By teaching our students to think, care, and act, we empower them to build a peaceful future.


Welcome to Think, Care, Act, where teachers and students can find rationales and resources to infuse required curricula with peace, character, global, and multicultural concepts throughout the year.

To act in a world whose problems seem overwhelming requires being able to use the powers of critical and creative thinking and compassionate and inclusive care. Employing these tools, adults and youth alike can work effectively and conscientiously to solve problems big and small, global and local.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

GUEST POST #5: FIGHTING HUNGER (EA/UNCW THINK-CARE-ACT PROJECT PARTNERSHIP 2016)

Changing the World…. One Project at a Time: Fighting Hunger
 EA/UNCW Think-Care-Act Project Partnership.

Introduction:
Dr. Elizabeth O. Crawford, an education professor at University of North Carolina Wilmington, and Susan Gelber Cannon, a middle school teacher, author, and developer of Think-Care-Act Projects, are pleased to present our second collaborative year of sharing Think-Care-Act-Projects [TCAP].  Our EA/UNCW Think-Care-Act Project Partnership allows Episcopal Academy sixth graders and Dr. Crawford’s senior UNCW pre-service education majors to consider personal qualities and talents, identify passions for social change, and act to change the world for the better.  Through video sessions, my students and those of Dr. Crawford have inspired and encouraged each other to make a difference. 

Below, and for previous four blog posts, you will read future teachers’ guest blogs about their TCAPs, with links for research and teaching suggestions.  Happy reading and thinking, caring, and acting!—Sue Cannon

Fighting Hunger: A Look Into The Problem Of World Hunger
Think-Care-Act Project by Chelsea Anderson and Jenna DeHart
University of North Carolina at Wilmington, May 2016

Food is one of the major necessities needed for life. Without food, individuals do not have the nutrition needed to concentrate and focus, or the energy needed for survival. Without food, there is no living. For our Think-Care-Act Project we researched why there are so many people hungry across the globe and how educators can teach about this world issue to their students and get them to become young solutionaries to this pressing problem.

Causes of Hunger

The primary cause of hunger is poverty. Individuals living in poverty often cannot afford healthy foods or have access to transportation to get to the food. Lacking empowerment and resources to escape it, individuals find it hard to escape poverty (World Food Programme, 2016). In developing farming countries, for example, farmers cannot afford seeds to plant crops to feed their families (World Food Programme, 2016). The hungry usually do not have access to other components of life such as education, water, and land, and therefore the cycle of hunger is not broken easily.

The world has stores of 2.9 trillion pounds of food, enough to feed every individual in all nations twice.  However, there is no explanation of where all of this food is going, considering how many people are hungry (Royte, 2016). In developing countries, much food is lost because there are no sturdy roads, adequate refrigeration, or steady climates to keep the food fresh. In developed nations, however, there is a different story. Restaurants serve too much food, individuals forget about leftovers in the refrigerator, and food is being thrown out before the expiration date (Royte, 2016).  Food is wasted in spite of the fact that hunger exists.

Teaching about World Hunger

The first action step that should be taken when it comes to addressing world hunger is education. Students, especially, do not realize how big of an issue hunger is unless it impacts them directly or they are told about it. Students will develop a personal interest in the problem if they become passionate about becoming solutionaries toward the issue. It is important to show students the issue at hand either through personal narratives, children’s literature, web resources, or videos. It is also necessary to show students other children who are taking action on the same problem and becoming a solutionary. This will inspire students to see that age has nothing to do with being able to take a stand on an issue. A lesson on this issue should include having students come up with solutions on what they and their families can do to reduce the number of hungry people, starting in their own communities.

Our Action Plans

Working as a pair, we focused our actions differently. Jenna placed more of an emphasis on education. She taught a lesson to third grade students to show them that hunger is a prominent issue affecting individuals and families around the world and locally. Jenna and the class then came up with solutions that they can do individually or with their families to help with the problem. 



The solutions varied from hosting a food drive, to donating canned food, to donating money, or to volunteering with their families at a soup kitchen, food bank, or Salvation Army. For example, a student and his family volunteered at a soup kitchen to serve meals to families in need.  Jenna also collected canned food from friends and family to deliver to the Second Harvest Bank and donated money to the World Food Programme to help with funding education and various programs locally and globally so hungry individuals can escape poverty and have a better life.



