Monday, November 14, 2016

Books for Guatemala Garage Sale : Our First Project

Our class took part in the Global Read Aloud (GRA) this year.  This year, the Global Read Aloud is partnering with a nonprofit organization, called Palms & Souls,  to organize a book drive for a school/community center in Jocotenango, Guatemala. Each year, I provide opportunities for students to engage in project-based learning that addresses real-world problems or makes a difference for others.  When I read about the partnership between GRA and Palms & Souls, I thought it could be a great starting point for a Grade 1 project.   I decided to tell my grade 1s about how students participating in GRA were working together to help students in Guatemala.  We were even able to "meet" some of the kids there by reading about them on the GRA blog!

When it was put to a class vote, the grade 1s decided that they would be interested in contributing to the book drive.  We began by brainstorming ways to fundraise and, once we decided on holding a garage sale, we created a to-do list to guide our project.  We decided to hold the garage sale during parent-teacher-student interviews, so that many families would already be coming to the school.  One of our next tasks was to ask our families for help.  We completed the letter to our families as a shared writing activity and I added a short teacher message and sign-up form to the note before students took the letter home. 

GRA founder, Pernille Ripp, shared the following information on her blog:

"Who is behind Palms & Souls?
Educator, Reidun Bures...and her husband Ryan,  traveled to Guatemala for their honeymoon in 2014, never dreaming that they would end up founding a nonprofit. They write, “We spent a week volunteering at El Buen Samaritano community center in Jocotenango. The community center provides healthy meals, primary education, tutoring, school supplies, and a safe place to play for 60 students. We left the center with a sense of awe and love for all they were doing. But we were also disturbed after seeing the enormous barriers these people faced to bettering their own situations.”

What is the problem in Jocotenango?
In Guatemala, school is only compulsory through 6th grade. Less than 40% of students make it past middle school. Our nonprofit, Palms and Souls, is committed to changing that narrative.  We are partnering with El Buen Samaritano to help them meet some basic needs of the students, but so much more is needed.  These kids need the one tool that has been shown to improve overall academic performance and lead to enriching lives. They need books!"
Ripp, P. (2016, August 18). Global Read Aloud. Retrieved November 16, 2016, from

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