Learning without Borders

This has been a very special couple of weeks for our books to Africa program.Our international reading project was featured in the first issue of Microsoft’s Innovative Educator magazine last week. This magazine is filled with stories, tips and helpful information from teachers. Our article is on page 35 and showcases the impact this project has had on  the teachers and students receiving these books.

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Technology really works wonders with tearing down the classroom walls and bringing the world inside our classrooms. Last week we Skyped with some of the students at Pula Madibogo Primary School. We shared facts, we had an impromptu recorder mini-concert and students shared poetry they had written.
Seeing the faces of the students 10,000 miles away made the connection personal and real for the students on both sides of the world. Suddenly they understood how relevant our project is and how we both benefit from it.

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Next week we are Skyping with Thejane Malakane in Maseru, Lesotho using his mobile phone. He doesn’t have internet at his school, but he doesn’t let that inconvenience stop him. A phone with a camera can bring us together as well. In a few days 300 more books will arrive at Thejane’s school where the students will use them for lessons and free reading. It would be quite the miracle if they arrived in time for us to  see his students open these boxes.

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I sent off 4 boxes on April 30th.   As you can see below, the box went from Issaquah, to Kent, to New York, then Dubai, Johannesburg and hopefully to Maseru for its final stop. The tracking information is so helpful because I can see where the boxes are, if they are together and when they arrived at the destination. Sometimes communication between the post office and the schools needs a boost, so I try to let teachers know when the books are there.

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Whether they get there in time for our call or not, we are having a great time packing up and sending off the boxes. We raised about $1500 and roughly speaking that means we will be able to send about 1500 books this year. Since our program started I estimate we have sent about 6,000 books to Africa. We are changing lives one book at a time!

 

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The Dream Continues

Books to Africa: Year Three

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In  September 2012 when my students and I began our Books to Africa project,  their dream was to help other kids. They wanted to matter and make a difference by sharing books. They love to read and wanted to make sure that other kids had the chance to be readers just like them, no matter where they live in the world.

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That was the dream. We didn’t know exactly how things would work out, but we hoped they would. That’s where our partner schools came in. They made the magic happen in ways we couldn’t imagine.

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Who can believe that it’s been three years since we began our Books to Africa program? From the first Dream Team crew to now, each year the program has grown and evolved in different ways. We now have all the K-5 students participating, raising more money, sending more books and ultimately helping our partners in Ghana, Lesotho and South Africa! The first year our goal was to raise $1,000. The second year we totaled about $1800.  I am excited to announce that this year we have raised over…

$2,000

With this money, we will be able to send about 24 boxes of books overseas. I am so proud of the efforts of our students! I know there are some excited children waiting for the boxes to arrive too!

A couple years ago, I was listening to a book on tape and the speaker was talking about planting seeds, except she wasn’t referring to plants, but rather the seeds of ideas. She asked her audience, “What seeds did you plant today?” She explained that often we have no idea how the seeds we have planted have affected others. Her point reminded me of our literacy project and the reading seeds we have planted in different parts of the world.

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When our original team brainstormed the slogan: “Every Child Deserves a Book”  they believed that where you live shouldn’t determine what resources are available to you. Kids here are just like kids in other parts of the world. Books open up a world. They plant a garden of knowledge. They can change the educational course of a child’s life. Here is a video clip from Pula Madibogo Primary School in Sovenga, South Africa. The children wrote a song and recorded it for our students. It’s a great reminder that the actions we take do matter to other people, even when they live on the other side of the world.

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We have had numerous fundraisers since January including Friday Fun Night, Multicultural Night and Lollygrams. Many other people donated money for postage, including a very special group of my friends who don’t even have children at our school. A special shout out to my “Girls Club” friends for your belief that all children should not only have the right to read, but also have the materials they need.

 

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Fundraising for Friends

Start the new year by helping our friends in Africa!

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January is the month when the Books to Africa club kicks into fundraising high gear. This is our 3rd year of raising funds to use for postage to send boxes of books to four schools in Ghana, Lesotho, and South Africa. Last year we earned $1665.00 and our goal is to raise $1700.00 this year.  Every penny…every dollar…we raise is important and will go to help some very needy children. There are four ways you can help!

 

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At the Multicultural Night we will be selling “stamps” at our Books to Africa booth. Every person who donates will have their name written on a stamp which will be displayed on our Books to Africa bulletin board near the library. We hope you will stop by our booth, see photos of the children we are helping and buy a stamp.

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We are also hosting a Friday Fun Night on January 30th from 7-9pm at NW Aerials. The cost is $15.00 per child and the proceeds from this fundraiser will also benefit the Books to Africa program. A purple flyer went home last week with the permission form. We had 60 children participate last year. Who knew jumping in a foam block pit could help raise money for reading?

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Just in time for Valentine’s Day, we will sell Lollygrams again! For $1.00 students and staff will get a 2″ swirl heart shaped lollypop and a Valentine’s card to be delivered to anyone they choose (at school). It’s a sweet way to support our program and help those in need.

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If you still want to help, but can’t make it to any events, you can always donate at school in our Books to Africa box in the library. Hopefully we will have enough money to send 20 boxes of books overseas. That will be about 1700 books we will be able to send.

If you would like to read more about the Books to Africa club, you are welcome to read older posts here, here, here, and here. The tab at the top of the page, also has a link to our older pages that has lots of information and photos.

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On behalf of our Books to Africa club and our friends in Africa, we thank you for your support! It takes a village to make a difference in a child’s life.

 

Every child deserves a book!

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