Monday, December 2, 2013

Day 1 - Giving

Day 1 - Giving

I come from a school full of amazingly generous children and adults!  The photo above shows just four giving programs currently going on in my school.

The bags full of groceries are some of the Thanksgiving dinner donations brought in by the children and staff.  It's part of the Pick A Feather program run by out PTO.  In our office is a big construction paper turkey with lots and lots of construction paper feathers.  With parent permission, students go down to the office and pick a feather off the turkey.  On the back of each feather is a food item which the students then bring back to school.  Our PTO organizes the food into GIANT care packages that are donated to local families.  It's a great program that really helps out many families, and the kids love going down to pick a feather.  This program coordinates with a meat drive done by our Student Council.  Parents are given a window of time during the school day in which they can drop off donations of turkeys, hams, etc.  It's run like a little drive through in the school parking lot. Parents don't even have to get out of the car!  These are also donated to the families in conjunction with the groceries.

Some classes recently got together to run a charity event for Alex's Lemonade Stand, an amazing charity that fights childhood cancers.  The classes ran a lemonade stand during our lunch periods for two days and collected over $600!  Parents volunteered to come in and help, but the kids were front and center.  It was a huge success!

Pop Tabs!  Our school is one of many that collects pop tabs for the Ronald McDonald Houses. The tabs are recycled and the money is given to Ronald McDonald House Charities which distributes the funds to a local Ronald McDonald House.  In addition to helping others, our kids are practicing recycling.

Every holiday season, our school does a toy drive for a local charity.  The kids enjoy seeing the toys pile up in the front lobby the weeks before the holidays.

Those are just a few of the school wide giving programs that happen in my school.  I've always felt it is important for students to learn the importance of helping others.  When I was a homeroom teacher, I actually did a few things with my class to try and instill this idea.

One thing my kids always did that didn't cost a penny is Free Rice. This is a great site for kids in upper elementary through high school.  Free Rice is a web site that quizzes children on the subject you select; English vocabulary, geography, multiplication practice, grammar, and more.  The topics even include an SAT prep question category.  For every question a student answers correctly, ten grains of rice are donated through the World Food Programme to help end world hunger. When you sign up, you can actually track how much rice you have earned but you can also play without signing up.   If you think ten grains of rice isn't a lot, think again!  In fact, this is a great site to use in conjunction with the book One Grain of Rice: A Mathematical Folktale by Demi.  This is an awesome book!

Set in India, it tells the tale of a raja that hoards all the rice harvested in his village. Not a problem until one day there is a shortage and the villagers are hungry.  He is reluctant to give the rice to the people, but a young village girl tricks him into giving away a billion grains of rice by simply asking for one grain of rice, then for thirty days the raja agrees to double the amount each day.  Thinking doubling the amount each day will come to nothing, he agrees.  The raja is, as your students will be, astounded to see how quickly doubling adds up!  In the back of the book there is a great chart that shows just how the concept works.  If you would like to preview it, below is a reading of the book. Not the most exciting of readings, but it will let you experience the book.

And, in the spirit of Day 1 Giving, in the end (Spoiler Alert!) the young girl ends up with all of the raja's rice.  When he asks her what she will do with it, she replies that she will share it with all the hungry people.  She also leaves a basket of rice for the raja.  This is a great book for any teacher's bookshelf.

What giving things are your school or classes doing?

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