Chelsea’s approach was geared towards supporting global organizations that focus on finding innovative solutions to the problem of world hunger. She directed a youth group with middle and high school youth in Morganton, North Carolina in their participation in World Vision’s “30-Hour Famine.” Chelsea helped organize and promote the youth group’s participation in the program and help them receive sponsors as they fasted for thirty hours and worked together by participating in team-building games and simulations of how people must survive when they must support themselves when they are hungry and living in impoverished areas. She was able to Skype in with the youth group throughout the thirty hours to support and encourage them for their participation. 

Chelsea noted how many of the students shared how excited they were to be able to make an impact on the world through their participation.  They now had a greater outlook on what some people have to deal with and do to survive in the world. She shared that the youth group raised over $400 to support World Vision and also donated over 100 pounds of food to their local soup kitchen.

Teaching Resources and References

Information on Think-Care-Act Projects:

Seven great lessons to teach kids about hunger and food insecurity. (2013, September 10). Retrieved from http://kidworldcitizen.org/2013/09/09/great-lessons-teach-kids-about-hunger-food-insecurity/

Milway, K. S., & Fernandes, E. (2008). one hen: how one small loan made a big
         difference. Toronto: Kids Can Press.

Suggested Books. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.kidscanmakeadifference.org/program-description

Top 10 books to help kids understand hunger - Lasso the Moon. (2012, September 13).
Retrieved from Royte, E. (2016, March 01). http://letslassothemoon.com/2012/09/13/book-on-hunger/

How 'ugly' fruits and vegetables can help solve world hunger.

10 ways to stop world hunger. (2013, October 02). Retrieved from

What causes hunger? | WFP | United Nations World Food Programme - Fighting Hunger Worldwide. (2016). Retrieved from https://www.wfp.org/hunger/causes


GUEST POST #4: HELPING YOUTH (EA/UNCW THINK-CARE-ACT PROJECT PARTNERSHIP 2016)


       

Changing the World…. One Project at a Time: Helping Youth
 EA/UNCW Think-Care-Act Project Partnership.

Introduction:
Dr. Elizabeth O. Crawford, an education professor at University of North Carolina Wilmington, and Susan Gelber Cannon, a middle school teacher, author, and developer of Think-Care-Act Projects, are pleased to present our second collaborative year of sharing Think-Care-Act-Projects [TCAP].  Our EA/UNCW Think-Care-Act Project Partnership allows Episcopal Academy sixth graders and Dr. Crawford’s senior UNCW pre-service education majors to consider personal qualities and talents, identify passions for social change, and act to change the world for the better.  Through video sessions, my students and those of Dr. Crawford have inspired and encouraged each other to make a difference. 

Below, and for the next blog post, you will read future teachers’ guest blogs about their TCAPs, with links for research and teaching suggestions.  Happy reading and thinking, caring, and acting!—Sue Cannon

HELPING YOUTH: Think-Care-Act Project by Meghan Lane, Eleni Carros, Kristin Skeen, and Zach Gerstenberger
University of North Carolina at Wilmington, May 2016

Introduction
All around the world, children go without a quality education, proper nutrition, and adequate supervision on a daily basis. There are many ways in which children suffer, and it is our duty as global citizens to help shape a more positive future for our youth. Learning how to help children has been the capstone of our research throughout the semester. We have found that through educational resources, after school programs, and child labor watch groups, we can assist children in having a brighter future. It is critical that we find ways to support our children both inside and outside of the classroom. To do this, we need to find ways to connect both their school life with their outside life. As teachers, we have a responsibility to take action and ensure that our children do not fall through the cracks of the education system. This can be made possible by emphasizing the importance of working towards goals and letting our students know that they are capable of making a difference.

How To Take Action, by Zach Gerstenberger


Recognizing that children need help is the first step to building a bridge of support for our students. As we teach, we become more familiar with our students everyday and we can see the walls that are built up around them. These barriers can come from a variety of sources such as issues with their families and problems that may arise in school.  However, while children are at school their basic needs are met with proper supervision, healthy nutrition and educational support. When students leave they may not receive all of these basic needs.

To help aid teachers and families we put together a document of resources for local after school programs, national after school resources and lesson plans that can be shared via email. This will help teachers and families find resources to help students when they are outside of the classroom. Similarly we realized that sometimes students don’t feel as though they are part of their classroom community and this feeling can have detrimental effects.  Accordingly, we found a list of books that can be used for bibliotherapy lessons so that students feel as though they are part of their classroom community. The students can journal and discuss these books with the class and their peers to find continuity within their world.

