For Starters

This topic contains 33 replies, has 21 voices, and was last updated by  jerrenp 1 month, 2 weeks ago.

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  • #2149

    ann
    Keymaster

    I want to start this section off with some suggestions from Kristy, a reader on Instagram (@krittyreads).

    She suggests:
    1) “Find out if your school district has or can set up a “Princiapal’s Pantry at any of the schools. A Principal’s Pantry provides food for kids that would not have food over the weekend or school holidays.”
    2) “Call your local food bank and see if they do a weekend backpack program for kids. Similar to the Principal’s Pantry but on a larger scale.”
    3) “Google ‘crisis nursery’ in your area. A crisis nursery provides emergency childcare for any situation. They always need donations of food, cleaning supplies, diapers, etc. They also have opportunities to come and play with the children (after a background check, etc.)”
    4) “Organize or participate in a school supply drive.” [Note from Ann: or change educational plans so that all school supplies are provided by the school.]
    5) Find out if your local food pantry collect non-food items like laundry detergent, diapers, etc. Some do, and some don’t.”

    A few of my own thoughts… these are important bandaid measures. They are needed, and we find our way forward one step at a time. We also must be careful around the concept of “charity” to ensure we are not doing it to make ourselves feel better and someone else feel worse. What we ultimately need is system change, where for example people get paid a living wage for work, but that takes time. So we must each find out own way forward, and as long as it is always coming from a place of respect for those whose needs are not being meet, we will be making progress.

  • #2158

    CarolAnn
    Participant

    Last year with the help of the other fourth grade teachers in my building, we began a Fourth Grade Leadership Group. We did a service project to benefit our community. Some things we did we Hawkeye Harvest Food Bank, Humane Society, Birthday Bags for Crisis Intervention, & The Cheer Fund. The Fourth Grade Leaders facilitated by me each month made posters, created parent notes, spoke to each class about the month long project, did updates on morning announcements, and organized the donations at the end of the month. We can not wait to get started when the students return in August. I should also mention that we are a Title 1 School who has 72% free and reduced lunch.

    • #2161

      AlyssaMoore
      Participant

      Carol Ann – I love how student centered this sounds! Having students create parent notes and speak to other classes gives them so much power! It’s amazing what students can do when we give them the tools and BELIEVE in them!

      • #2171

        ann
        Keymaster

        I agree! I love how student-centered this is! And I love that you included that your school has a such a high percentage of free/reduced lunch. It can be so empowering for students who have been on the receiving end of help to get to be the ones helping ones. Relationships should always be a two-way street, and you’re giving them the opportunity to feel the power of that!

    • #2193

      teacherfig
      Participant

      Carol Ann – Thanks for saying this! Like others have said, I also teach at a Title I school and I love the idea that that doesn’t stop our kids from being the helpers and community changers, too!

  • #2166

    mcastner
    Participant

    Along these lines, I would like to stock a feminine hygiene basket in each of the girls restrooms. This could be good for everyone, as sometimes it is embarrassing when you get caught unprepared. Especially in MS. I’m thinking that having some deodorant and face wipes would be nice as well. I also discussed having some of these items in the library as well. One of the things that struck me about Zoey was the way that she had to help her mom pick and choose what gets washed. She selflessly picked items for her siblings neglecting herself. This needs to change.

    • #2169

      ann
      Keymaster

      I love the idea of having a basket of feminine products, deodorant and face wipes! Such a simple thing, but it can change someone’s day.

    • #2410

      wquillen
      Participant

      This is a great idea! Our nurse already does something like this. But I wonder if it wouldn’t be possible to expand it to some of our other female staff, in case the nurse is ever not on campus.

    • #2419

      jerrenp
      Participant

      I really like the idea of having a place for feminine hygiene products. I know girls can see our nurse to get things now, but sometimes it’s inconvenient or she may be out of the building. I don’t know that keeping them in a middle school bathroom is the best idea though. I could see some girls taking everything; however, I think it would be a GREAT idea to have some female teachers be contact points for supplies if needed.

  • #2175

    kimikopettis
    Participant

    My students partner with The Night Ministry to feed 150 homeless people in Chicago near the school (South Shore area). This is an annual service learning opportunity they participate in to give back to their community. This year I am going to include giving toys to children in local hospitals, I know this will bring them joy and hopefully boosts their spirits during the holiday season.

    Kimiko Pettis
    @kcpteachertips
    ELA 6th-8th grade
    Chicago, IL

    • #2199

      ann
      Keymaster

      That’s great, Kimiko!

  • #2190

    ashley.grimes
    Participant

    I can’t wait for my group’s first Project LIT meeting because I want to bring all these ideas to the students and community members. I am hoping we can start an action plan this year at school that is student-led, teacher facilitated, and includes our community members. CarolAnn – thank you for sharing you are a Title I school. This gives me hope since we are also a Title I school with 70% + free/reduced lunch.

    • #2200

      ann
      Keymaster

      Awesome! Keep us posted on how it goes, Ashley!

    • #2369

      lnrussell
      Participant

      Our Project LIT scholars got a micro grant that they used to create a little free library for our K-12 campus.

