On Friday, our school's entire 5th grade (450-500 students) took a mile long walk to donate water to our local food pantry and a local church that provides a free meal once a month. Why? Because we read A Long Walk to Water by Linda Sue Park. The story is part true, part realistic fiction. Two stories are told in the book, that of Nya, a young African girl living in South Sudan and that of Salva Dut, a young boy in the 1980s during the Sudanese Civil War. Nya must travel hours each day to gather water in a 50 lb. jerry can to take back to her family. It's the closest water source to their village and it's dirty. Because of this, Nya cannot attend school, as she is the sole water provider for her family. Salva Dut lost his family in the Sudanese war in the 1980s. He fled from his village and eventually became one of the "lost boys" of Sudan. He eventually made his way to the United States and started an organization, Water for South Sudan, in which he and other people drill wells in remote parts of Africa. Nya and Salva's story eventually meet up with a rewarding ending. Watch the book trailer!
Our 5th graders were riveted by the harsh life of several million people around the world. It's hard for them to imagine not having water in their homes, let alone dirty water they had to walk hours to get twice a day, like Nya. Upon finishing the book, I introduced the idea of collecting fresh gallons of water to donate to our local food pantry for those in need. Needless to say, the gallons started rolling in. I proposed the idea of a walk to the other 5th grade teachers and they picked it right up and ran with it! We all loved seeing the enthusiasm and empathy the book created amongst our students. They were committed to making a difference!
How did all of this come about? Nerdy Book Club, of course! Davide Etkin and Holly Mueller (who happens to be not only my good friend and former teaching partner, but also my writing partner for Choice Literacy and a book venture we're embarking upon) planted the seed in their joint Nerdy Book Club post, Long Walk to Water. Check it out! I guarantee you'll be inspired, too!
Now, onto some of the pictures from Friday! The weather was gorgeous~a crisp, cool fall day in the Cincinnati area. Perfect for a walk in which we think about those less fortunate than us and look forward to helping those in need. What a way to kick off November, a month in which we reflect on everything we're thankful for. These kids and teachers deserve a huge shout-out. They ROCK!!
Lined up at Berry and ready to walk Lebanon!
These are my yahoos! They're amazing!!
These are mine too. Again, fabulous!!
On our way to the food pantry!
Having fun...and realizing we're glad our gallons don't weigh 50 lbs., like Nya's!
Look at all that water! Wonderful!
I challenge you to take a look at the world water crisis. It does really exist and it's something we can all get behind to make a difference. Be thankful for what you've got. There's always someone with less.