To share our vision, the children had to ask for the support of the entire school. They wrote a persuasive letter to our principal, informing her of The Mission’s need, and sharing our ideas for how we could help. Our administration met with the children and agreed that having a food drive was important. Having their ideas valued and endorsed inspired the students. They got busy. They wrote letters to the school community, shared their message in the morning announcements and spoke to classes throughout the school. The older children were also inspired. Our youngest learners were informing the entire school community about a social situation and issuing an urgent call to action!
Sharing Beyond the School
We also wanted the greater community to be aware of our food drive. We created a display that shared our vision of why it was important to collect food and asked for the public’s help. We put the display in the front foyer of the school. The display helped members of our school community understand and connect emotionally with our inquiry. It outlined in detail how the children’s work related to the curriculum and made explicit the rich learning happening in our classroom. We encouraged people to put their donated items next to the display.
The children used our class blog to spread their message beyond the ‘walls’ of the classroom. As one child stated, “We can put this on the blog so that people who don’t come to our school can see it, and then they can give food too.” Using the class iPad the children helped construct messages of support and change. As well, we created a class Twitter account; up to this point in the year we had not used Twitter, but learned from others how quickly messages can spread and felt the food drive would benefit.
Connecting with the Community
The Internet also helped us make connections with others outside our school. Roger Chauvin of the Windsor Essex County Canoe Club was encouraging his members to donate their annual dues to The Mission. We reached out to Mr. Chauvin who in turn wrote an inspiring letter and donated cases of food for our drive. The Wyandotte Street Metro had a donation bin. We asked the management if we could advertise the food drive at their store. Not only did managers Paul and Mike agree to display the children’s posters, they offered everything collected in the donation bins for our food drive. The posters would remain in the store encouraging shoppers to contribute to the donation bins. Our children’s vision for social change would continue long after our inquiry had ended.