Service and Sacrifice

We're doing a service learning project. It's where you learn through serving. That sounds nice, right? It's really nice. It's a big deal. We have to do this big ol project on it to present to the community in the Spring and everything. It's big and ol.

My project involved garbage clean up. It sounds dumb but it's cooler than you'd think. I don't want to explain it all right now because I swear I have to explain it every day and I'm tired of doing that. But a very essential and basic component of this project involves, well... garbage clean up. Which is what we're doing. We cleaned up garbage one day. We were SUPPOSED to because we had an assignment to do that. Each grade has the responsibility to clean up garbage at some point in the school year. Or a few points in the school year.

A few months ago we did that. We cleaned up garbage around the school. And then we split it by area of the school and counted it. And then we threw it away, and graphed the garbage by areas. It was pretty gross but it was full of learning and stench, the two major components of school!

As a class, we thought it would be productive to create posters to put up around the school, 
displaying the garbage we collected with a little "Keep the school clean!" message. The posters were put up the week before our school ribbon cutting ceremony where there were lots of moms and dads and dignitaries and people who just wanted the free ice cream that was at the event. A lot of people were going to see the posters, so I emphasized that they needed to take their time and do their best hand writing.

They were doing this as small groups. My mentor knew there was going to be some fuss over this. Kids love writing on big paper and all of them would want to do it. I made sure to tell students that it was important for them to choose the person who had the best hand writing to do this. To be unselfish. To make the best decision for the group in who should write.

This proved to be difficult.

The students had the brilliant idea to each write a sample to show what their hand writing looked like, and then compare. Of course they all thought they had the best hand writing. And how are you supposed to tell a student that their hand writing is terrible and someone else has better hand writing... how are you supposed to do that? So I didn't do that. I told them they all looked beautiful and they would have to work together as a team to decide what to do.

Many teams decided to rock paper scissors it out. I'm pretty sure that method could solve some major world problems. One team ended up with a certain little boy as the team writer.

"That's awesome! Ok so now get the pen, and you're going to write..."
"You're going to write on the board..."
"I'm going to write on the board?"
"Yes. You are going to write on your poster paper right now! Remember, you just won. You get to write. Remember to use your best hand writing!"
"Mrs. Becar, I don't want to do that!"
"Why not?"
"I don't think my hand writing is very good...."

And there it was. That's deep somehow. There's some lesson to learn from that. That it's important to sacrifice your wants for the greater good sometimes. Or something. 

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