I have a student this year who is challenging, humorous, loud, and out-of-control most of the time. The other day we were in book groups and he is reading Drums, Girls, and Dangerous Pie by Jordan Sonnenblick. One of the activities he chose to work on was to make get-well-soon cards for kids in a hospital. At the end of the unit, I will gather up the cards and mail them to a local children's hospital.
For some reason on this day, my student was extremely focused on his task. He usually has trouble with being easily distracted. He was making his card on the computer and he called me over to look at it. It looked okay and I told him he could print it. Once it was printed, he asked if we were really going to send it. When I said that we would, he asked if he could have the rest of the class sign it. I was shocked! I actually had to look the other way as I said yes because I thought I might start crying! It just goes to show you, underneath these rough exteriors, there's a good hearts inside.
I'm so glad this happened because as I started typing about this experience, I realized that this could be our service learning to go along with our health unit. After the success with the Linus Blankets I've been thinking a lot about how to incorporate more meaningful service learning into our curriculum. I remember reading awhile back on another teacher's blog about her class making hope chests for kids in hospitals after reading Drums. I don't know why I didn't connect the dots before, but we could do this too. Even if we just started with cards and built up, I think this could be the start of something!