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Learning to Make Every Penny Count

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Grade 7 St. Anne students (left) Brett Thompson and (right) Matthew Boggetto help JK/SK student Kennedy Dixon count their pile of pennies for the Wild at Heart Animal Refuge.

February 7, 2012 - Two teachers at St. Anne Catholic Elementary School decided to join forces. JK/SK teacher Cheryl MacRury and Grade 7 teacher Kathy Belanger decided they wanted to get their students involved in a community action project, and figured they would have more of an impact if they worked together. The teachers applied for a grant with the Canadian Teacher’s Federation and were successful, allowing them the opportunity to bring their project to life. Both classes decided that they wanted to help animals, specifically the Wild at Heart Animal Refuge. The two classes split the grant money and put it towards a different part of the project. The grade seven students decided to purchase digital cameras so that they could document their project and put together multimedia projects to showcase their progress. The JK/SK class decided that they would take some field trips to the shelter itself so that they could learn more about the animals they are hoping to help. In order to get their project started, the classes decided to visit local businesses and organizations in their community, and if allowed, leave donation cans in support of their project. All they were asking for were people’s pennies. Several businesses immediately jumped on board. After the first collection, they very quickly they realized that their penny collection was going to be a great teaching tool for their students. Every few weeks, the students gather together in one classroom and break off into groups of a few grade seven students and one JK/SK student. Each student is then given a pile of pennies that have been collected and the older students guide the younger student in counting out 50 “penny piles”. “Peer learning is such a great teaching tool for our students,” Belanger commented. “The older students become mentors for the young students and each look forward to our meetings as they enjoy learning from each other!” So far, the students have collected and counted over $70 in pennies over the last couple of months.
“Our students are not only learning numeracy, they are also learning literacy, technology, the importance of compassion, community and virtues.” Stated MacRury. The two classes will continue to meet on a regular basis to tally their collections right into June. The Grade 7 students will then have the opportunity to showcase their media presentations to the rest of the school. The group is hoping not only to donate funds to the shelter, but also donate much needed items like food and cleaning supplies.
“The dedication and hard work of our staff is second to none,” Catherine McCullough, Director of Education for the Sudbury Catholic District School Board stated. “These kinds of projects really engage our students, and allow them to see beyond the classroom. These are important life lessons that are a foundation for success in life.”

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