Every year at my high school, just before the winter break, we teach a three week lesson that is the most important lesson a student could learn. No, there are no state mandated tests that cover what they learn. In fact, it is not even a state standard...but I'd appreciate keeping this lesson out of the hands of befuddled men and women in suits, so let's just keep it between us.
Here is the lesson plan in teachereese:
Purpose: to teach students the value of compassion, giving of themselves, and community connectedness.
1. Students will collect non-perishable food items.
2.Students will bring collected items to their first period class.
3.Students will assist in delivering collected items to over 100 needy families.
Show video of previous food drives--over 40,000 items donated to over 100 families. Ask students about the importance of community--discuss.
Ask about a time when students needed help and if they received help--how did they feel either way?
At the start of first period, collect and count items that students bring in. Track your class' progress on the whiteboard--compare with other class' totals. Encourage your students to sacrifice an afternoon, a weekend day, or any time they have to collect food.
Every day, discuss their progress. Continue to encourage.
Make final count and deliver, with shopping cart after shopping cart, collected items to the cafeteria. Once lunch period is over, convert cafeteria into a makeshift Safeway, Big Y, or whatever you have in your area. Once conversion has happened, instruct students to take a grocery list for a family, and begin to shop the aisles.
TEACHERS: Be sure to join in, although it will be tempting to watch some of the most annoying, goofy, or difficult kids taking part in what is a rare moment of community at your school.
Send out student delivery teams to the area families.
This is the great part; the only assessment is, did you collect more than last year? If so, huge success. If not, still an unbelievable success!
So far, our school has collected 15,000 items. There is a young lady in my first period class who has collected almost 4,000 on her own. Trust me, Mr. President, this child will not be left behind.