Throughout this odyssey I’ve come across several projects that look like ones our students might enjoy or which would enhance their skills, and in this way it turns into a bit of “backwards design” related to the philanthropic aspect of what we are encouraging students to do; this month’s project was one of those times. Over the summer I came across a fun sewing pattern for “charity bears” that we hoped would interest students, and then a serendipitous recipient presented himself in the way of our new school resource officer. Deputy Mosely was able to connect us with the coordinator for the Victim Response Team of the Larimer County Sheriff ‘s Office, who said they would be happy to take bears the students created for them to distribute to community members who had encountered a trauma and could use something soft to hold and have.
Our bookkeeper and FACS teacher also luckily had fleece they could donate to this project; the fleece they contributed had been meant for other charitable projects that hadn’t seen completion due to a move and a death; both members of our staff were happy to know that what they contributed meant something both to our students and strangers who needed help.
The pattern itself was easy to get started with and the options for how the bears could look quickly turned into something students seemed to be almost competing at – there were many great options included with the pattern but I found myself headed to the craft store multiple afternoons of this project to get more felt that met the design needs of the various superheroes, characters, and career bears that began to emerge. I think students really enjoyed the freedom this project allowed and it seemed to be a good introductory project for the many students who were new to our school (both freshmen and transfer students) to join us in our making. This project involved 28 students and produced 48 bears…and one robot. Told ya’ they got creative.