Student Reflections

Listen to the amazing, insightful, powerful words of our OQS students when talking about what the phrase “Leave No One Behind” has to do with The Global Goals. As we embark on the work of discussing hunger and begin having courageous conversations in library throughout our research, these are the feelings of our students who are ready to step up and rise to the occasion of helping others in our community. How impressive are they!?

Leave No One Behind

This week students K-5 are beginning the work on a unit that is very dear to my heart. This summer, I was one of 8 educators chosen to go to the PBL World conference in California to work with Students Rebuild on their upcoming challenge on hunger that just launched! I was thrilled to work with the incredibly talented staff of PBL World and other dynamic educators to help shape the resources available to all teachers when they go to join this very important challenge!

This week, we began what will be a K-5 research project about hunger in our community by reactivating their knowledge of the United Nations Global Goals, and discussing the new call to action they launched this year: Leave No One Behind. We talked about what that means through a lens of the Global Goals. Students answered with responses like, People are counting on each other to helpWe need to come together to make sure that everyone has enoughWe should be willing to share whatever we have, even if we don’t have more than enough. These Goalkeepers, with humanitarianism in their hearts, are ready to do the hard work of discussing hunger.

The driving question behind this research is How can we, as UN Global Goalkeepers, challenge local chefs to commit to action to create a healthy, not hungry, world? Our goal is to create our own call to action to local restaurants/food service providers to create menus that are locally sourced, healthy, and tasty! Then we will invite these chefs to come speak to the students about their feelings on nutrition, eating healthy, food diversity, and more! I don’t want to give it all away now, but it’s going to be an incredible journey, and the students are already on board.

My favorite part of this week’s lesson is when I asked the students who they would turn to for information about healthy foods here at Ottauquechee.  There were a few suggestions but the overwhelming consensus was Mr. Sadowski, a retired teacher who runs the school Garden Club, along with his many other contributions to our school over his career. I interviewed Mr. Sadowski and asked him about what he thinks about nutrition and why he started our school garden. The kids loved it!

After viewing the video, the students discussed the many ways we utilize our school garden: Garden Club, snacks for Forest Kindergarten, contributing to the Harvest Dinner, taste-testing during lunch, pizza for Open House, and students bringing home fresh vegetables to their families to try. We talked about the many lifelong benefits of exposure to fresh foods for OQS students: a willingness to try new foods, knowledge of how to plant and maintain a garden, healthy snacks, to be healthy, to bring the community together, to name a few! We are so fortunate to have this incredible resource and opportunity right out our back door.

Lastly, we read these books, depending on the grade level, to take the idea of locally sourced produce and the role food plays in our community to a more global level.

I especially love The Good Garden, and really anything published by CitizenKid, as it exposes my rural Vermont students to the world of campesinos, aka peasant farmers, in Honduras, and the vital importance that successful agriculture has on many aspects of their lives. Students were asking me questions about the story as they were checking out books later. It definitely resonated with them.

It feels like it was a long time coming, but I have been thinking about this research unit for months! I hope that the students get as much out of this research, and eventually the creation of a recipe for the Students Rebuild challenge, as I plan!

Just Like Jackie

I had the opportunity to meet the author of this Dorothy Canfield Fisher Award nominated book, Lindsay Stoddard, at the DCF Award conference this past spring. A Hanover High School graduate and former teacher, Ms. Stoddard was very engaging and loves to visit schools. On top of that, she wrote a fabulous book set in Vermont, that I knew the students would love, so I decided to read her novel, Just Like Jackie, with both fourth and fifth grade this year, in the hopes that we can get Ms. Stoddard to come to OQS to discuss it with the students!

So far the students have been very engaged in Ms. Stoddard’s storytelling style, and how she captured the voice of her main character, Robinson Hart, a troubled girl who lives alone with her grandpa. Our discussions have been very thoughtful regarding character motivation, setting, the conflict and predicting possible resolutions, as well as the plot. I have been thoroughly impressed with how deeply the students have been willing to dive into Robinson and the other characters in this story, and their ability to use evidence from the text to back up their assertions.

As we continue reading this book over the course of the year, I look forward to many more thoughtful discussions and personal connections to the character and her problems. I know kids are going to be rooting for Jackie all year long!