Wednesday, September 19, 2012
Booker T. Washington Academy third-graders take the lead on ‘Send a Cow’ to Africa project
By Tammy Lane
Fayette County Public Schools
Chet Gill has a mighty big heart for an 8-year-old girl, and she already knows part of being a good citizen is reaching out to children and families with fewer resources.
“You’re sharing what you have to help other countries with their needs,” she said, explaining why students at Booker T. Washington Academy are pulling together in a new service project. “We’re sending a cow to Africa so they can have stuff to eat, to drink and to plant. They’ll milk the cow and use the manure to fertilize the ground. The cow can also help by eating the grass and keeping it short.”
Students who brought in $1 for the schoolwide project could sign one of several cow posters scattered throughout the intermediate and primary buildings. They also received a "casual day" pass. (Photos from FCPS)
In the past couple of weeks, students have watched YouTube videos and seen pictures of impoverished schools and living conditions in Third World countries, and the images have made an impression.
“They don’t have that much stuff, and they had to share (school desks),” 8-year-old Emily Nickell noticed. “The kids have to travel a mile to get water in jugs.”
Teacher Melanie Baggerman said students and staff have been receptive to doing something tangible to make a difference.
“These places are really in need of our resources and our time. We have a lot of things given to us, so we need to take some of our time and our money to help other people,” she said.
Third-grade team leader Kim Willeroy has had to do little prompting – the youngsters quickly realized the divide and recognized the needs.
“The kids have been really enthusiastic. They immediately connected,” she said.
Third-graders took the lead on the schoolwide “Send a Cow” service project – writing short speeches to persuade their peers to support the cause. In response, those who brought in $1 were allowed to sign one of several cow posters in the hallways and received a “casual day” pass.
Booker T. Washington this fall began using an inquiry-based approach that links writing and literacy to social studies and science for each unit of study. After citizenship, for instance, comes a unit on weather. Students will prepare questions for local meteorologist Chris Bailey and later write about their reactions to his classroom visit.
Through the “Send a Cow” project, teachers can emphasize students working together as a team as they try to pattern their classrooms after a solid family structure. Such efforts fit well with the citizenship unit, which focuses on family and school, then state, country and the global community.
Another spinoff lesson is the value of perseverance. Students need to raise more than $1,400 for their cow – a goal that will take some time.
“We’ll work on it until we reach it,” Willeroy said. “We try to teach that you have to keep going. You don’t just give up.”