By Rebecca Bauer
With the announcement of the 2016 Promising Practices only a few days away, I’m feeling excited to welcome a new batch of teachers and schools into our network. Promising Practices are an integral part of our work at Character.org because they give us the chance to recognize the amazing work happening in classrooms all around the world.
“These great ideas really highlight the creative efforts of outstanding teachers across the world,” said Dr. Dave Keller, Program Director. “It’s great to recognize what’s going well in the classroom. These practices represent practical, effective ways to develop empathy, conflict resolution skills, and good citizenship.”
Before we announce hundreds of new Promising Practices, I wanted to go back and share a 2015 Practice that I found inspiring. I love to read Promising Practices that focus on service learning because the students don’t merely scratch the service of giving back. Instead, they truly embody the key ingredients that make service learning effective.
Let’s take a look at some of the unique and compelling aspects of Beasley Elementary’s Promising Practice, Hunger Stops Here.
“Hunger Stops Here” began as a way to provide food to families in need over the summer. The staff and various student groups developed a plan to deliver food to the families rather than requiring families to find transportation to pick it up. The program was so successful over the summer that they continued the initiative throughout the school year focusing on weekends, holiday and break times.
Local Impact: Rather than collecting money, writing a check and mailing it off to an organization miles away, at Beasley Elementary School (Missouri), the students and staff established a food pantry in their own school. With a free and reduced lunch rate of 44%, there are plenty of students and families that appreciate the service.
Connection to the Curriculum: Since this initiative is student-led, managing the pantry requires a number of academic skills. Students take inventory of the products, write grocery lists, analyze the nutrition labels and research healthy food choices. They also practice important social habits like teamwork and cooperation.
Community Effort: Everyone has a role to play in maintaining and improving the food pantry. While some parents donate money, others shop for food. Some sort and package the items, while others opt to assist by delivering the products directly to the families that need them. In addition to overseeing the logistics, students also reflect on how they can improve the program. After making the first summer delivery, students opted to expand the program so they could provide their classmates with bubbles, books, coloring books, etc. to ensure they could have some summer fun!
Looking for more inspiration? Be sure to visit the Promising Practices page on April 22 for the announcement of the 2016 Promising Practices!