Recently the sixth grade class of 2015 at Roland Chatterton Elementary School was involved in a unique program. Lead by their teachers – Mrs. Cain and Mr. Horodyski, the students embarked on a writing assignment where they journaled their “Acts of Kindness.” The theme of “Act of Kindness” has been always part of Chatterton’s character education program, but incorporating this project into the present curriculum enabled the sixth grade teachers to take it to the next level. During the two week period of April 27th to May 8th sixth graders were responsible for listing one of more acts of kindness a day and then reflecting on them. In addition the sixth grade students shared and discussed their actions with classmates as well as worked on a writing piece that used their persuasive writing skills to support a cause of their choosing. Tied to the “Acts of Kindness” theme the students have been learning about the non-profit Reason2Smile and its work in Kenya.
Reason2Smile’s mission is to positively impact others though education for children globally and service to organizations in developing countries that provide education, food, clothing and healthcare to orphaned and at-risk children. Utilizing the Reason2Smile curriculum trunk, students learned about the Jambo Jipya school in Mtwapa, Kenya and the importance of education for these 230 students. The trunk includes a variety of teaching tools to introduce and enhance students’ understanding and appreciation of Kenyan life. The overall goal is for students to utilize the resource trunk material in order to critically analyze and explore life in the developing world.
The trunk includes:
- an assortment of picture books that represent themes such as Kenyan culture, language, wildlife conservation, universal education as well as , problems that face the developing world.
- Kenyan crafts and jewelry
- Kenyan music and audio resources
- An array of lessons alignment to the common core learning standards
- A diverse range of graphic organizers aligned to the common core learning standards
- An introduction about the Jambo Jipya school and its founder Christine Mwende
- Pictures and brief biographies of students attending the school
As the sixth grade students were performing and logging their acts of kindness they were also finding sponsors as well. The donation was based per kind act or a flat rate fee. At the end of the allotted two weeks all donations were tallied to be donated to Reason2Smile. The culminating event was a visit to Chatterton School on May 8th by Donna Rosenblum, a school librarian, Merrick resident and Reason2Smile board member. Ms. Rosenblum gave a presentation about the Jambo Jipya school and the work of Reason2Smile. The students were extremely engaged and asked important questions about the school, the orphan students and Reason2Smile. The class of 2015 then presented Reason2Smile with a check in the dollar amount of $1715.21. The class requested that a portion of the money raised be used to sponsor one of the younger orphan students at the school with the plan of having the future sixth graders support his education until at least 12th grade.