Working Together at Widener
“Let’s make a plan, guys!” Martha Kutteh urged her 7th grade class at Widener Memorial School. The objective: bring the 3rd graders up to speed on the latest developments in their joint service-learning project and together vote on a topic.
Martha is a second-year network member, and often collaborates with one of her peers, a 3rd grade teacher at this unique school for children with medical or physical disabilities. When that teacher had to take an extended leave, Martha was determined that the 3rd graders not miss out on Need in Deed, so her 7th graders teamed up with the younger students.
“What have we done so far?” Martha asked her students.
“We went on a walk,” one volunteered.
“We walked out the Widener gates, where the school buses come.”
“We went to Broad and Olney, and there was a lot of cars.”
“And a lot of trash. And leaves.”
The students described how they spent their community walk “looking for problems, but also good things,” as one student, Johnny, put it. After their walk, they made a list of fifteen different issues that caught their attention. Everyone circled their top three, which they were now going to present to the 3rd graders for a vote.
Once they arrived at the 3rd graders’ room, the students each had an assignment: Johnny briefed them on the community walk. Rashid told them about the list they made. Azrael introduced the survey, and Tysheen handed them out. Johnny, Dante and Rock helped explain the three topics they were going to vote on: beautification, bullying or littering. It was time to vote!
“Okay … everybody give me a drum roll!” Martha had counted the votes.
“Our topic for this year is going to be ... beautification!” The combined class cheered, even those who had voted for a different topic. After all, who could resist the enthusiasm?!
Click here to watch a video of the students in action!