Last Monday, I decided to talk to them a little bit about the earthquake in Haiti. I knew some of them at least had seen the news, and decided it would be a good opportunity for discussion. So with a lot of qualification and some censoring of some of the more scary details (they ARE just in grade 2 and 3, after all!), I told them about the earthquake. I talked about the poverty in Haiti. I talked about how houses and stores fell down, and how people couldn't get food.
"Miss Hillary, did people die?"
"Yes. A lot of people died. And a lot of people got hurt. But there are countries all over the world who are helping, too."
"I wish we could help those people."
"Well... you can!"
"But we're just kids. We don't have any money!"
"No, that's true. Most kids don't have a lot of money. But we have done things in our school before to raise money. What have those things been?"
Huge, noisy gasps of air were sucked in and hands shot up in the air... "WE CAN SELL STUFF!!!"
"Good idea! What kind of stuff do you think would be popular to sell?"
One boy just couldn't contain his idea and shouted out: "WE CAN BUY A BUNCH OF NINTENDO Wii's AND SELL THEM!"
This launched us into a discussion of cost effectiveness and feasability, but we eventually settled on the idea of a bake sale (that would conveeeeeniently line up with our upcoming parent-teacher conference days!). We then talked about how the government will double any money we make (hello, math lesson!), and how we will give the money to an organization who will be able to buy food, clean water, and medicine for people living in Haiti.
And so the kids got busy. They picked a name - the "Please Help Haiti Bake Sale" - and wrote up invitations to all the other classes to bring in baking. ("More goodies means more money!" one little entrepeneur pointed out.) They wrote an announcement and have been advertising the bake sale over the PA every day for the past few days. They made posters and have been asking thier parents to make goodies.
In class, we've talked about recipes and how to read them, and we've spent three full mornings baking cookies and cupcakes and decorating the cupcakes. We've done our work in the staff room so we can keep an eye on our baking. We've been learning about money and how to count quarters, loonies, and toonies and how to make change. We've been practicing with plastic play money - and can I say, these kids have really got the idea! (We'll see how they do with a rush of big kids wanting their recess snacks pronto, but hey, that's ok!)
The big sale is tomorrow and Thursday, and they are SO excited! They've been working hard, and have told me so many times how glad they are they can help people who don't have as much as we do.
One little boy, while making his poster, told the support worker in the room, "I wish I had one million dollars, then I would keep one and I'd give the rest to the people who got hurt in Haiti."
The caring I have seen in these kids this week has awed me. They've more than once brought me to near tears, and I am SO proud of them!
There is hope, there is trust, a chance to shape the future
For the lessons of life there is no better teacher
Than the look in the eyes of a child
~ Air Supply, "In the eyes of a child"