Archive for the 'Service learning' Category

Children in Grove, OK help build a well in Rwanda

well in Rwanda

This guest post is by Julie Bloss, principal of Grove Early Childhood Center in Grove, Oklahoma.

Two years ago, the Grove Early Childhood Center in Grove, OK, received a Sharing the Dream grant through NAESP. Part of the grant activities included raising awareness of water conditions in third world countries and conducting a global service learning project. The ECC students collected money and contributed to help build a water well in Rwanda. This link shows pictures of our project.  It is amazing to see the difference that our students’ donations made to the community of Gasuna.

Grove Early Childhood Center’s W.E.L.L. (Water Education for Little Learners) project was funded by a 2011-2012 Sharing the Dream grant.

Read more about the project in the Spring 2012 Sharing the Dream School Newsletter.

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Growing a Community at Harris Elementary

Harris ElementaryWhen teachers at Harris Elementary in Woonsocket, Rhode Island, surveyed students about their knowledge of plants and farming, only three percent said they had ever seen a vegetable garden. Fifth grade teacher Eileen LaRiviere was not surprised. The majority of Harris Elementary students live in the city, with limited access to green space. “They’d seen pictures, but had never seen a working garden in person,” she said.

Harris Elementary is using a Sharing the Dream grant to take students to local farms, and to plant a community garden on school grounds where they can grow and harvest their own fresh produce.

This past fall, children researched the types of vegetables that could be grown in their New England climate and what plants would attract butterflies and ladybugs. They grew seedlings indoors, cleared garden space outside, and planted winter rye, a crop that grows in colder seasons and can be plowed back into the ground in the spring to provide nutrients to the soil.

Students also were exposed to vegetables and herbs used in international cuisines and encouraged to try foods unfamiliar to them. “The kids have cooked soups, stir-fries, and Spanish dishes,” said Esther Zuraw-Burns, a 4th grade teacher.

For the 97 percent of students who have never seen a working garden, a field trip to Pezza Farm, which supplies Harris Elementary’s cafeteria with fresh, organic vegetables, is scheduled for this spring. “Students will understand where their food comes from,” said LaRiviere.

Trips to Roger Williams Park Botanical Center, an herb farm, and an apiary—where beehives are kept—are planned for the coming weeks.

To get parents involved in the garden project, the school is offering families their own small plots to cultivate. The rich diversity of Harris’s students will be reflected in the herbs and vegetables planted this spring for use in favorite cultural dishes.

Plans are also in the works to donate part of the communal harvest to a local food pantry. “The pantry is so excited to get fresh produce. So much of what is donated is processed,” said Zuraw-Burns.

Garden organizers hope that by giving back to the community, children at Harris Elementary—and their families—will become more aware of the needs of others in their neighborhood and around the world.

Gardening/Outdoor Learning Resources:

Worm Ladies

World Crops

National Gardening Association

Agriculture in the Classroom

Pollinator Partnership

Sharing the Dream Schools in the News

Samuel Hoffman/The Journal Gazette, Fort Wayne, Ind.: Navy veterans Ed Schulz, left, and Raymond Moyer look at old photos at Holland Elementary. Area veterans were guests of honor at a school luncheon.

Samuel Hoffman/The Journal Gazette, Fort Wayne, Ind.: Navy veterans Ed Schulz, left, and Raymond Moyer look at old photos at Holland Elementary. Area veterans were guests of honor at a school luncheon.

Veterans share stories at Holland

Sarah Janssen | The Journal Gazette, Fort Wayne, Ind.

About 40 military veterans and some of their family members sat at tables covered in tablecloths and hand-decorated placemats at Holland Elementary while students wandered the room, tending to their guests, offering coffee and drink refills and serving food.

The luncheon Friday was made possible through a $5,000 grant the school received from the National Association of Elementary School Principals and MetLife Foundation. Holland Principal Michael Caywood was among 25 elementary and middle school principals to receive the award.

Caywood said the grant’s goals are to create schools that are more globally oriented and engage students in service-learning projects that provide the opportunity to learn about other countries and cultures. The school plans to use the grant money for other events and projects that also align with the goals.

After the luncheon, veterans took photos, letters and other artifacts around to classrooms to share stories about the places they’ve traveled to and the people they met through their military experiences, Caywood said.

The school has also been in contact with the commanding officer of a military unit stationed in Kuwait. Caywood said the school plans to have students write letters to soldiers and chat with them live through video conferencing.

“It’s just another way of helping our kids learn about the areas where our military is serving,” Caywood said.

The Journal Gazette, Fort Wayne, Ind. Published: January 21, 2013. Used with permission.

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Click here to read more about Holland Elementary’s project, “Caring for Our Soldiers and Veterans at Home and Abroad.”

Global Resources for Schools: The Water Project

The Water Project works with schools and other groups to fund water and sanitation projects in African communities where water is scarce. Schools that want to get involved can learn about the global water crisis–and how students can help–on the organization’s website. The site also features lesson plans on the effects of unsafe water, interactive teaching tools on the water cycle, and other resources.

Grove Early Childhood Center in Grove, OK [a 2011-2012 Sharing the Dream school]  sponsored a well in Kenya as part of their W.E.L.L. (Water Education for Little Learners) project. Read more about the project, and the remarkable true story that inspired it, here.

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Global Resources for Schools is our twice-monthly feature highlighting international focused organizations, educational websites and resources to support educators in their efforts to create globally oriented schools.

Do you have a website, organization, resource or idea to share? Tell us about it in a comment.

Global Resources for Schools: Heifer International

Heifer International‘s mission is to work with communities around the world to end hunger and poverty and care for the Earth.  Its website features free elementary and middle school classroom resources, lesson plans and project ideas like:

  • Farm to Plate, which challenges students to discover the origins of their food and investigate the extensive transportation systems that facilitate food delivery to consumers around the world
  • Read to Feed a service learning program
  • Global Education to Improve Tomorrow (GET IT!), which teaches middle school students about their roles as consumers and the effects their choices have in the global marketplace

The site also includes videos, games, experiments, a resource library and a blog.

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Global Resources for Schools is our twice-monthly feature highlighting international focused organizations, educational websites and resources to support educators in their efforts to create globally oriented schools.

Do you have a website, organization, resource or idea to share? Tell us about it in a comment.


Sharing the Dream

Grants for pre-K-8 school projects that create global classrooms where children—and families—can safely connect, exchange ideas and learn together.

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