Teaching Sustainable Development Goals in Collaboration with Expert Changemaker Robert Thornton

In BGL’s 7th grade classes at Tsai Hsing School, we have been studying what it means to be a changemaker. One of the themes is that, to be a changemaker, you don’t have to be famous or do something that changes the entire world, but that the small acts you do can deeply affect a small group of people and/or make a positive impact on the earth. 

As a part of this unit of study, our students have explored the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.  After learning more about these goals, our students made inspiring films about how to be a changemaker. Check out one of our students’ films here:

Further bringing this change maker concept to life, recently we had a Field Trip Live with Robert Thornton. Robert, originally from Chico, California, now lives in Phoenix, Arizona. Teacher Courtney coordinated and facilitated this field trip.

In 2010,  Robert founded Paper Clouds Apparel. His mission is to showcase the creative talents of individuals with special needs to raise funds for special needs organizations. Robert was even featured on the NBC Today Show for his work with Paper Clouds Apparel. 

When asked what inspired him to create Paper Clouds Apparel, Robert explained that his mom, who was a bus driver for students with special needs, had a picture from one of her students that rode her bus. Every day on the bus, this girl would draw to and from school and would give the drawings to his mom. He was mesmerized by that drawing and that was the source of inspiration for founding Paper Clouds Apparel. 

Featured here is one of the artists from Paper Clouds Apparel. 

During a pre lesson, our students in 701 & 702 prepared thoughtful and questions when learning about Robert Thornton.

In response to Brian’s question about his favorite shirt design, Robert shared with our students his favorite shirt design- he showed us his tattoo of the design! Robert further explained that this design contributed to a campaign that helped a young boy named Nick who was fighting cancer. With the money from this shirt campaign from Robert’s company Paper Clouds, Nick was able to go surfing one last time before he passed away to cancer. 

Robert Thornton also founded Cloud Covered Streets in 2016. Students were fascinated to learn more about his mobile unit. Cloud Covered Streets was even featured in the local news in Phoenix, Arizona, here. Cloud Covered Streets’ mobile unit provides free showers, laundry services, haircuts, new clothing, and supplies to those dealing with homelessness or instability.

Cloud Covered Streets also employs those experiencing homelessness to help run the trailer. They are hired for a two month period and during that time, Cloud Covered Streets team works hard to help find them a full-time job and housing. They are also given supplies, such as shirts, hygiene bags, new socks, and underwear.

It touches your heart to see how Robert Thornton is helping so many people. Our students were grateful for such an engaging and informative Field Trip Live. What a great way to see how anyone can make a difference! As Gandhi said, “be the change you wish to see in the world.” Robert Thornton provides a great example of how to make positive change in the world. He shows up with perseverance, compassion, empathy, and has a huge heart. Thank you for inspiring us all!  

Surviving Halloween in Quarantine: BGL’s Variety Show & Zoom Party!

As Halloween kicks off the holiday season, we’re reminded of the love and support of our families, friends and communities. In times of new holiday traditions, BGL is happy to host our first ever Halloween Zoom Party!

Friday, October 30
12pm PT / 3pm ET
3pm PT / 6pm ET

This family-friendly event will include DIY Halloween activities for parents scratching their noggins about how we’re going to actually pull this whole thing off this year.

At the end of the show, kids will have the opportunity to socialize with friends and maybe even make some new ones!

Portland Radio Station KBOO Interviews BGL Founder

On 10/20/20, BGL’s founder and president – Seth Fleischauer – was interviewed on KBOO’s popular Melting Pot program.

Seth discussed the evolution of distance learning within the U.S. educational system since March and the ways in which BGL is helping students retain love of learning in the face of social isolation and screen fatigue.

Check it out! Seth’s interview starts about 20 minutes into the recording.


Expression Through Puppetry & Dance: Online Learning Club Starts 9/16

BGL partners with Pacific Puppetry and Ariel Rivka Dance to put on a unique online learning club starting Wednesday 9/16. From 3 to 5pm Pacific for 10 weeks, club members will build on the principles of social and emotional learning and use puppets and movements to help process this crazy time.

Back in March when the pandemic hit put on Shelter-in-Place Superheroes by partnering with some amazing people and organizations including Kris Woolen of Pacific Puppetry and the talent team at ARD. Building on that success, we’re very excited to offer this after-school club that creates a safe space for personal expression.

The 10-week program will follow this sequence:

  1. 9/16 Anything Can Be a Puppet
  2. 9/23 Breath
  3. 9/30 Focus 
  4. 10/7 Brain 
  5. 10/14 Muscle 
  6. 10/21 Movement 
  7. 10/28 Honoring the Land & Ancestors
  8. 11/4 Archetypal Language of Puppets: Voicing Puppets
  9. 11/11 Storytime with Puppets
  10.  11/18 Puppet Performance

Scholarships are available for students that qualify for free lunch. Otherwise, book a day pass to try it or subscribe to all 10 weeks and get mailed an at-home puppetry starter kit.

BGL Receives Pinnacle Award for Outstanding Programs

BGL is humbled to receive the Pinnacle Award for Outstanding Programs in our first year with CILC. We received the award when our Field Trips Live received 100% positive reviews for the entire year.

Glenn Morris, CILC Executive Director, lauds the coveted Pinnacle Award as “representing a consistent recognition by the CILC community for engaging learners across the globe. An honorable feat, the program evaluations by teachers for teachers helps to build a culture of collaboration and criticism, empowering teachers and inspiring learning.”

Field Trips Live challenge students to think critically while creating authentic connections with unique people and places. Outstanding educators – including Jacquelin Fink, Courtney Dayhuff, Travis Moyer, Patricia Reiter, Fifi Huang and Lauren Estella – curate content that is so captivating it’s easy to forget we’re learning remotely. Especially rewarding this year were our programs on anti-racism and social and emotional learning which directly address the challenges of our time. We are so very proud of the work we’ve done across America and Taiwan and are excited to add new field trips this year to New Zealand and Brazil via our online learning clubs!