Learning to Give Teacher Stories

Learning to Give Teachers are just like you. They know their students are capable and caring. They expect more of their students and they get it. Here are a few of the inspiring stories of teachers who used Learning to Give lessons to teach knowledge and action of generosity in community. 

Jennifer Hightower - High School

Ms. Hightower from Cedarville, Arkansas said, “I value teaching service and philanthropy because I think is important for students to understand and value the needs of others. It is also important that my students understand that they can have a positive impact on others and their community.” 

Using the Disability Awareness toolkit as a teaching and learning resource, Ms. Hightower’s students learned about challenges and needs of people with disabilities. The 12th graders contacted a children's therapist at TheraPlay Pediatrics to ask how they could be of service. Students then collaborated to design and create weighted sensory blankets that they later coined the "Tinker Quilt." Read more about Ms. Hightower's student-led project here.

Natalie Biggerstaff - Elementary

Ms. Biggerstaff is a 4th grade teacher at Harrison Elementary School in Indiana.  “I feel that at this age and within this generation we see a decline in empathy and compassion,” said Ms. Biggerstaff. “I want to bring the needs of others to the attention of my students and show them that even at their age they can make a difference through their words and actions!” 

Using the lesson, "Phil"-ing Good, Ms. Biggerstaff taught the meaning of philanthropy and read the book, A Chair for My Mother. “Students had lightbulb moments where they connected with the needs of the characters in the story,” said Ms. Biggerstaff. The class discussed how they could use their time, talent, and treasure to address a need in their community, which led to their service-learning project Cancer Care Packages.  Read more about the students' learning and leadership here.

Joe Anderson - High School

Mr. Anderson teaches at Mt. Vernon Community School Corporation in Indiana. Sparked by the lesson Lunchroom Recycling Plan, students were excited to improve and expand recycling into more areas of their school. They placed bottle-shaped recycle bins all over the school and taught others how to recycle responsibly. “Through this project, students learned skills they rarely ever have an opportunity to learn in a typical class. My students showed how they were able to communicate real life experiences when talking with others about their project, fundraising, grant writing, interpersonal skills, and more,” said Mr. Anderson. One student said, "It was cool to see the bottles actually in the cafeteria! Like when we started, I thought it was just a cool idea, but we actually did it!"  Read more about Mr. Anderson's student-led project here

Bambi Garrison - Middle School

Ms. Garrison teaches at Shelbyville Middle School in Indiana. “It is great to teach students the importance of giving back to their community,” said Garrison. “It also helps students feel good about themselves. They feel like a valuable part of the community when they can contribute.” Her class of 27 students learned about community via the Learning to Give lesson What Is a Community? What Makes Our Community Unique? The class used science, language arts, and life skills to make cookies and write letters and deliver to people at the local high school, fire department, nursing home, children's convalescent center, and an elementary school. 

This work gave them a true sense of their role in the community and society.One student now plans to host a bake sale to raise money for the local animal shelter.  Another student observed, “I learned that the smallest change will go a long way in baking and the community. I felt very good about it. The best part is making and giving the cookies. I wouldn’t want to make any changes.”  Read more student comments and project details here

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