The annual conference of the Massachusetts School Library Association
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Monday, May 8 • 2:30pm - 3:30pm
IdeaLab Table 13: Reading for a Cause: How Your Students Can Help End World Hunger with Authentic Learning

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Approximately 15 years ago, MA frameworks began to require that World Geography be the focus for social studies learning in 6th grade. Hopedale Memorial needed a cost-conscious but effective way to begin meeting standards. Heifer International, a nonprofit organization dedicated to ending hunger and poverty, offered a number of free resources and a highly motivational reading incentive program for educators who wanted to introduce global issues into the classroom.  The school seized an opportunity to merge library media skills, world geography, and current events curricula by building a program around Heifer's resources, especially the Read to Feed program. Now, this globally- focused, project-based learning yields powerful results every year as students apply information from content-based mass media texts to current events and real-life scenarios. The children are changed by this experience and discover how, as 6th graders in Hopedale, they can improve lives all over the world.   

Led by the library media teacher in collaboration with 6th grade staff, students annually participate in a number of activities to gain critical skills:  
  • Research current events (media literacy, including evaluation of sources, recognition of bias in reporting, examination of real-life examples from current media)                  
  • Read to Feed, a reading incentive program that encourages reading while heightening students’ awareness that their actions make a difference in the lives of others. As students read more books, they improve their reading abilities and more families receive gifts of livestock and training. Students set goals and collaboratively choose the best use of funds raised based on previous geography learning.    
  • Create video PSAs about areas of need in the world, Heifer International's work or the issues of hunger and poverty (research skills, writing, presentation skills, use of technology)   
  • Educational presentations including a day-long, hands-on experience at a Heifer Learning Farm and Global Village 
  • Community Reading Day highlighting hunger issues worldwide with professionals from the community (allows students to see the application of their skills within careers)                                                                  
  • Reflective writing before, during and after conclusion of the Read to Feed program    
This presentation will feature sample work created by 6th grade students at Hopedale Memorial.  Laurie Wodin, veteran library media teacher, will share her experience in integrating multiple subject areas and implementing their program. Presenter Kate Sheehan, Community Engagement Manager for Heifer International, Northeast U. S. Region, will be available to share information about Heifer's work and educational resources.


Heifer International

Community Engagement Manager for Heifer International Northeast U. S. Region, Heifer International
Kate Sheehan is the Community Engagement Manager for Heifer International Northeast U. S. Region. She has been on Heifer staff for over 12 years and was previously a Heifer volunteer. Kate has extensive experience of working with educators who are implementing Heifer’s education... Read More →

Laurie Wodin

Library Media Teacher, Venerini Academy
Laurie Wodin was a longtime Library Media Teacher at the elementary, middle and high school levels, mostly in Hopedale, where she taught generations of children. Laurie was a Central MA liaison to the MAEM board (Massachusetts Association of Educational Media) in the late 1980's and... Read More →

Monday May 8, 2017 2:30pm - 3:30pm EDT
Hyannisport East & West 2nd Floor