By the end of the year, one student became particularly interested in water access in Africa and recommended to Mrs. Wagoner that every 6th-grade student should read the book A Long Walk to Water the following school year. Mrs. Wagoner agreed and implemented this book as a grade-level text at the beginning of the 2017-2018 school year. This book follows two main characters as they overcome fleeing civil wars and minimal freshwater access to eventually, years later, building a fresh drinking well in their home city in Sudan, Africa. After reading the book, all 6th-grade students had an opportunity to watch a globally streamed webinar by the author, Linda Sue Park, and one of the main characters, Salva. Woods Charter School got a “shout out” during the webinar, and our school’s question was answered live during the webinar!
Since starting the book, the 6th-grade students have been moved by the story and the situation in Africa. They feel motivation and responsibility to act locally in any way they can. In French class, these sixth graders did additional research on the lack of water access affecting French-speaking countries of Africa. The students created bilingual children’s books to incorporate elements of their research to help spread the word about the water crisis in Africa. From there, it became a collaborative effort among Mrs. Bost, Mrs. Nolin, Mrs. Smith, Mrs. Wagoner, Mrs. Wilson, and Mrs. West to support the sixth-grade students in their desires to learn more about the water access crisis and spread awareness within the elementary classrooms. So far, these sixth-grade students have done interactive presentations in two elementary classes. They discuss geography and water access through a map that the students created, collaboratively read their books, and draw pictures to spread awareness to other students in the school.
These sixth-grade students are not done yet, however. They have plans to continue presenting within Woods and possibly to other local schools as well. They also have aspirations of creating a news type documentary program which will include exclusive reporting and interviews. Expect to hear more from this group soon - - they are working on a website, social media platforms, and local school community events to continue their mission of spreading awareness of the water crisis in Africa and making a difference! If you have any ideas, suggestions, or you’d like to be involved, please email Mrs. Wagoner or Mrs. Smith!