  • #2192

    teacherfig
    Participant

    The first thing I think of is “What do my kids see a need for in our school already?” And I know that something that they see a need for is good recycling. My sister actually implemented change on her college campus related to recycling… Thinking aloud here, but I wonder if I could use her as a “special guest,” haha!

    • #2201

      ann
      Keymaster

      –> ““What do my kids see a need for in our school already?”

      I love this question! And yay for thinking outloud!

      • #2333

        ageis
        Participant

        I also like having the kids question and look for a need in their community. Their ideas can spur a community service project.

  • #2202

    willoughby
    Participant

    I would like to have my students do more. We already collect for families in need and the animal shelter. I want to find ways that they can do more for our community. I think this book would
    Lead to this discussion and them being inspired.

  • #2320

    tbreeden
    Participant

    Our area has a “secret boutique” where students are invited to “shop” for new or gently used, in style clothing. This is all run by volunteers and donations. It is an amazing organization!

    • #2400

      swilcox
      Participant

      This is something I have wanted to get started for a while with my school and winter gear. Kids usually outgrow boots and snow pants each year. We go out for recess almost all winter days. I would like to have a place where families can donate old snow gear or create a snow gear swap. Something to plan for the future perhaps with the PTO.

  • #2325

    jessicatiara
    Participant

    We are going to work with our district and local churches to help out homeless families in our district. We will host drives to get necessities and will help clean the places we have for these families to stay while they get back on their feet.

    • #2332

      ageis
      Participant

      Your idea is great! Working with local churches is what I want to do as well. I know my area has a “neighbor to neighbor” store, and also another church has a food panty with a “free store”.

  • #2334

    ageis
    Participant

    I am hoping that Zoey’s story inspires my students to want to help others through social action as well as empathy to those that they come in contact with each and every day.

  • #2358

    Shelly
    Participant

    The county I teach in has Community in Service positions. These people get businesses to provide food and other items for students’ and their families. Also, there are churches who donate backpacks and food to students and their families so they will have food over the weekend. Last year when I read The Benefits of Being an Octopus, we discussed how there are families in our county who are in need.

  • #2362

    jenniferow16
    Participant

    I teach at a title 1 school in rural Georgia. All of our students receive free lunch and breakfast, but we do not have a principals pantry in place. I have always had a drawer in my classroom with items such as Easy Mac and granola bars, but you have inspired me to contact our local food bank to see if we can get a back pack program in place.

  • #2382

    lfeinstein
    Participant

    I am so inspired by all of the ideas presented here. As a Literacy coach, my passion is to get books into the homes of the students and we have begun to go to the apartments and housing developments where many of our students live. I am realizing that homes without books are often those with difficulties providing meals and clothing, so as we take our next step to do literqcy workshops in the community, I’d like to pair with community partners to address the other, more life-sustaining needs of our students and their families.

    • #2391

      ann
      Keymaster

      I love the idea of partnering with community programs! That could be so powerful!

  • #2389

    ktlewis14
    Participant

    I would love to work with our food services to help students who need a meal after school hours. I have seen some posts on Facebook of school cafeterias packaging leftover lunches for students to take home. I know many students don’t eat until they come back for breakfast. It would utilize what the school would normally throw away as waste to benefit our students.

  • #2392

    ann
    Keymaster

    That is such a great idea! Keep us posted if you’re able to work something out. I bet that once schools see another school modeling how to do this, others would be excited to do it, too — and what a difference it would make for kids if they could always have food to rely on after school, as well.

  • #2395

    jdepler2
    Participant

    Our district has a big push this year for more civics instruction, so I was hoping to get my class more involved in our community. There are a lot of farms in our town, but many students don’t understand how the agricultural industry impacts our community. I’m currently working on speaking with two farms and a restaurant (which provides farm to table food) to see if my students can visit and learn about how these industries fuel our local economy. Then, during Social Studies, when we discuss the economy, we can brainstorm ways in which we can help foster awareness about our town’s local economy.

  • #2399

    swilcox
    Participant

    We started a weekend food program in connection with our local food pantry last year. My school also started to supply all students with back to school supplies. There is now no school supply list for parents to purchase. It creates equity and takes a huge burden off of families.

  • #2406

    Aakerr
    Participant

    I would love to get a washer/dryer at our school so students who can’t get their clothes washed could have access and control. This is a big issue at my school. I’m just not sure how to implement this….

    • #2420

      jerrenp
      Participant

      Our FACS classroom at my middle school has a washer and dryer. If you have a FACS classroom, maybe check with that teacher. If not, would it be possible to do a Donors Choose project to bring in a washer and dryer?

  • #2409

    wquillen
    Participant

    Last Year we started a Boys Book Club at our school with myself and one of our Math Teachers Sponsoring it. It was a huge success, we read several books about real world situations that some of our kids were going to. We then partnered with our local battered womens shelter, to raise awarness and money for it. While our students were not able to meet any of the women or kids living in the facility for safety reasons they did get to meet with Police Officers and Social Workers who work with the families. This was a great opportunity for our boys who may or may not have father figures in their lives. It showed them the value in respecting women.

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