The Lemonade Stand Journey
Making the Decision:
In my heart I know “talk matters” but no longer do I believe it is enough. I want my kiddos to be able to express questions with critical literacy’s but even more so I want them to be compassionate, active members of our society. Talking about stories, life, fears, is a mere stepping stone I have used to gain a curriculum of caring. I have challenged our learning through perspectives in children’s books but I know verbally addressing social justice issues will only take our thinking so far.
What we learn amongst each other is far more powerful than what we can accomplish alone. What we “do” is far more powerful than “talk”. I have decided to take our talk to the streets.
As I sit here and think about children and what is meaningful in their world, I immediately think “playing”. I mean, they are 6 year olds. I want our inquiry to be fun and engaging, not forgetting I have curriculum to address.
An old school lemonade stand was the conclusion I came to! Authentic, engaging and fun, all wrapped up into one. My husband, the man of my life and thankfully of many talents, was willing to build a wooden stand on wheels that my kids could maneuver. I thank the heavens he is so willing to support my insane ideas.
The Tie to Curriculum:
We start the year studying animals and their habitats. I planned to present the kids with 3 options of local charities that help animals. I am thinking of taking our journey a step further by attempting to visit the organization that we send our money to. I will have to do more research to find out if that is even an option. It’ll be interesting to see what organization the kids pick? I love giving the children the power of voice and decision making!
The votes are in and a decision has been made. The Phoenix Zoo! The kids are now creating non-fiction animal books on an animal from the Zoo. They are creating dioramas of their habitat and finding out what goes into caring and protection for their animal. I have immersed the children with non-fiction text that can be found at any local library. The texts range from early readers to advance dependant on each child’s reading and illustration decoding ability.
Next we studied Veteran’s Day but the majority of the class ruled the money will be most beneficial elsewhere. After reading December by Eve Bunting, the kids would like to see the money go to peoples homes where Santa never stops. So powerful! This “turning compassion into action” has really become something of its own. I went to my local library and have gathered more books addressing families less fortunate. After we read these stories together and conversed, I presented them with a couple local organizations that benefit people in need. The next recipient of our Lemonade Stand earnings was the United Food Bank located here in Mesa. We researched hunger statistics in Mesa and printed out some real stories from the United Food Banks site to share. The kids truly understood what it might mean to go to bed hungry.
Evolving Beyond Zaharis:
In the classroom our journey of “turning compassion into action, one cup at a time” has been surreal. The kids cannot stop talking about helping others and now they are beginning to speak on a global scale. We started with organizations locally and now we are moving to a bigger scale. We have started creating a class book about “Places around the World”. We have made globes to study geography and each child is researching a continent, of their choice, more in depth. An opportunity arose to view a video documentary clip by Jeff Bridges called “A Place at the Table”. Now, because of a first graders desire to help others, Jeff Bridges decided to join our Lemonade Stands efforts. He made an appearance at our school to receive a check for $414.80 in honor of “No Kid Hungry: Share Our Strength” organization. I’ve found that if you give children a chance to do something great; they just might go beyond your wildest expectations. This is what it means to be a compassionate member of society!
Throughout this journey we worked every Friday at our “Lemonade Stand”. We donated supplies, prepared, run, collected and counted out our earning. We have been active members of our society at 6 and 7 years old! We have made decisions about money and giving from the heart. We have inspired people in unbelievable ways! This is what it means to,
“Turn Compassion into Action, One Cup at a Time!”
Let the journey continue:)
Click below to view the latest article by Laurie Struna on Page 5 of UpClose:
Article by Mike Oliver in the East Valley Tribune: