I often lament what I perceive is a loss in interpersonal communication skills among modern students, and it makes me a little sad that so much of their evidence of being loved, admired, or even communicated with is so fleeting because it comes in the form of snaps, tags, and emails. For the final project of our first year, we aimed to address this in two ways while having the chance to explore a type of crafting we had not offered before – students would be making cards for a variety of organizations.
I wanted the materials for this project to serve an additional ongoing purpose in our space, that once students had engaged in service to provide cards for others in this particular month they would also know that they could drop in anytime to make a card for someone in their own life that they wanted to acknowledge. Because we would need to add some reusable materials to our space for this ongoing opportunity, another DonorsChoose was born. Since I also teach social studies, I had been lucky to participate in a DonorsChoose promotion that allowed my students to pilot some financial literacy materials in exchange for a donation. Through leveraging that donation and a kind donation from a family down the road in Windsor, our materials were on their way in no time.
For the service project we identified four nonprofits to send various types of cards to; although I haven’t really discussed it before, for each of our projects over the year I made a poster to both hang in the window of our space and to send to teachers for them to share with students or post in their room; I used the same general structure for each poster, sharing with students what they can do for others and a little about who those others are.
Students seemed to enjoy the creativity this project afforded to them and as they adjusted to using the materials, the variety of messages and designs grew and 40 cards were produced for the various organizations. I’m excited to publicize the “card station” with students this year for their own use with the ones they love, and I’m sure we’ll do more projects in the future that provide cards for nonprofits.