We are into our 6th month of school and many signs of change and growth have taken hold. There are a few things that have really raised the flag for me. One of them is our participation in the KidsAreHeroes.com website opportunities. I cannot impress upon you enough just how tremendous an impact this site and it’s work has had on each and every child in the room.
Each morning as a part of our class meeting, we read about a hero from the Meet the Heroes pages. We talk a bit about the efforts and the success that the heroes have experienced. Next we create a Shoutout to our hero of the day. This is a bit of an email type message that shows we understand what they have done, asks questions to make more meaning of the work, and praises the kids for being heroes in our world.
It would be one thing to simply chalk this up to a bit of literacy and social studies work but the reality is much more than that. The gleam in their eyes shows me they too want to be heroes. They are seeing the possibility of accomplishing great things.
It was the students who said, “We should collect socks like Hannah.” So with a bit of guidance from me, we made it happen and we integrated the project into other areas of the curriculum. We created posters. We counted socks. We discussed where we could send our socks. It was not the work of a single hero but the efforts of all of us – the children, the teachers, the other students in the school who contributed 124 pairs of new warm socks.
We would have been satisfied with simply knowing we did a good job but we also heard from Gabe, Hannah’s Socks, and the shelters who received our donations. The children listened quietly as I read the feedback to them and they smiled.
So as we continue to visit and interact with KidsAreHeroes, we are finding more and more to say and we appreciate the replies we get. (Thanks, Gabe!) Our literacy work is growing with greater comprehension in our read aloud of messages and in our writing of Shoutouts and replies.
If you would like to find an easy entry into solving the problems of the world, I encourage you to visit KidsAreHeroes.com “and a little child shall lead them.”
Just this week we learned about Ryan’s Well Foundation.
“Ryan’s first well was built in 1999 at a school in a Ugandan village when Ryan was 7 years-old. The well continues to serve thousands of people. Ryan’s determination grew from the $70 collected by doing simple household chores to a Foundation that today has contributed a total of 461 wells in 16 countries bringing clean water and sanitation services to over 599,081 people. The Foundation has raised millions of dollars.”
Last week we first learned about Dylan Mahalingam, “the founder and CEO of Lil’ MDGs, a unique international development and youth empowerment organization. Dylan is 14 years old and resides in Derry, New Hampshire. Dylan founded Lil’ MDGs, a non-profit based in New Hampshire, when he was 9 years old; Lil’ MDGs mission is to leverage the power of the Internet to educate, engage, empower, and inspire children in all corners of the world to help meet the United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).”
Dylan sent back a reply and in it he emphasized the fact that he doesn’t work alone but has the support of many others. “I have to tell you all that I did not do any of this alone. I had over 20,000 children from almost 40 countries who helped with all of it!”
It is heroes such as these who set a great example of the best we can be. The fact that these role models are children brings our own goal setting closer to a reality.
Watch for an upcoming post on a visit to our school by Daniel Dietz, another hero who has interacted with us by replies at the KidsAreHeroes site. We look forward to seeing Daniel show us his yo-yo skill. He will also share some information on SmileTrain, the charity he supports with his presentations.