04 Nov, 2016
10 : 00
Students in Year 5 recently completed a topics course titled “Global Citizens,” centered on the theme of donations and volunteering. Co-teachers exposed students to the actual process of collecting donations and fundraising, capped with an eye-opening visit to a local migrant children’s school. Spearheading the project was Year 5 teacher Liz Ignoffo, who shed some light on this year’s charity projects and the benefits that students received.
Please introduce the event and what it asked of students
In planning the unit “Global Citizens,” I focused on volunteering and donating for the major themes. While we involved the whole school in the fundraising efforst, Year 5 was in charge. I connected with the Migrant Children’s Foundation (MCF) in Beijing to help organize a school to receive the donations from the clothing drive, where we went on our field trip to give the donations to the migrant children ourselves.
What was the result of the event? How many pieces of clothing were collected?
We had all of our Primary School year groups ask their parents. The donations floored me; we didn’t count the pieces of clothing, but when we carried the donations to the school via bus, every single kid had two full bags of clothes. It was quite a bit!
How do you get the students excited about participating?
During the lesson units, we focused on volunteering and what it means to be a volunteer. It was important for us to understand that even though the school we were donating to has fewer resources than us, it doesn’t make them less than us. The kids are people too! This helped our students make a meaningful connection got them more excited when they realized they were helping someone else.
When we sorted the donations with the students, we had the students check the clothes to make sure they didn’t have holes and were in good enough condition to donate. The kids were brutal in their appraisal! They’d come to me with every little stain or hole they’d find to ask if the clothing was OK to send. It was my favorite story from the project as it showed just how much they cared and how invested they became.
What did students learn from this experience?
That volunteering and donating isn’t just one unit but a lifelong experience and pursuit. Also, we hope that they learned that they actually do have the power to cause change. They’ve changed these kids’ lives with this clothing drive.
It was also a great example of the effectiveness of Primary School’s buddy system. The Year 5’s and Year 2’s worked together during the project. It’s a great opportunity for the Year 5’s to show responsibility, act correctly, and set a good example for the younger kids. At the same time, the Year 2’s love to have someone to look up to and aspire to. The Year 5’s took some time to adjust to their roles as “big buddies,” but they are now taking responsibility and have risen to the challenge of setting a good example for their younger peers!