Melissa is a middle school teacher in the United States. If you walked through her school, you might notice colourful cut-out bowls of rice decorating the hallway. Why? Trying to teach her students new study skills that would stick, she discovered something powerful about her students to tap into: their desire to help others in a big way. She shared Freerice.com with her colleagues and was inspired as one classroom set a school goal of raising 1,000,000 grains of rice. Along the way, she noticed that the grains of rice donated for every correct answer got her students excited about learning and propelled them to discover new subjects – like foreign languages. Not only did study skills become a habit: so did making a difference on hunger.
We reached out to her to learn more and here’s what she had to say.
As teachers, when your students explore a new concept in the classroom you want them to think critically about it and not just memorize facts. For Tim Coleman, a service learning teacher at St. Patrick’s Episcopal Day School in Washington D.C., that meant coming up with a creative project that would challenge his middle school students to really engage with the issue of hunger and consider its global impact.
It was dawn in Tanzania, and a group of ten determined women – 7 from Nepal, 3 from Africa – took a deep breath as they reached the peak of Mt. Kilimanjaro, the highest mountain in Africa. They were the first all-women team to scale it. What was the first thing they did to celebrate? They unfurled the blue and white World Food Programme flag -- and then they raised it high.
Crayons. Paper. Paint. Welcome to art class, where kids around the globe dive into their imaginations to create their own worlds. This art class, however, is inside Kilis Refugee Camp in Turkey. Its students: young refugees who were forced to flee their homes in Syria because of conflict and violence. As they put crayon to paper, out pours memories – of home, of the conflict, of their frightening journey to the refugee camp where they are now safe. It’s troubling to see the very real images of Kalashnikovs and other guns and tanks they pull from their imaginations. The home they remember is part refuge, part war zone; and it’s clear just how much these kids have been through.