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If you ever wondered if a child at the age of 8 could create change in the world your answer is in this story.
Pauline Johnson School in West Vancouver was the first to join the 365give Challenge as a pilot program. Their 10 weeks of giving is now complete and the results have been remarkable. You will read in this guest post by Lindsay Storry, grade 2 teacher, how one class can create social good in just 5 days.
“Part of what I have enjoyed most about being a part of this great project has been the enthusiasm of the students as they work so well together to accomplish our class goals. Although our Gives have always aimed to benefit other people, animals, or the environment, the benefits that we have gained in return are, in my opinion, immeasurable! Hopefully these experiences will translate into lifelong giving, in some capacity or another, for the students. In the meantime the students are keen to do more and were quick to point out that we still have another 3 months left in Grade 2 that could be put to good use as far as giving. So while the 365Give Challenge has officially come to a close, it sounds like the students are keen to keep going. And having witnessed all of their passion, enthusiasm, excitement, and teamwork, I won’t be the one to stand in their way of changing the world, one give at a time!”
Day 1 – Animal Awareness Video
We had some great discussions around endangered animals and the fair and equitable treatment of animals which acted as a spring board for our first Give. The students had wanted to build animal awareness in the school community and beyond by creating a video. I have given the students creative license to make this video as they see fit, with only a few guidelines: the students will work cooperatively in a group of their choosing, and they must create a video that has an educational message. However they choose to go about relaying their message is up to them! Today we spent time planning things out in our groups, as well as working on the computers to create some props. We have some groups who will be acting out their message, and others who will take a journalist approach, but all the students have been highly engaged and working well together.
Day 2 – Clean up at Dundarave
On this gorgeous sunny day, we set out on a lovely walk through the community on our way down to Dundarave Beach to do our clean-up. Mr. Hugh Hamilton, an experienced and knowledgeable volunteer with the local Stream Keepers organization, met us there and taught us all so much about how valuable and important this work is to the local environment. We learned that the beach must be clean in order for the smelt to lay their eggs, and the ocean must be clean so that the fry have a comfortable environment to hide in while they prepare to swim out to sea. The students had a fabulous time exploring along the sea shore and discovering as many interesting creatures as they did garbage! The students were highly engaged and had so much fun – it was tough to tear them away at the end of the day! It is clear that on a day like this, there is no better classroom than the great outdoors!
Day 3 – Low-Impact Day
The students decided that they wanted to do another give for the environment, but this time they chose a different format. The students chose a low-impact day at school whereby we do our best not to use any electricity, which includes all electronic devices. With the sun shining, the classroom was still well lit, and the students barely noticed that the lights were not on. However, we quickly discovered that our regular classroom routine was slightly interrupted with a lack of electricity, and thus no internet connection. When doing the calendar routine in the morning, we had to go outside to check a thermometer in order to know the temperature. When students asked me the translation of a particular word in French, we had to use a dictionary to do our search, rather than an iPad. And some of our favourite activities like dance breaks weren’t possible at all!
At the end of the day we discussed how the students felt about being “unplugged”. Most found it quite easy with very little adjustment, while others lamented the fact that there was no music or use of technology. Truthfully, I think that I was the one who had the hardest time being un-plugged all day! It was a good lesson for us all!
Day 4 – Saying “Thanks” to the firefighters
As soon as the bell rang we headed off on a walk to our local West Vancouver fire hall. We met Firefighter Dan who greeted us and invited us in. He introduced us to Firefighter Jeff who was busy sweeping and explained that each day they have various chores to do in order to keep the hall in tip top shape, just like the firefighters. And then all of the sudden the alarm went and he jumped into action, putting his gear on, and running out to the fire truck – they were off to an emergency! Luckily, Marcia, was available to chat with us about fire safety…all in French! When it was time to leave we presented the Chief with our three bags of freshly baked cookies and thanked him for the service of his fire department. He promised to relay our message to the firemen who had been called out on an emergency, and to share the cookies too! Just as we were saying our goodbyes, Firefighter Dan came back in time for us to present him with the cookies! He seemed quite pleased, and the kids were excited too as they walked away with tattoos and key chains.
Day 5 – Sale: Popcorn and school supplies
The students have been gearing up all week for this sale and many had been predicting that this would be their favourite Give of all! We already had a bag full of school supplies to put out, and a couple bags of popcorn. The morning was spent in groups preparing for the sale as we needed to decide on prices and mark each item accordingly. We needed to make signs that advertise the items for sale, as well as where to line up to make your purchases. The morning flew by and the students were a flurry of cooperative activity – it was truly great to see! The students quickly learned that there’s a lot of math that goes into running a store. Albeit short, the small recess was our most successful as we raised $152 in 15 minutes! We raised another $30 at lunch (there really wasn’t much left to sell!). One of the students in the class also donated his birthday money to the cause, so we managed to raise a grand total of $252 for Change Heroes!!!
