During the Fall of 2014 the student in my Grade 2/3 class became interested in the topic of food banks. We contacted Outreach for Hunger and made arrangements to visit for the afternoon. The students toured the facility, learned about the services offered and then we spent some time working in the kitchen! It was an incredible experience and they were excited to do more to help our community.
We returned to school and were inspired to do more. We partnered up with a Junior class and ran our schools annual canned food drive. We still wanted to do more. When exploring the Outreach for Hunger website we learned that one way we could help was to raise public awareness, the students immediately recognized that this was what they wanted to do. They planned to make Public Service Announcements about Outreach for Hunger, using Adobe Voice and then to share them with our Twitter audience. We wanted to know if our campaign would have an impact and decided a before and after survey via Google Forms was the way to do this.
Local radio host Greg Hetherington (99.1 CKXS) came in and spoke with students about the importance of inflection when speaking, and we quickly got to work!
Our completed Public Service Announcements!
PSA # 1 http://voice.adobe.com/v/Ps86C8eWyIh
PSA #2 http://voice.adobe.com/v/CX9J6MoKkZq
PSA #3 http://voice.adobe.com/v/Fi6JSkCjdDF
PSA #4 http://voice.adobe.com/v/VCWJy6YIqQW
PSA #5 http://voice.adobe.com/v/SL6SnDLIIfk
PSA #6 http://voice.adobe.com/v/8Y_hYXiLEPN
Food Bank Survey
In order to determine if our PSAs had an impact on our audience we created a Google Forms survey using information we gained from our visit. We asked people to answer the survey both before and after watching our videos. We were overwhelmed with the amount of public participation. In addition to collecting data from almost 150 participants, we made connections on Twitter with Ontario Food Banks, Food Banks Canada and Meal Exchange. We were impressed that our little class from Southwestern Ontario could have such a BIG impact on our community! The icing on the cake came the last day before Winter Break, when our PSA was aired on the radio.
Our focus has really become on reducing stigma around using the Food Bank and looking for ways to create more sustainable food systems. The project has taken on a life of its own and the students have become the leaders, I simply am following their lead and providing access to the services and resources that they require to achieve their goals.
The students decided that one way that they could reduce stigma was to create a more welcoming environment at the food bank. We contact Executive Director, Brenda LeClair and received permission to create artwork for the bare walls. With the assistance of SmART Studios, students were able to design and create beautiful pieces of art and then participate in the installation of their pieces.
The students learned of the rising cost of product and the impact that his was having on local food banks and so asked if we could grow vegetables. I was initially reluctant but quickly realized this was an excellent opportunity to teach students how to grow their own food, while continuing to help their community. Joe Grootenboer from River Bell Market Garden brought the farm into our classroom and assisted us in starting our organic, container garden. With over 140 plants growing, and two other classes assisting in the care, we have had several harvests that we were able to donate.
In April of 2015 we were able to share our journey with the Lambton Kent District School Board of Trustees as well as at Tedx Talks Chatham-Kent.
While the school year is coming to a close, the work around food is still going strong. Students have just embarked on a photography project around our work. More information is available through the Photo Project page.
Curriculum Connections and Assessment
Throughout this project expectations have been met in Language Arts, Mathematics, Social Studies, Science, Health and The Arts.
Student artwork, narrative stories, math tasks, social studies land use reports, plant structures (for tomatoes, beans and peas) and videos are just some examples of tasks that have been used for assessment this year.