Lower School “Kids CAN Help” Project Brings Service Learning to the Classroom

In this season of giving, GSB Lower Schoolers brought service learning inside the classroom by the tenfold.

Kids CAN Help is an annual Gill tradition that first began over 20 years ago as a way for First Grade students to practice their math skills and count by tens. Since then, the project has evolved into a full Lower School initiative that ties in arithmetic, geometry, language arts, and the school’s service learning program while showing students how good deeds and hard work can have a profound impact on those around them.

“It’s such a simple thing – collecting cans,” said GSB First Grade Teacher, Anne Wilson. “But it is so much deeper than that. It’s great to see how First Graders make everything so big – they truly love every aspect of the project – from unpacking, to building, to the impact that it has on families in need. They’re so attuned to seeing beyond themselves and how their actions can make a real difference in the world.”

Mrs. Wilson’s class once again led this year’s project as they organized the canned food collection across the Lower School. Thanks to the generosity of GSB families, the students amassed 756 cans which they then sorted, counted, and stacked into pyramids of 10 in the Cox hallway. While students practiced their counting skills and arranged the cans into different geometric shapes, Mrs. Wilson also introduced graphing concepts to show her class how numbers can be visually represented in different ways and how to write those numbers out as words. By the end of the project, the Cox hallway was so colorfully adorned with pyramids and bar graphs that Ms. Adriana Silver’s 3rd Grade Spanish Class asked to get involved and to translate the numbers into Spanish.

At the completion of the project, the cans will be donated to the Chester Mendham Food Pantry.

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