Thursday, April 12, 2012

One Day Without Shoes-- 2012 Edition

TOMS Shoes is a company that most people in the States are familiar with. You buy a pair of shoes and they donate a pair of shoes to someone who needs them-- One for One. Every April they have a day devoted to going without shoes in hopes of raising awareness about this global problem. Curiosity leads to questioning which leads to awareness and then change.

I incorporated this day, One Day Without Shoes, into our curriculum for the semester. I created a first grade friendly video about how there are children in other parts of the world who do not have shoes to wear and cannot go to school because of this. It was also explained how being barefoot all of the time can be dangerous. I have NEVER seen my students to focused.

They all got little flags that say "I went barefoot on One Day Without Shoes".
After watching the video we talked about service projects and how change starts with one individual using his or her talents to help others. Together we wrote thank you letters to the man who brings us snack every day and the two people who clean our classroom. I was a little worried about how these well-off first graders would do with the idea of people being so poor that they didn't have any shoes. It's a tough concept to grasp at any age and from any economic situation, but I was still nervous about it.

I had NO reason to be worried. The bulk of the lesson was on Monday, we wrote the letters on Tuesday, and went barefoot on Thursday. (It wasn't on the day that TOMS had designated as One Day Without Shoes, but that's just a minor detail.) Each day we had a brief, and I mean BRIEF, review of TOMS Shoes and their misson. These kids got it, they understood everything.

One student was absent on Monday, so she was completely lost on Tuesday when we talked about TOMS Shoes. I had her watch the video that I created during learning centers and then we talked about it afterwards. She looked at me and said "Mees Cassa, this is going to be really fun for us. But its not fun for kids who have to live without shoes everyday. I mean, its really dangerous for them." Totally blew me out of the water, I was NOT expecting that out of her.

I overheard little snippets of conversation about TOMS Shoes all week. The students would talk amongst themselves about how TOMS would donate a pair of shoes to children who need them and how lucky they are to be living where they are. Another one of my students told me this morning that he "wants to buy a million pairs of TOMS so that a million kids get shoes." I almost cried, I was SO proud of them! They got it, they really understood.

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