We’ve been working for change in Room 204. We’ve been working for Haiti. We’ve been working for change: for quarters, nickels, dimes, and pennies. The children have cleaned closets, made beds, emptied dishwashers, cleaned rooms, and taken out the recycling. We can’t go to Haiti to help, but there are other things we can do. We have worked for change and it has changed the way we see things. We can help with our money and we can help with our words.
Before the earthquake, we were learning how to write thank you notes — a good thing to tackle right after the holidays – and it was the assigned writing project on the pacing chart. I brought in my treasured blue cloth bound edition of Emily Post to “mentor” us in style and voice. Mary Lovely, personification of perfection and always correct, uses “felicitous” and “serendipitous” like confetti in her just-right notes. She writes a thank you note to Mrs. Eminent:
“The tea towel is perfectly exquisite! I have never seen anything like it! It is too beautiful and I love it more than I can say!”
We read these notes and noticed the structure and tone. With a sense of fun, we began to emulate them. It was good practice for voice.
On January 12, Haiti was hit with the terrible earthquake. We were hearing and reading about real time suffering. Eight year olds and nine year olds lost houses. Parents. Lives. How could we help? Our class representatives came back from the Student Council Meeting and told us that each class would be collecting money. Mrs. Jacobs would give the class who raised the most money a pizza party.
We brainstormed chores that could be done at home for money: Chores for Change. Money came in every day. Suddenly a new kind of thank you note began to emerge. We became very aware of the people who were helping: the international aid workers. Room 204 became a very special place this week. The movie below will give you a glimpse. The letters are written in an international language: the language of encouragement. These letters will be sent with the money. We raised the most in the school. And we are also sending to Haiti the money that would have been spent on our pizza party. There will be time for pizza later. Now is the time for our help. And our gratitude.