Thursday, June 14, 2012

2012: Richmond 4th Graders Engage in Philanthropy Project!

My students and I carried out our annual philanthropy unit, exploring the meaning of helping others and making a positive impact on our world. We carried out the Three Cups Of Tea young readers literature unit, learning about how many people in the world are deprived the right to education. After falling in love with the children of Korphe, Pakistan, as well as hearing my many stories of the street children in Nicaragua, my students were eager to help.

After six weeks, students fulfilled their goal to fill two, large suit cases of donations for the street children I work with in Nicaragua. They brought in Spanish books from home and bought out many dollar stores in order to bring in school supplies for the Yahoskas. This year's class, only 26 students, raised 96 pounds of Spanish children's books and school supplies. As you can see in the first picture, students sorted the donation boxes into categories, helping me to remove all the packaging in order to more efficiently save space in the suit case (being sure to recycle all paper and plastic products). In 2011, I didn't think to have my students engage in this process, and I ended up spending many hours doing it myself. You learn with each year! While they were sorting, many of them said, "Ms. Bishop, this feels so good!" It was motivating to see such young students thinking beyond themselves, giving to those who need help. One of them, who has been saving money for college, spent some of her own money to buy supplies. Her mother was really proud of her decision and contribution, as am I! In order to change the world, we have to change mindsets. There is always a way to help out!

Most importantly, students engaged in the writing process by composing thoughtful pen-pal letters to the Yahoskas. To make a child feel important via a letter can be very powerful. I remember feeling so special getting mail at camp from my mother and family, and I can't imagine what it would feel like to get a letter from a curious pen-pal from another country. Students were instructed to describe their community, family, interests, and school life (along with whatever other details they could write full paragraphs about) in their letters.  Students wrote in their languages of choice, after careful planning. When final drafts were complete, students who didn't know how to write in Spanish were tutored by students who could. Many hours were spent in translation stage, but after much work all the letters were successfully translated into Spanish! Andres, who volunteered for the day, was able to help one of my students learn some Spanish during the translation process (his mother has given consent to display this photo). Six of my previous students, currently on their way to the sixth grade, wrote second letters to their pen-pals from last year.

Richmond students, you are changing the world and helping out those in need! Thank you to parents and community members who helped to make this project a reality!


dperkins said...

I remember when you were just a high school freshman asking if you could take my psychology class, look at you now, I'm so proud of your work!

Sarah Spoonda said...

I love reading about this! They were so proud of the letters and their collections, can't wait to hear how it goes with the delivery! xoxo