So, this year we have ventured into uncharted waters into a fantastic Foundation called ‘Write to Give’. This foundation works with World Teacher Aid to provide fantastic new books for those less fortunate.
Archer’s 3’s have signed up; wrote a few different parts of various stories (helping out when there are holes to be filled) to make sure books are being put together including all sections; beginning with characters and setting, the problem, solution and ending along with an illustration classroom too. A total of five classrooms work together to complete one book.
When I originally read the requirements and what the foundation was trying to do for students in Kenya I was immediately hooked! I strongly recall a cruise my wife and I took to the Caribbean many moons ago, one port we stopped off at was Honduras and we walked into two where a group of kids took us to their school! That was an eye-opener, and humbling experience; something I have not nor ever will forget! Being part of Write to Give allows e to revisit a past experience and touch on and help students / kids such as the ones we met in Honduras.
I actually became a Write to Give Teacher Ambassador; recruiting a team of 4 more educators to create an entire book. I recruited two more educators a couple weeks in to help other teams of five whom required a classroom to be added in; also writing two more sections wih my own class as well.
Looking back to date; it seems like a lot but in reality is really wasn’t! Seeing what Amy and Carey (The Leaders / Founders of this amazing cause) how they took a concept and grew it immensely to something quite remarkable is something incredible to see and most of all be part of this year!
My students have seen the video’s, they have been touched and humbled in the process; reflecting upon their own experience at school and sincerely appreciate what we have! We have had many conversations surrounding others less fortunate and they have become much more aware of the people around them within their own communities and the incredible transformation in personal values / beliefs I have seen within my kids is something amazing to watch and see as well.
Now getting right into the HEART of the experience; the writing of it is where we had some awesome conversations and changes as well.
My students are reluctant writers; so when I seen this pop up I thought this would be a fantastic catcher; motivator for them! So, while writing our section in our teams book (the problem) we analyzed what another classroom provided for us as a basis. Characters and setting was already in place now we focused and dialed in on creating a problem (which until this section was complete my students did not understand nor include within written stories) so the reflection of another classroom; brought my students understanding of ‘the problem’ to light……
Another amazing feat was that before we sent it off; we reviewed our section and also tried to predict what another class writing the solution would write….reflect on this and see IF this IS where we would like OUR story to go….well, this altered things quite a bit; we revisited our section and almost guided the next classroom into what could / should be written. Ready for the amazing part…..what was written was very close to what we predicted….the characters still developed within the book as we predicted and even the ‘solution’ written by the next class lead directly into our ‘hopes’ for the ending of the book as well.
Reflecting is powerful for teachers; but to teach the art of reflection to grade 3 students is something ‘transformative’ as the kids now are eager and requesting writing pieces (we just recently had storytelling speeches which turned out so much stronger and amazing then I thought I would see), seeking times to write on their own creating stories, and also more letters to their Pen Pals in Langton.
Writing which was so so so painful has now become fluent, easy and something not feared! Writing has become a way to share, discuss and analyze things around the kids. Less teacher directed and so much more guided; most of the time I am sitting back listening to peers reflect on their friends writing and walking through the steps we walked through with Write to Give. So, powerful, so remarkable and such a fantastic experience to take your students too!
You ARE helping others in Kenya; you are making a difference in a Third World Country BUT you DO and WILL make so much more even happen within your own room! I hope all who read through this at least consider visiting the Write to Give Website at www.writetogive.com – see what it is about, and consider joining such a power learning experience in more ways then one!!
I WILL definitely be partaking again next years and all the many years ahead during my educational journey with my students, colleagues and friends!! You all should too!!