It just goes to show that an enthusiastic bunch of Grade 2 students can make anything happen!
A very special thank you to Lindsay Storry and her class for making such a positive impact on the world. Your week of giving was truly inspiring.
change the world one day at a time.
Do we really need to educate our children on how to do social good?
Isn’t it more important they learn the basics like reading, math and science?
The research has been clear. Teaching your children to give will have lasting benefits including:
- Improved health
- Reduced stress
- Depression is reduce
- Increase in social well-being
- Increase in grade point averages
- Reduces Bullying
What if altruism could in fact be woven into the fabric of a students education without sacrificing other subjects that are vitally important? What if giving could be part of a teachers regular daily lesson plan?
Lindsay Story, teacher of a grade 2 class at Pauline Johnson School did just that by incorporating The 365give Challenge into her class this past week. Pauline Johnson has embrace the 365give Challenge over the past 5 weeks creating an environment of kindness and altruism at the school. Lindsay’s weekly journal of her classes daily giving will answer the question “How Do You Educate Students to Do Social Good?”
Our chance to participate in our first week of giving as part of the 365Give Challenge was fast approaching. We had been waiting in anticipation and cheering on other classes as they got the project up and running. The week of February 10th -14th was designated as our first week of giving. The students have been submitting ideas to the “Giving Jar” we created for weeks and we started to discuss which ideas might be the most feasible. Today we voted as a class to decide which “Gives” we’re going to do for our first of 2 weeks of giving. We tried to choose “Gives” that will benefit people, animals, and the environment, or a combination of all three!
Day 1: Personal Give
Monday was our Family Day holiday, the students were responsible for choosing a“Give” on their own, or with their family, to fulfil on that day. Some of the ideas students came up with were:
- walking a neighbour’s dog, or going to the SPCA to see if they could volunteer to walk one of the dogs.
- helping with household chores, cooking, grocery shopping, etc…without being asked!
- helping an elderly person in the family, or on the street, carry grocery bags or assist walking across the street etc.
The students were responsible for recording this “Give” with a photo to be sent in for The 365give Challenge book.
Day 2: Hay Park Clean-Up
The students were keen to pick up garbage in the school playground. Since the school playground has been cleaned up in previous 365give Challenge weeks, we thought we would try somewhere different. We walked from the school to Hay Park to pick up any garbage in our 2nd “Give” of the week. We chose this “Give” in order to benefit the local environment, animals, and community. We were pleased to find very little garbage in the park, but we had to stop quite a bit en route to and from the school in order to clean up the side walks and the streets.
World Cancer Day was on February 4th, and we have been touched by cancer in our class, so the students wanted to do something to help those fighting cancer. Kids with cancer spend a considerable amount of time in pajamas while undergoing treatment. PJs with a Purpose is a fun and educational event that allows students to help those kids. Today was another big success as we arrived at school wearing our pajamas for our 3rd “Give” of the week. The students did a great job of explaining to others in the hallways and on the playground why we were all dressed in our pajamas that day. We even had students make an announcement to the whole school over the PA system so the word spread quickly! PJs with a Purpose aims to build awareness around paediatric cancer, as well as funds and we did exactly that! At the end of the day we counted together all the money we raised and the students were pleased that we raised $112.50 for Team Finn. Our goal was to make it over $100 and we accomplished our goal!
Day 4: Healthy Biscuits for Animals in Need
Today was the 100th Day at school. We wanted to plan a “Give” that would incorporate our theme of 100! The students decided that together we could make 100 dog biscuits to be donated to a rescue centre in North Vancouver. It was the highlight of the day making our dog treats for the “Cross Our Paws Rescue Centre”. Once the kids started, they couldn’t stop, and in the end we counted 200 treats in all! We have made a few different flavours that we hope the dogs will enjoy – Terrific Turkey Stew, Scrumptious Sweet Potato, and Peanut Butter Pumpkin! We used our math skills as we measured the ingredients, and we were all involved in stirring and making the dough. Once the dough was ready, each student received a ball of dough to work with and the task of creating 5 biscuits. The students were very excited and they each made as many treats as possible. We have some hearts, stars, dog bones and some special surprises too. We’re pretty sure the rescued dogs will appreciate our hard work, but I think the students will also remember how much fun we had!
