It was perhaps a heavily guarded secret but for those fortunate enough to visit Ms. Wilkgen's grade 4 classroom as a visitor on any given Thursday during the year were greeted by a surprise cupcake! How fun! And for those "in the know" it was no surprise that, when talking later in the year about how best to show appreciation for the workers on our campus, they wanted to make cupcakes for them. The idea built up steam quickly.
For those who are aware of the service learning cycle investigation is what starts it off. The assumption that cupcakes would make a good culinary gift were slightly challenged when Ms. Carden was brought into the conversation. Given the varied cultural backgrounds of our workers, it was determined that the best approach was to interview some of them directly. What ensured was a deeper engagement based on inquiry.
When it was all said and done the students had collected information from the Facilities Office and from some of the workers themselves. Then, guided by Ms. Carden (in the kitchen), Ms. Wiltgen and Ms. Zara, they did pretty much everything - from identifying an appropriate time and date, to finding Bangla music to share during the event, to decorating the tables in the ES cafeteria, to identifying the menu, preparing the food and serving those who so often selflessly support our collective learning! The final result was near perfect!
Students sitting and sharing conversation and great food with people they often don't have the opportunity to really get to know so much. The final touch was a rendition of We are the World due largely to one student's passion for Micheal Jackson. Even when it was over the details were thought of... nearly everything left over (which wasn't much) was composted or recycled!
This was not a planned event. It was a spontaneous thought which caught on, supported by great educators, to allow our students to follow their dreams. What wonderful student-initiated learning and community engagement to finish off a year of contribution at ASD!
And how does this impact student "critical consciousness"? Well, below is the reflection of one student; one of many thoughtful reflections shared with us following the event.
"This is what I learned:
During the project on making the workers food for a day it was a great experience for me because I had to live in their shoes. I realized that it is very difficult job to do what the ASD staff and janitors do. For example, we had 20 people cleaning after 50 people but for the workers one or two people have to clean after 120 people.
Now I have a huge amount of respect for all of the workers and when I was walking in the hallway one worker said "Hi Samir." That really shocked me and I was so happy he new my name and I knew his. In another example of learning, we did math problems.
For example, when we had to know how many plates and how many samosas per plate. That shows that we had to do multiplication and devision problems.
Thank you Mr. Myers for helping us plan.
Thank you Miss.Black for also helping is plan and believing in us.
Thank you Miss.Carden for helping us cook and for bringing the fruits and vegetables.
Thank you Miss. Zara for helping us organize the whole thing and doing the posters and the snow flakes.
Thank you Miss. Wiltgen for making this possible.
Samir 4WL. "