Many lessons have been taught to my young Sycamore students, but none as broad as building age appropriate awareness of how we have access to things in our part of the world that we sometimes take for granted. In this lesson, we read Malala's Magic Pencil by Malala Yousafzai.
Malala is the youngest winner of the Nobel Peace Prize and grew up in Pakistan dreaming of possessing a magic pencil like the one on her favorite TV show. At first, she believes that such a pencil could solve any problem—from keeping her brothers out of her room to erasing war, poverty, hunger, and gender disparity. But as Malala grows, so does her sense of purpose and agency; she realizes that change comes not from magic, but from the force of her own words and ideas.
In Malala's country, it became illegal for girls to go to school. So at the age of eleven, Malala began writing letters to people and organizations outside of her country to let them know what was happening and to ask for their help. A wildfire was sparked in the world in support of education for all. For anyone reading this that might be teaching an upper grade level, here is a 2:00 Youtube video of an interview with Malala about the importance of school.
Once we read the book, we had rich conversation about things that we do to make a difference in our communities. I was so proud of the way the children were able to tell how they give back and how our families are making these experiences happen to help teach them how fortunate we are! Children told stories of community service projects, feeding/clothing homeless with their parents, building homes for people who could not afford them, being foster families and donation of their own clothes, toys and food for various organizations. I used the teacher's classroom guide for our activities put out for public use by Puffin books. You can download it by clicking here. Here are a few pics of the student's work which includes 1) visual of the food, water and medical kit supplies for the backpacks their family prepares; 2) How the student serves meals with his family and 3) the family that donates furniture and home goods:
Sycamore Springs Elementary school has prided itself on providing a campus-wide grade level service project each month! For more information about all of our grade level service projects, CLICK HERE to see our PTA newsletter with each month's details.