The 4th grade teachers at Randolph Elementary thought that Lou Gehrig, The Luckiest Man Alive was the perfect story to start our school year. Upon arrival, students were chattering about the Ice Bucket Challenge – who had taken it, who had nominated who, whose video was just posted on Facebook, and who had donated money to the cause. We immediately realized it was the perfect way for students to make connections to current events and to encourage them to take part in a record-setting fundraiser that was sweeping across social media.
Over the course of a week, we learned how ALS claimed the life of Lou Gehrig in 1941, and yet decades later as it affects many people throughout the world, we still do not have a cure. We also discovered that this disease has directly affected many families within our 4th grade community.
That really prompted students in Room 115 to want to help out with raising money for a good cause. I told them that this was a challenge to them…not to their parents, as many adults had already taken the challenge and/or donated at home. If they used their OWN money I would match their donations. Our classroom contributions combined with those from Dr. Hendron and Mrs. Russell put us right at $100. Students, you make me proud. In addition, several parents pledged to donate.
Then on Friday, 8 staff members who had been challenged lined up to follow through with their part of the deal. Mrs. Ferguson, Ms. Nikki, Mr. Gardner, Ms. Abbott, Dr. Geyer, Ms. Grady, and Mrs. Russell joined me. We each took our turn thanking family and friends for nominating us (thanks Kristen Martinez and Amie Potter) , and promptly offered up the #icebucketchallenge to several others. Mr. Gardner even nominated his own kids (who were in the audience)!
As you can imagine, the students were thrilled to see us get doused with buckets of ice water on a Friday afternoon. However, as we settled down before heading home, we discussed the importance of something like this challenge. The millions of dollars raised will we used up rapidly. We know that. But a new generation is now aware of ALS, not to mention the fact that there are many other diseases out there without a cure. While I certainly hope that scientists and doctors discover an effective treatment soon, we have students who are now involved in a greater cause…and who might one day become the person who finds the cure.
Check out our first iMovie of the year on Youtube. It shows how we extended our learning beyond the basic Ice Bucket Challenge. From reading about Lou Gehrig’s brave fight, to learning a song in under a week, to holding class discussions about the power of social media…
Throughout the 2014-2015 school year, we plan to continue raising awareness about other things near and dear to us. As Scott Habeeb, one of our presenters at convocation said,
“We are all created to live a story of significance – a story worthy of a movie.”
What role will you play? How can you help to make RES a better place?
What about Goochland? …Virginia? …The world?
We are going to “let our hearts be our compass” throughout this 4th grade journey. We hope to follow them and reach the goals we set as individuals and as a class. And the best part about it all…we are here for each other.
“We’ll never be alone!”
(Thanks for our theme song this year, Lady Antebellum!)
For the full, uncut video (nominations, etc.) click HERE.
For Mrs. EYP’s video response, click HERE.
For our $100 donation, we got this big “THANK YOU!”