The aim of the program is to pool together the different resources and ideas these educators have in order to fill that gap in resources,” adds Porotesano.

Pacific Islands in the Classroom aims to provide a compendium of high-quality lesson plans and resources. Lesson plans created by local teachers are shared with other educators through the Islands Society web site. Pooling these resources allows program participants to exchange ideas, learn from each other and build on their content knowledge.

Lesson plans shared through the web site include a range of topics based on three major themes: Community, Environment and Current Affairs.

Students will learn about culture and history of neighboring Pacific Islands through the Community link. Immediate environmental concerns – such as the effects of climate change and pollution on Pacific Islands – are the subjects within the Environment category. Current affairs lesson plans require discussions and critical thinking about important local, national and global events.

Porotesano continues, “Our goal is to create a community where teachers from different Pacific Islands communicate with each other and curate their wealth of experience, knowledge and ideas into an accessible resource using our lessons plan program, customized social media, and social networking technologies.”

Pacific Islands in the Classroom is designed to inspire and empower K-12 students to become ambassadors, advocates, and change-agents for island communities.

The program will initially seek to work with classrooms in Hawaii, American Samoa and Samoa. As the program expands, it will include Guam, Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, Fiji, Kiribati, Australia, Cook Islands, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru, New Zealand, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Solomons Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu, Vanuatu, New Caledonia, French Polynesia, Tokelau, Wallis and Futuna.

Teachers interested in participating in the program should submit lesson plans to

About the Islands Society

The Islands Society is a “Top-Rated” American 501(c)(3) nonprofit working to respect, inspire, and empower islanders around the world. These projects are currently organized around two main themes: community projects and next generation leaders. The community projects center on ten issue areas, including charity, conservation, democracy, disaster relief, education, equality, health, innovation, security, and sustainability. Meanwhile, the next generation leader projects support artists, athletes, chefs, incubators, musicians, policymakers, storytellers, and technologists. The Islands Society is based on Hilton Head Island, South Carolina.
Pacific Islands in the Classroom:
Image Credit: US Pacific Fleet via Flickr CC

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