SAFE, Care House benefit from Comer student project
by Mark Ledbetter
B.B. Comer High seventh- and eighth-graders presented canned goods, clothing and toys to The Care House and Sylacauga Alliance for Family Enhancement Friday as a part of a class project.

Emeka Barclay, a seventh- and eighth-grade language arts teacher, and Scott Smith, a seventh-grade civics teacher, teamed up to involve their students in a project based learning project.

Project Based Learning is a teaching tool that incorporates four skills – collaboration, communication, creativity and critical thinking, and requires students to work together to produce a presentation that reflects what they have learned.

“PBL takes major elements in curriculum standards and objectives and use them to answer questions about what they have learned to produce projects,” Barclay said, “and to see relevance of what they have learned and apply it in life.”

Smith’s students took part in the project by producing public service announcements and airing them on local media outlets. Students also were responsible for writing thank you notes, Smith said.

The student-led program featured students welcoming and explaining PBL.

Student Logan Lackey introduced a video capturing students involved in their project. The video showcased the skills employed to produce the project and how they were able to apply the principles they learned in their studies into what the video described as “real life experience” and results.

While responsible for planning the presentation, students also brought canned goods, clothing and toys, and encouraged others to make contributions.

Students named the canned food drive “Tiny Tim’s Kitchen” after the main character in Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol.”

“Anne’s Toy Chest” is taken from Lucy Maud Montgomery’s book “Anne of Green Gables.” Anne Shirley is an orphan and is the central character.

Barclay announced to students, teachers, parents and guests gathered in the school auditorium that over 700 canned goods, over 200 toys and over 200 clothing items were donated.

“This exceeded my expectations,” Barclay said. “This will be a yearly thing. We will contribute to our community every year.”

As student Chance Butts presented the canned goods he said, “No one should have to lay their head down and be hungry.”

On behalf of SAFE, Lecia Whiteside said, “I am so happy to receive these donations. Your gracious giving will help a lot of children in Talladega County.”

Care House representative Lisa Wood thanked the students for their generosity and said, “With your hard work we will start 2013 with full shelves.”

Principal Judson Warlick said he appreciated the hard work of the seventh- and eighth-graders and thanked them for their effort.

After the presentation, Smith said the driving need of the project was to involve students in helping others.

“We wanted them to take ownership of volunteerism by making personal donations,” Smith said, “and trying to persuade others to donate. I believe we accomplished that goal.”

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© 2012