03/23/2012
Teacher Tribute
Finding Common Ground

Combining Concerns About the Environment and Animals

“My students are very community-oriented,” Kelly Ford, a 4th grade teacher at Moore Elementary School, wrote in her application to Need in Deed’s Teacher Network. “We have frequent discussions about what we would change in our community, city, country or even the world.”

Kelly values her students’ voices, and let her class take their time selecting a topic so everyone would feel invested in the project. Once they had narrowed their issue list down to three possible topics - hunger, pollution and animal abuse - they got serious about their research. Kelly took her class on a field trip to Philabundance, and hosted a visit from Fairmount Water Works. Finally, it was time to take a vote.

“We got down to two issues, pollution and animal abuse. It came down to one vote, literally,” Kelly recounted. Pollution and concerns about the environment edged out animal abuse. But in the course of their research, the class had come to realize that the two issues were intricately linked. “So we combined them!”

By letting the class drive the discussions and decisions, Kelly has truly empowered her students to figure out how they can best protect the environment, and the animals that depend on it. In the coming weeks, they’ll welcome both human and animal community partners from the Schuykill Center to learn about environmental protection and wildlife rehabilitation. They’ll also start surveying the environment and animals in the area around their school. We’re excited to follow along as their service unfolds.

“I know that Need in Deed would be perfect for this group of children,” Kelly predicted in her application, and it looks like she was right!

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