Day 5: Valentine’s Cards for Seniors
We all know that Friday February 14th is Valentine’s Day so it only makes sense that we plan our “Give” around this special day. I got the sense that the students were most thrilled about our trip to the West Vancouver Senior Centre to hand out our handmade Valentine’s Day cards and some chocolates as our final “Give” for this first week of The 365Give Challenge. The kids sang on the way down to the centre and I could tell that we were all full of happiness as we embarked upon our last “Give” of the week. The students entered the centre respectfully and walked around looking for a senior to present a card or chocolate to. I have never seen a group of people so thrilled to receive us, their faces lit up with big smiles, and many wanted to pass on a hug in return. The students had expressed a strong desire to do something that would benefit the seniors in our community, and I have no doubt that we hit the jackpot! We met friends who were playing card games, and others who were watching the Olympics. We met a group of men who were playing pool, and a group of women who were creating beautiful quilts. The students passed out their cards and their chocolates to different strangers and wished them a “Joyeux Saint Valentin” and a “Happy Valentine’s Day”. Many students were keen to continue introducing themselves even after their cards and chocolates were given away, and some asked to have their picture taken. The whole experience truly warmed my heart and many of the students expressed that this was their favourite “Give” of the week. One little one expressed that we had saved the best for last, and I can’t help but agree!
I hope that you all have enjoyed hearing about our 365give journey as much as we have enjoyed planning, preparing, and carrying out our “Gives”. I have felt a tremendous sense of community in the class as we have all worked together to accomplish our goals. It has also been a pleasure to witness students thinking about people, animals, and the environment, with more compassion and empathy. I hope that you have also seen this in your child at home! I think it’s safe to say that we’re all looking forward to our next special week of giving with The 365Give Challenge!
A very special thank you to Lindsey and her class for making such a
positive impact on the world. You week of giving was truly inspiring.
It’s week two of The 365give Challenge. Once again the students participating in the pilot amazed everyone with their unique and creative ways to give every day. Bethany Lam Buckle is the teacher of the grade 5 class at Ecole Pauline Johnson that inspired her students to give this week. She came up with create ways to integrate the daily giving into her lesson plans. Class ingratiation included physical education, reading and presentation skills that brought everyone to tears of joy after 5 days of giving. Bethany shares her classes story of how they completed and fully embraced The 365give Challenge.
Monday: We had our regular gym period at the end of the day and our class decided to continue with our planned “Capture the Flag” game… but with an environmental twist. Students were to pick up a piece of garbage from the playground every time they were caught, and they even made up a rule that you couldn’t just stay on your own side and not take a risk to avoid picking up garbage – you had to attempt for the flag at least once each minute. By the end of our game, the playground was spotless.
Tuesday: The students decided they wanted to read to the kindergarten classes. Each student was paired up with 2 or 3 kindergarten students and were able to read 4 or 5 books in English and in French. They were very happy to have us in their class and the two kindergarten teachers were very thankful! Many of our students commented after the reading session that they felt happy, good, and generous. They even said that the “kindies” showed their appreciation by giving them hugs and high fives!
Wednesday: The students brought in donations of money and pet food to donate to the BC-SPCA. We also announced that anyone else in the school wanting to contribute to our “give” would be appreciated as well. All of the donations totalled 116$! We thought that was pretty impressive since we only campaigned for one day!
Thursday: Our class walked over to Hollyburn House Senior’s Centre. Every Thursday, there is a gentleman who leads a “Laughter Group”. He was sick this week, so we subbed in for him, bringing our jokes, songs, costumes, funny faces, and funny stories. We started off with a few jokes and riddles, followed by songs and tongue twisters. The seniors were very appreciative of our visit and our efforts to make them laugh. One lady in particular thought that the purpose of our visit was to come and ask her questions about HER, when she soon realized that all of the “questions” being asked were silly ones! So we made sure we had a few minutes at the end of the session for a little greet and chat. The students had lots of fun and were talking about the “Laughter Group” the whole time we walked back to the school!
Friday: Our last day was kind of sad because the students didn’t want to stop. However, they had saved a good one for last! They brought in books from home that they no longer read to donate to a Vancouver school in need. They had chosen this “give” because they really wanted to help others who were less fortunate than themselves for one of their gives. We’ve had many discussions this year already about how fortunate we are to live where we do, to have what we have. Not everyone is as fortunate. They were very proud of their act of giving, especially because it would benefit children of the same age. Again, we invited the rest of the school to donate books as well. With our class, other donations, and even a donation from Mme Boulet’s library, we collected 2 big boxes full of books!
Thanks 365give for giving us this opportunity,
we are VERY excited about our second week!
A very special thank you to Bethany and her class for making
such a positive impact on the world.