Moreover we found that children want to be challenged.  For example, there are increasingly large numbers of jobs in the science, technology, engineering, and math fields [STEM].  We can challenge our students through quality STEM lessons and instruction.  Additionally, we as educators must give children a choice when it comes to their education, and they need to be fully immersed. With over 10,000 students dropping out of school in North Carolina alone in a year, we have to find ways to help children in school and keep them motivated.

Supporting Youth In and Out of School: by Eleni Carros


“Today’s youth are exposed to a variety of negative factors making them more at-risk to injury, academic failure, and poor health. Youth who are likely to be more at-risk are usually those that lack a strong support system at home, as well as teens who are not coping well with the different challenges that they are facing” (“Information on At Risk Youth Statistics,” para. 1).

One organization that has made a big difference in helping underprivileged youth in the local community and in many other places around the state is The Boys and Girls Club. The mission statement of The Boys and Girls Club is “To enable all young people, especially those who need us most, to reach their full potential as productive, caring, responsible citizens” (Boys and Girls Club of America, “Our Mission,” para.1). The Boys and Girls Club has positively impacted youth by providing a safe place for children to go that allows them to build relationships with caring professionals, while receiving assistance in various areas to help them become successful.

Nationwide, there are more than 4,200 Club locations, which are governed locally and serve youth and communities.  In 2014, Boys & Girls Club youth development programs impacted nearly 4 million children and teens. (Boys and Girls Clubs of America, “Our Facts and Figures,” 2016) While at the club, youth are assisted with daily homework, given a snack and a hot meal, and have the opportunity to participate in recreational activities that help them feel like part of a family. The club is a place for them to go to stay safe and out of trouble, while also being productive and having fun (Personal Interview, April 29, 2016).

         To help raise money and spread awareness for The Community Boys and Girls Club of Wilmington, I held a bake sale fundraiser at Defy Gravity, a trampoline park in Wilmington, NC.  Chocolate chip cookies, “Rice Krispy” treats, and brownies were sold for $1, and all of the proceeds went to the Community Boys and Girls Club of Wilmington. I raised $70 and was able to spread awareness by sharing information about The Boys and Girls Club with the customers. Additionally, when the children at Defy Gravity purchased desserts they were able to help other children in the local community.

Be Part of the CHANGE: by Kristin Skeen

 Education is a fundamental human right required for global survival and sustainability. Children of all ages, races, genders, and backgrounds deserve to have a safe place where they can receive a quality education; the children are the future and should be treated as such. We all need to be advocates for change. This does not mean that one person is responsible for changing the world; we just need to impact those around us. As teachers, one of the best ways that we can advocate for quality education on a global scale is bringing it into the classroom. Educating students about these issues and promoting global citizenship can have a significant impact on the future of our world.

Communities Helping to Affect a New Generation of Education (CHANGE) is a project that I have been working on to develop partnerships between schools and their communities. I created fliers for this campaign to highlight the benefits of reaching out for help. These fliers identify ways in which schools and businesses can benefit from helping each other in the fight for quality education. Using fliers, instead of a website, I created a situation in which people must be intentional about their actions. Anytime I visit a school or business, I hand out fliers to encourage this process and remind people that their actions can make a difference.


Letters for Change: by Meg Lane

         Children may have their needs met at school, but for many that is not the case at home. Some of these children work while not in school to help put food on the table.  This underage labor occurs all across the globe, even in our own backyards.  Among many other things, North Carolina is ranked number one in the nation for tobacco production.  North Carolina’s labor laws regarding age restriction are applied to all industries with the exception of agriculture.  Thus, children as young as ten years old are legally able to work on farms with parental consent, though there have been cases reported with children as young as six working in the fields. 

         As an intern in a fifth grade classroom, it broke my heart to think that any of my kids could potentially go home and have to go straight to work in tobacco fields.  The health risks alone are concerning, not to mention the stress such labor may put on children and their academics.  This needs to end now. 

Through personal and professional connections, I started a letter-writing campaign to inform and persuade legislators to create more regulated age restrictions in the agriculture industry.  Everyone from the local mayor, to state governors, to presidential candidates will receive a letter.  Writing a letter is so simple, and anyone can do it.  A letter alone will not change legislation, but it will get the ball rolling.  In time, the suggestions you proposed in your letter could become law.  If you have an issue that needs to be addressed, send a letter to your local governor!  Let them know what’s going on, why it’s important, and how they can help.

