Every teacher hopes that they can impart a lasting impression. Every teacher hopes that they can finally answer that question, “Why do we have to learn this?” Every teacher wants to make a difference in the lives of their students. But how do we also make sure that those students are able to make a difference of their own?
For the past two and a half weeks, my students in my World Literature classes have been working in groups on projects called “Social Change Projects.” (These projects aren’t due until the end of this week, but I am already very encouraged by what I have been seeing.) My hope was that with these projects, my students were able to see that they play a part in the world, a world they weren’t previously aware of; that they are able to impact the stories of others and turn their awareness into action. For the group projects, the students were given the following task:
In groups of 3 (I modified this to 2-3 because of the numbers), you will come up with a creative way to help resolve a global problem. Of course you cannot end this problem entirely, but you can help the world get one step closer.
While students were tasked with crating a realistic goal and a realistic campaign and create an Indiegogo page, they are not required to “go live” to actually raise money for their identified goal (see the attached files); although I am not discouraging those groups who have truly decided to make a difference through this project.
While one of my goals was to have studetns understand the difference they can make even in a small way, another one of my goals was for studetns to understand how to work together in groups. As you can see in the “4th Quarter Project” file attached below, students also had to create differnt components to these projects; they needed to have research to persuade their potential donors, they needed to become involved in the community in a way that related to their topic (volunteering, conducting an interview, attending a presentation, etc), and crating a type of social media for their project (a video, Facebook page, Twitter page, Pinterest board, etc.) to help them understand the power of social media.
I have already had numerous groups who have already realized the value and benefit of these projects. One group of mine is utilizing thier project to help fundraise for their church’s mission trip; a few groups from different classes are trying to fundraise for the local animal shelter and humane society; one group is trying to raise money for one of the local food pantries. These students have seen how easy it is to take a small step to make a large difference in another person’s life. These are the success stories that I was hoping to see when we started these projects, and I truly hope that their campaigns can be successful.