Westlake Elementary Students Take Action to Help a Community Organization

Hilliard Elementary School’s second-grade classes used their study of business and charities to take up a collection for the Elyria Friendship APL.

In the International Baccalaureate (IB) program, students study a “How We Organize Ourselves” unit, which encourages students to look at how organizations form and impact the community. Students research types of local organizations, how they help and economic choices.

“They learn that community organizations – business and charitable – provide goods and/or services,” said elementary IB Coordinator Deb Wadden. “They study how individuals and organizations can make a difference and impact people and the economics in the community, and the economic choices organizations and individuals make, based on needs, wants and choice.”

Second-grade teacher Stephanie Mavis said she shared her volunteering story about the Friendship APL, which piqued the interest of her students. In all IB units, teachers try to encourage students to take action and use what they learn. Wadden said the goal is for these actions to originate with and be implemented by students so they can see how they can impact their community.

“The students had a lot of questions about it,” Mavis said of her Friendship APL experience. Based on their discussion, the students agreed to collect donations to help the Friendship APL in Elyria. Tina Fouts’ students also participated, involving the entire second grade at Hilliard Elementary.

Through the IB unit, students learned about how businesses and organizations get information to the public through advertising. This prompted the second graders to create posters through Google Slides and hang them around school to solicit donations of blankets, towels, toys and pet supplies.

“I was amazed at how this impacted my students,” Mavis said. “Their enthusiasm was immediately apparent when students brought in items before we started collecting, and asked their parents to take them to the store to buy pet food and toys.

“It was so wonderful seeing the kids working so hard for the benefit of the shelter animals.”

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