Resources
Cox, J. (n.d.). How to motivate students by letting them choose books. Retrieved March 27, 2016, from http://www.teachhub.com/how-motivate-students-letting-them-choose-books
-       This website offers insight into how allowing children to pick their books can have a positive impact on them academically.

Stump, S. L., Bryan, J. A., & McConnell, T. J. (2016). Making STEM Connections. The Mathematics Teacher, 109(8), 576-583. Retrieved April 9, 2016, from http://www.jstor.org.liblink.uncw.edu/stable/pdf/10.5951/mathteacher.109.8.0576.pdf
-       This website shows the importance of teaching children science, technology, engineering and mathematics.  (NOTE: available by LOG IN only.)

Williams, D. C. (n.d.). Dropout prevention and intervention. Retrieved March 27, 2016, from http://www.dpi.state.nc.us/dropout/
-       The website has statistics from North Carolina about dropout numbers and why students are dropping out of school.

-       This document has resources for after school programs, bibliotherapy books and lesson plans.

Child Labor Fact Sheet. (2012). Retrieved May 02, 2016, from
-        This is a quick fact sheet on Child Labor in North Carolina.  Statistics and solutions are described with detail. 

Writing to Your Legislators. (2015). Retrieved May 03, 2016, from http://www.nea.org/home/19657.htm
-       This is a helpful guide with tips and tricks on making the most out of your letter to government officials.  It also has addresses for Congress members.
        
-       This is the flier created for Communities Helping to Affect a New Generation of Education (CHANGE).


References

At Risk Youth Programs. (n.d.). Information on At Risk Youth Statistics. Retrieved May 1, 2016, from
Boys and Girls Clubs of America. (2016). Retrieved May 1, 2016, from
Community Boys and Girls Club of Wilmington. (2016, April 29). Personal Interview.

GUEST POST #3: IMPROVING MENTAL HEALTH (EA/UNCW THINK-CARE-ACT PROJECT PARTNERSHIP 2016)

Changing the World…. One Project at a Time: Improving Mental Health
 EA/UNCW Think-Care-Act Project Partnership.
Introduction:
Dr. Elizabeth O. Crawford, an education professor at University of North Carolina Wilmington, and Susan Gelber Cannon, a middle school teacher, author, and developer of Think-Care-Act Projects, are pleased to present our second collaborative year of sharing Think-Care-Act-Projects [TCAP].  Our EA/UNCW Think-Care-Act Project Partnership allows Episcopal Academy sixth graders and Dr. Crawford’s senior UNCW pre-service education majors to consider personal qualities and talents, identify passions for social change, and act to change the world for the better.  Through video sessions, my students and those of Dr. Crawford have inspired and encouraged each other to make a difference.

Below, and for the next few blog postings, you will read future teachers’ guest blogs about their TCAPs, with links for research and teaching suggestions. 
Happy reading and thinking, caring, and acting!—Sue Cannon

Improving Mental Health: Think-Care-Act Project
By: Johnna Griffith, Morgan Meyers, and Kaitlyn O’Brien
University of North Carolina at Wilmington, May 2016

Twenty percent of youth ages thirteen to eighteen live with a mental health condition.

During our block semester we were asked to complete a Think-Care-Act Project, also known as TCAP. Everyone chose an issue somewhat personal to focus on. Our group members each focused on mental health in some capacity. We found that researching mental health and showing active support of organizations aimed at helping those suffering with mental illnesses would be the best use of our time. Our actions may have been different, but in the end our compassion was the same.

Kaitlyn: Mental Health in Children and Breaking the Stigma



According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI, 2016) twenty percent of youth ages thirteen-to-eighteen live with a mental health condition. NAMI also states that one in every five children in the same age range has, or will have a serious mental illness. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC, 2015) lists the top five mental health issues affecting children ages three to seventeen as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, behavioral or conduct problems, anxiety, depression, and Autism Spectrum Disorder. Who would have guessed that so many children are being affected by these serious illnesses?
        
