Tuesday, May 7, 2013

GOAL Getters Go Above & Beyond Their Goal

"When you learn, teach. When you get, give." -Maya Angelou 

As the year comes to an end, I've been wrapping up my GOAL Getters project with my 2nd graders. For the Take Action portion of the project, the kids set a goal of $300 (enough money to sponsor one year of school for Jarana at Kopila Valley School in Nepal). They learned about the value and importance of education and that not every child in the world gets to go to school for free. They learned that every world problem has a world solution and that KIDS can and should be problem-solvers and a part of the solutions.

I'm extremely proud to announce that my students went above and beyond their fundraising goal for Jarana's tuition. They raised $500 in just a couple of months! The best part of this was seeing their reaction when I told them the grand total. Of course $500 is a LOT of money to any kid, but it really made them feel good to know that with that money, they were changing a girl's life--halfway around the world--by taking action in their own community.

Presenting the students with this giant check was a lot of fun for them (and me!) It was also the perfect opportunity to teach them how to write a check. I love finding any teachable moment possible, so instead of filling out the check in advance I had us fill it out together. They just finished doing a unit on money in Math, so this worked out perfectly. 

Of course reaching our fundraising goal is wonderful, but what truly means the most to me is that I know they actually LEARNED from this experience. I am not a fan of paper and pencil tests or standardized assessments, but I do understand the value of data. For this project I administered pre and post assessments with fill-in-the-blank, matching, and short-response questions. I was so excited to see the data; numbers don't lie! 100 % of my students showed GROWTH, and as a teacher that is so rewarding to see. 

In addition to reaching the fundraising goal and showing growth on the assessments, the most rewarding part of this entire project was the day-to-day, small victories that I saw among the kids. The moments when you see a lightbulb go on inside their head, or you see their minds opening wider, that to me is real success. Here are some examples:

  •  "We shouldn't complain about doing math; we're lucky to be in school learning about math" 
  • "We're lucky to have different options for lunch; some kids don't get any lunch at all" 
  •  "I can't imagine if there weren't girls in our school. Every girl should be able to go to school. Every kid in the world should be able to go school!"    
  • "To be a better global citizen, I can help others who don't have the same things I have." 
These comments prove that these kids are thinking. They're learning. They're growing as humans and realizing how important it is to be grateful for what they have, and to give to those who don't have. 

I  have to admit, it's easy to forget that they are only seven and eight years old. 
You're truly never too young to change the world! But even more importantly, you're never too young to learn about respect, compassion, and service. By opening the world up to these kids at a young age, they will continue to search and explore as they grow to become the leaders of our world.

Thanks for reading!

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