Saturday, December 20, 2014

Giving to Others {Part 3}

Our biggest project this month was a toy drive for our local shelter.  One of my student's parents suggested this project, and the kids ran with it!

We started off by talking about how some kids don't have a house of their own to live in.  This lead to shocked looks from my kiddos.  I explained that when kids don't have a home of their own, they don't have a lot of the things the kiddos in my class have, including toys.  This really made them want to help.

I e-mailed the teachers in my building asking them to participate in our toy drive.  We were suggesting used toys that students no longer play with.  The teachers who participated allowed my students to come in and talk to their students (about a 2 minute presentation) about what they were doing and why they were doing it.  They would also need to help their students bring their donations to place in the box outside our room.

Their first step was to design a poster for each classroom they were visiting and a flyer for the students in the class they were visiting to take home.  They also had to work together to determine their oral presentation to the other classes.  Each group (6 groups) was able to present twice as our PreK classes are AM & PM.
Designing posters and flyers
Sharing with another class

We collected toys for 2 weeks.  After the 2 week collection, students had to clean the toys (they used baby wipes) and count them.  They would be proud to tell you they used tally marks to count them.  They again worked in their 6 groups to clean and count. We (I) then added all the tally marks to get a grand total.  We collected 238 toys total!

It felt like the North Pole with all my little elves hard at work!
On Wednesday, the director of the shelter came to talk to the kiddos briefly and pick up the toys.  They helped her carry the 8 boxes from our cart to her van.  It was the sweetest thing ever, and I sadly don't have any pictures because I was part of the carrying line.  Our local newspaper covered the story, so we do have the couple photos they published.

I think this was a great experience for my kiddos and one they will remember for quite some time.  It took the focus off of "me" and what I want for Christmas if even for just a moment.  I loved seeing their enthusiasm in talking to other kids about it and the passion they had for making sure everything was just right for the pickup day.  One little boy said he felt sad when the toys were gone because the place in our room where they were looked empty.  I promptly rearranged furniture to fix this.  I feel blessed to work with this group of kiddos everyday and am so proud of them for all they've done in the first half of the school year.

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