“I am teaching the best group of children I have ever had a chance to meet,” Christina Lucera, a 7th grade teacher at Woodrow Wilson Middle School, wrote in a submission to Need in Deed late last year.
After just a few minutes with Christina, a first year NID network member, it's clear they have a great role model: instead of being overwhelmed by taking on three distinct projects, Christina has encouraged the students to take the initiative.
All three classes have risen to the occasion. "None of the kids had any experience with service-learning, but once they understood what Need in Deed is all about, they came up with issues left and right!" One class is selling healthy snacks to raise awareness about nutrition, one is leading the school's recycling efforts, and the third is learning about rape and other forms of relationship violence.
"I'm okay with students leading the discussion. It’s amazing to see how the information transfers, how they’re connecting their service-learning work to social issues in the books we’re reading,” Christina says. “The class that is selling healthy snacks is learning business management, math and sales skills – they make grocery lists, look for coupons, do inventory” and adjust accordingly.
It’s also great to see the classes communicate and cooperate with each other so effectively. As Christina notes, “IB [International Baccalaureate] is a safe haven for a lot of these kids. They get bullied, so they’re more considerate and respectful of each other.” The students devote a lot of time outside of class to their projects as well, using technology to share resources, poll each other on different ideas, and keep up their enthusiasm.
Even though it’s only January, the students are already brimming with ideas for how they can share their knowledge with the wider community – addressing the School Reform Commission, hosting a recycling fair, holding a school-wide assembly on healthy relationships, and so many more.
Christina credits her students for their service-learning success. “They’ve taken the initiative. I couldn’t have done [Need in Deed] with three classes otherwise.”
Learn more about Christina’s classes here: http://christinalucera-wilson7th-nid.tumblr.com