Are You Hungry to Help?
Students participate in a read aloud and discussion of what it means to be hungry. They brainstorm ways that they can assist people in the community who are in need of food. They may plan and carry out a food drive, collecting and distributing food donations to a local food pantry. The concepts of kindness, helpfulness, friendship, caring and sharing are presented through the book, The Very Hungry Caterpillar.
The learner will:
- listen to a read aloud story, utilizing prior knowledge to construct meaning.
- contribute to a discussion about what it feels like to be hungry.
- brainstorm ways to help people who are hungry in their community.
- learn from organizations that help people who are hungry.
- decide which organization to help and how (food drive is one option).
- make posters and spread the word about collecting food items.
- participate and keep track of a food drive.
- deliver the collected goods to the site.
- reflect on the acts of kindness and caring during the project.
- create writings and drawings to share their feelings about the project.
- read-aloud copy of The Very Hungry Caterpillar
- cut fruit for sampling, including apples, pears, plums, strawberries, and oranges
- chart paper for brainstorming
- drawing materials for creating flyers and reflection activities
- boxes for food collection
- field trip permission slips
In preparation for Day Three, invite someone from a local nonprofit that addresses the issue of hunger in the community to speak to the children about the issue and their needs.
Next week, the children will be reading The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle. This simple story follows a caterpillar who makes some inappropriate choices in what to eat because he is so hungry. Following our group reading, we will discuss what it means to be hungry and brainstorm ways that we can take action to help families in our community who aren't sure where their next meal is coming from. We will choose an action to take, such as a food drive for a local food pantry. Your family can assist us in making this project a success by talking with your child about hunger and the benefits of helping others with kindness, generosity, and caring. Following our project, we will be asking the children to reflect on how they felt about helping others in this way. Please look for our writings and accompanying illustrations outside of our classroom door.
Have students draw a picture of themselves helping others in the project they just completed. The drawings may be on construction paper cutouts of fruits. Hang their illustrated reflections on a bulletin board with a picture of the Very Hungry Caterpiillar.
Carle, Eric. The Very Hungry Caterpillar
Say, “Boys and girls, I’d like to offer you a piece of fruit before we read our story today.” Move around the group inviting children to select a piece of fruit from a tray of cut-up fruit choices. As the children enjoy their snack, say, “Today, we are going to be reading a story about a caterpillar who is veryhungry and wants to look for some food. Do you think that the caterpillar would like to eat any of the fruits we are enjoying now? What do you think will happen if it doesn’t find something good to eat?” Following this discussion, move into the Day One activities.
Read aloud The Very Hungry Caterpillar to the whole group. While reading, invite discussion and predictions focusing on kindness, friendship, caring/sharing, helpfulness and feelings. Ask, “How do you think the caterpillar felt at the beginning of the story? Have you ever felt hungry? What is it like to feel hungry and no food is available? How do you think the caterpillar felt at the end of the story?”
Say, “Yesterday, we read The Very Hungry Caterpillarand decided that we do not like it when we feel hungry. There are people in our community who feel hungry because they do not always have enough food to eat.” Tell the students some age-appropriate facts about why some families are food insecure (be respectful that some might be in your classroom).
With the whole group, conduct a brainstorming session focusing on things we can do that could make a difference for people who are hungry. On the top of the chart paper, write “We can help people who are hungry.” Write all of their ideas and encourage creativity (even if ideas are not realistic). The child’s name can be noted next to his or her suggestion if desired. Tell students that when they give their time (playing with kids), talent (making signs), or treasure (donating food) to help someone else, they are acting as philanthropists. Extend the brainstorming by encouraging students to think of ways they can share their time and talent. When the brainstorming list is completed, it can be posted in the group area. Tell the children to talk about these ideas at home and see if they can come up with more ideas.
Revist the brainstormed list of ideas for addressing hunger in the community. Add any new ideas the children bring in from their family discussions. Have a guest from a local nonprofit speak to the children about their work related to community hunger. They may let the children know about their specific needs. After the guest leaves, narrow down the list of ideas and choose what to do as a group to address the issue of hunger in the community. Guide the children to a project that is age-appropriate and feasible for the timeframe.
Make plans for carrying out the project determined by the group. Include the children, as age appropriate, in planning who does what and when. For example, have some children make posters while others decorate collection boxes and others plan to make an announcement to the school about a food drive. Provide materials and support, as needed.
Days Four - Nine
Make sure that the project is featured during daily announcements and in school communications such as newsletters and online websites. If possible, involve children in daily activities such as a simple daily announcement to the student body. Children can construct a simple statement such as, “Remember that our classes are collecting food for (name of selected group). Please help us help others by putting your donations in the hallway boxes. Thank you!” Each day, keep track of the work completed and the impact made. Reflect on progress and adjust responsibilities, as needed.
Take a field trip to the site for the donation of time, talent, and/or treasure. For example, have the children visit a food pantry and deliver all the collected items. While at the field trip site, arrange for children to tour the facility and ask questions about the work of the nonprofit. Be sure to have the nonprofit representative explain where their money and donations come from and how they assure donations get to the people in need.
With the entire class, discuss the outcome of the project. Ask, “How did you feel about helping people who are in need of food? What difference do you think we made? What did you like about this activity? Is there something that you think we could have done differently? What?” Then, in small groups, invite children to record their individual reflections utilizing illustrations and temporary spelling or dictation. These reflections can be displayed in the classroom or even bound into a class book.
Assessment of lesson objectives will be accomplished through teacher observations of student participation, interaction and communication between students, behavior, extension of the learning into other areas of the classroom curriculum and children’s own written and drawn reflections on their feelings about completing this project.
The students will take action to address the issue of hunger in the community. They may raise awarenss of the issue, collect and donate food items from their own families and the larger school community, or share their time with children who visit a shelter or soup kitchen.