Saturday, January 10, 2015

Reading Spanish Novels Inspires Students to Help Others

HALF of the cookies
Students in my Spanish 4 class read the novels Esperanza by Carol Gaab and Vida y muerte another novel by TPRS Publishing, Inc.  The novels led us into discussions about the living conditions, the unrest and history of civil wars in the countries, immigration, and the challenges that many people in Guatemala and El Salvador face.  (The Teacher's Guides for the books provide a lot of resources for students to investigate. We used Martina Bex's materials  and information about Guatemala from the Aprendemos Juntos website. Side note: The next time I read this novel with students I'm also going to use some of Sharon Birch's amazing ideas - more from her blog HERE.) 

After reading the books, the class decided they wanted to help others in those countries.  Since it was close to Christmas, and since I love to bake, the option of selling cookies to raise funds was an easy decision.

Adding icing to the oatmeal cookies
I distributed cookie order sheets and the students had less than a week to sell the cookies.  I was actually glad that they didn't have much time to take orders because I was afraid that we would be swamped with orders.

Because there was only one remaining weekend before Christmas and we wanted to distribute the cookies in time for Christmas, only four students were available on Sunday, December 21, to help bake the cookies. But those four students were workers! As soon as they finished one job they asked what else needed to be done. Together we baked oatmeal cookies with cream, raisin-filled cookies, and sugar cookies with icing to add to the chocolate chip cookies I had baked the previous day.  The photo at the beginning of the post shows half of the cookies; the chocolate chip cookies are not on the table.

The 100 step Raisin Filled Cookies (well, not quite)
I transported two large boxes of cookies to school on Monday and the students delivered the cookies, the majority of which went to other staff members in school. The students raised $300!  That was a nice amount considering how low-key and last minute idea it was. 

Before Christmas break, the students had searched the KIVA website, an international micro-lending organization, and selected loan proposals from people in Guatemala and El Salvador.  This week I looked at the loan proposals they had suggested and printed out a list of those that were not fully funded yet.  There were 7 options so I gave each student 3 post-it notes.  They used the post-it notes to vote for the loan they wanted.  

We decided to give $100 to 3 different groups.
A. Tejadoras - Guatemala
B. José - El Salvador 
C. Saul - El Salvador 

This was a fun, educational experience for the students and for me that reached far beyond the classroom walls! Because of the educational value of this project, it is something I want to continue this with my Spanish 4 classes in the next semester and in years to come!  

Many THANKS to Kristy Placido and Carrie Toth who have involved their students in several international projects that offer assistance to those in need and who unknowingly inspired me to do the same!  (read about Kristy's KIVA post HERE and 1 of Carrie's projects HERE

1 comment:

  1. Enhorabuena por la iniciativa y felicidades por esos alumnos tan comprometidos. Saludos desde el Mediterráneo.