I’m excited to write this follow-up to my last blog post about the Mouse Project. (Glad you all enjoyed reading about it!)
My students did a great job on our second annual fundraiser project. We “adopted” a local family of three boys whose parents both have cancer. We decided to shake it up and make snowflake ornaments instead of the mice ornaments we made last year. And, silly me, I only got two bottles of tacky glue again, so my students had to share.
One of them asked if we could serve cookies to our “shoppers” this year. I thought that was an awesome idea, and a great way to sneak in some more social skills and life skills lessons. So we bundled up and headed off to the grocery store; each student had to find two or three items, and then go through the check-out themselves.
We returned to school, where the students had to quarter the original recipe (sneaky math!) and each mix up his own batch of dough, which he later rolled out and cut into cookies. I also discovered one of my students is a frosting-making whiz; he whipped up several shades of green frosting in about two minutes. I was very impressed—I even used his method when making cookies at home!
We decided to kick-off the sale this year with an open house. We reviewed skills like greeting people as they came in our room, inviting them to have cookies and punch, and showing them the handmade ornaments. Although our sales window was much shorter than last year, we brought in almost exactly the same amount of money—about $180.
The students were given gifts ideas for each of the three boys and had to work out a budget to purchase presents, including tax, without going over (just like on “The Price is Right”).
For our actual shopping trip, I paired the boys up with an adult staff member, assigned each pair one particular child to shop for, and provided a list of all the items their classmates suggested for that child. We shopped ‘til we dropped (well, I was ready to drop) and were able to get several gifts for each “adopted” boy.
My heartfelt thanks goes out to the lady who was bonked in the head and shoulder several times by a student who used a roll of wrapping paper as a baton, a sword, a bazooka, and countless other pretend weapons. Thank you for not being as annoyed as I would have been (or least not showing it)!
We lugged our gifts back to school and got to work on wrapping them. I learned that many of my students were inexperienced at gift-wrapping. Some thought that their packages looked great and didn’t mind the little imperfections. Others became really frustrated trying to figure out the right amount of paper to cut off the roll, and then how to wrap it around their oddly shaped items, and then how to hold it in place and get a piece of tape at the same time.
It really was a blast and we got everything wrapped and topped off with a gift tag. Well, I guess there is one thing left to wrap . . . a bucket of little soldiers that none of the boys (including the grown-up ones) wanted to tackle. So that job will fall on me, as the resident female in the room. Maybe I can find a box. . . .
As we wrap up this project, I am so proud of my students for their commitment to helping out a family they don’t even know and will probably never meet. Their compassion really warms my heart, and truly makes the season brighter for more people than they realize.