We can raise awareness about these issues and help break the stigma against mental illness. I chose to take this on as a part of this project and raise awareness through a social media campaign. While I may not have as many “friends” as others do, the Internet is a powerful place to start. I posted various items on my personal Facebook account: from quotes, to resource pages, to first hand accounts of what it’s like to suffer from anxiety or depression. Over one month, I sporadically posted whatever I found and thought people could identify with. I knew starting out, if just one of my posts could help change a single person’s thinking or make them feel like they’ve got support, then I’ve done what I intended.

Morgan: The Mental Health of Veterans

Twenty percent of veterans who served in Iraq and Afghanistan have Posttraumatic Stress Disorder [PTSD] in a given year (Veterans’ Administration [VA], 2016).  Thirty percent of Vietnam veterans have had PTSD in their lifetime (VA, 2016).  Here is something even more startling: these numbers only account for veterans who are formally diagnosed and receive treatments.  What about the veterans who never reach out for help?  What about the veterans who are turned away because their symptoms are not “bad enough,” or the traumatic event could not be “proven?”  I will tell you what happens.  Those veterans fall through the cracks and become one of the twenty-two veterans who commit suicide in the United States every day.  That means that ONE veteran takes his or her OWN LIFE every 65 MINUTES.

My intentions for this project were to: 1) raise awareness for veteran PTSD and suicide, since the issue receives very little attention, 2) learn more about service animals, and how they benefit veterans, 3) directly benefit veterans by taking action.  I decided to raise awareness using social media, by participating in a campaign started by Mission22 (an organization that raises awareness and funds to end veteran suicide).  I also volunteered at a local 5K run/1 mile walk hosted by Paws4People (an organization that raises, trains, and places service dogs with veterans for free. 

Johhna: Paws4People Foundation



Service dogs are very important, whether they are trained for help with physical disabilities, emotional support, or something that seems as simple as children reading to them for confidence. Dogs are smart animals. There are so many things dogs do for people just by simply providing company and support.

At a Humane Society in Missouri, they started a “Shelter Buddies Reading Program” (Messenger, 2016). This program is not only to help the dogs become socially aware and interactive without forcing them to play with people, but it also helps kids practice their reading to someone who cannot talk or correct them (Messenger, 2016). Human participants are also learning social skills and empathy (Messenger, 2016). By seeing these shy and fearful dogs, the students become more caring and careful by being aware of their surroundings (Messenger, 2016).
           
At Bellamy Elementary School and now College Road Early Childhood Center (CRECC) where they house Bellamy’s kindergarteners, they have a program where Tibbet the Dog comes in and the students get to read to him to practice their fluency. It was heartwarming watching a child I know gain the confidence in his reading, despite a reading disability. Dogs help build the confidence a child may need by offering a judgment-free reading zone.
        
If teachers took the time to advocate to obtain support dogs for their schools, there would be a huge increase in student confidence and an increase in school attendance. Many children love dogs. With a dog in children’s schools, they would want to be there to see the dog, to talk to the dog, and to read and do other subjects with the dog. The dog would provide a judgment-free zone where children could really work on their schoolwork and feel confident. They could read more fluently if they were not afraid of someone correcting them before they even got to try.
         
My intentions for this project were to learn how one obtains a service dog. I also wanted to find out what educational service dogs do for children. I wanted to learn how dogs were trained and how one became capable of training these dogs. Therefore, I worked alongside Mr. McCann this semester and learned a lot about his intentions for having a service dog in his classroom. He wants kids to feel that they have someone to talk to and without being judged. He wants the dog to be a motivator, to relieve stress and help kids to stop worrying about getting anyone in trouble. I watched PALMER come in and interact with the students and saw a glimpse of how she was trained and what she will be doing.


References/ Resources
Information on Think-Care-Act Projects:

U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). (2016). PTSD: National Center for PTSD: http://www.ptsd.va.gov/index.asp

Mission22 organization: http://www.mission22.com

Paws4People Foundation: http://paws4people.org

Messenger, S. (n.d.). Something Truly Beautiful Is Happening At This Animal Shelter. Retrieved April 10, 2016, from https://www.thedodo.com/kids-read-to-shelter-dogs-1620612867.html

National Alliance on Mental Illness. (n.d.). Mental Health Facts Children and Teens. Retrieved April 10, 2016, from https://www.nami.org/NAMI/media/NAMI-Media/Infographics/Children-MH-Facts-NAMI.pdf


Center for Disease Control and Prevention. (2015, November 12). Children’s Mental Health – New Report. Retrieved April 10, 2016, from http://www.cdc.gov/features/childrensmentalhealth/