Heifer International: A Global Collaboration

1. the action of working with someone to produce or create something.
Most teachers can collaborate with their eyes shut. We do it all day every day. There is rarely a day that goes by in which I do not receive an email, text, note on a post-it, or quick chat in the hallway regarding a project for a classroom collaboration. Working together is the best way to achieve real, attainable results.
Last year during the Arkansas Association of School Librarians Annual Conference, we were invited to attend a dinner and tour at Heifer International headquarters located in Little Rock, Arkansas. The beautiful grounds featured an eco-friendly “green” building, gardens, and many other educational opportunities. One of the very amazing global collaboration opportunities that Heifer International hosts is their Read to Feed Program.

Through Read to Feed, students raise awareness on current global issues, such as hunger, while engaging in lessons and raising money.
Children (individually or as a group) get sponsors for each book (or chapter or page) they read during a time frame set by their Read to Feed leader. At the end of the program, the group pools its funds and donates them to Heifer International to help Heifer assist millions of families around the world feed their families and reach self-reliance. Teachers can customize a class fundraising webpage to track progress toward the goal, simplify the fundraising process and share students’ enthusiasm.
This global collaboration opportunity would make an amazing spring unit, incorporating Social Studies, Sciences, Math, and Literacy. And, the best part is that this spring, all Read to Feed funds will be matched up to $50,000!
Education plays a fundamental role in our efforts. When we pass on our supporters’ gifts in the form of animals, we teach families how to care for the animals without harming the environment. The families later pass on offspring from their animals, and the lessons they’ve learned, to other nearby families. Soon the entire community is healthier, better educated and more prosperous. Read to Feed encourages children to connect books and learning with taking action to create a just world. By including Read to Feed in your teaching, you are creating the next generation of change agents. You are passing on the knowledge of how to share and care for others.
After funds are raised by your students, they will have the chance to vote on which animal they would like to help purchase. With the presidential election looming in the near future, voting would also tie beautifully into this collaborative project.
So, sit down with your colleagues, and let’s find a time to collaborate globally, improve our students’ reading skills, and help end world hunger!
For more information about Heifer International, visit their website or follow them on TwitterFacebook, and Google+.

Author: Ashley Cooksey

Library Media Specialist in Arkansas. Self-proclaimed geek. Lover of nature and music. Always learning.

Categories: Blog Topics, Community/Teacher Collaboration, Student Engagement/ Teaching Models

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