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Editor's note: Robin McManus teaches fourth grade at the Willard Elementary School in Concord, Mass. Last year, McManus used Read to Feed® in her classroom after a suggestion from a student.  You can read the first installment here and the second here. The fourth and final post will publish next week. 

Keeping it Going

Read to Feed is so empowering for students because they can take action on their own. The fundraising is in their own hands. 

My class really wanted others to know what we were doing, so they created a bulletin board in the hallway full of information about Read to Feed. They also created a graph to help show our progress with donations. Daily, we would check our donations. (The class' original goal was $450—but they reached that in about a week!) Many donators left comments for us, cheering us on. It was fun to read. 

One student’s grandparents donated and told her that they knew Heifer and had donated to them in the past.  Another student asked his parents to donate his allowance. We added to our graph and it kept us motivated. On days when there weren’t donations, we wrote thank you cards.  Students wrote thoughtful notes thanking those supporting our project. After a few weeks of fundraising, we reached our goal.  Since many students had donations coming in at the end of the month, we decided to raise our goal a bit. This was done with more calculations and discussion. Because the project was mostly student lead, I wanted them to be in charge of our goals (which was upped to $800) and progress. As a result they really took ownership and were proud to be reading and working towards their goal.

During the middle of the month, I told the students we were going to have a special Read to Feed day.  A cheer went up “Do we get to read all day?” a student asked. "Mostly," was my reply.

We did many activities centered around reading.  Students wore their pajamas to school and brought blankets and stuffed animals.  Lounging around on blankets on the floor made independent reading very exciting that day. I let students browse Heifer’s catalogue again, since now they were personally responsible for some of the money we had raised, and were more aware of where it could be going. During our special day, we made bookmarks, watched a few of Heifer’s educational videos, and had a treat. 

It was a fun activity to promote the hard work we were doing!  

In all, McManus' class raised more than $1,500! Check back next week for some student reflections on the activity. 

If you think this is something your students would be interested in, check out all the resources Heifer has to offer, including Read to Feed. 

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Heifer International

Heifer International is a nonprofit, non-governmental organization working with communities to end hunger and poverty while caring for the Earth.

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