Little Hands Help the Homeless

Overview What's it like to be homeless? How can children help? Many inner city schools like Boston's Josiah Quincy are near homeless shelters that may intimidate young children. When they understand the world around them, youngsters discover they can make a difference in that world. Throughout the year, students learn what it's like to be homeless, why people become homeless, and realize that even some working folk are homeless. They share this information with their younger buddies and read them stories about homelessness. A successful toy and clothing drive and a Pennies for Pine Street Inn campaign empowers both organizers & contributors. By spring, students and their reading buddies hold a clothes race to demystify homelessness for the school community.

Classroom Activities
Community Activities
Career Activities
Review reading aloud hints.
Prepare to meet with first grade reading buddies.
Define home & its attributes. Contrast with homelessness.
Discuss homeless people encountered near home & school.
Read books.
Research myths & facts about homelessness.
Brainstorm ways to make a difference.
Decide on a schoolwide clothing & toy drive.
Organize & advertise drive.
Prepare presentations for classroom visits.
Locate local homeless shelters on neighborhood map.
Brainstorm games about homeless issues for schoolwide learning festival.
Decide on a clothes race & prepare rules & props.
Schedule weekly meeting with first grade reading buddies.
Share reading strategies with buddies.
Read & discuss homeless stories with buddies.
Include reading buddies in drive & campaign.
Visit classrooms & present reasons for drive.
Sort, pack & deliver clothing to local shelter.
Collect Pennies for Pine Street.
Estimate donations, count & deliver to inn.
Hold clothes race during schoolwide Earth Day learning festival.
Send letters reflecting on homelessness to parents & local newspapers.
Discuss with teacher the rewards & challenges of teaching.
Visit school community center & listen to a social worker address homelessness.
Ask social worker how kids can support homeless people.
Learn of a local family that lost its home in a fire.
Invite one family member to the classroom & hear how disasters affect working families.
Discuss how local agencies & organizations help the homeless.
Research ways community leaders & elected officials can advocate for the rights of homeless people.
Research how technology & education programs provide opportunities for homeless people to regain their dignity & place in society.

Learning Standards English Language Arts

Use various formats and technology to complete and enhance work.
Understand and use the writing process effectively.
Understand and express different points of view.
Make effective presentations.
Connect reading with own and others' experiences.

Learning Standards Math

Collect, organize & describe data.
Construct, read and interpret data.

Learning Standards Social Studies

Engage in historical and social issues analysis and decision making.
Incorporate multiple cause in analyses and explanations of contemporary questions.
Make connections between past and present.

School to Career Competencies

Engage in Communication & Literacy Skills.
Use Technology.
Complete Entire Activities.
Interact with Others.
Respect Diversity.
Recognize Health and Safety Issues.
Teach and Learn on an ongoing basis.

Assessment Hold periodic conferences to evaluate students involvement and participation in toy and clothing drive and pennies campaign. Design pre-post survey on myths about the homeless. Hold oral and written quizzes on reading comprehension of books about homelessness. Observe and discuss feedback on assigned roles at learning festival's clothing race.

Software or Materials Used For software Kid Pics, Microsoft Office, Adobe Photo Deluxe; for documentation: digital camera; for posters & clothes race: art supplies, cartons, discarded clothing, cones; for books on homelessness see list.

Web Sites List on Web Sites for Little Hands Help the Homeless

Keywords Buddy Reading, Homeless People, Homelessness, Mentoring, Shelters, Shared Reading, Soup Kitchens, Street People

Final Words Little Hands Help the Homeless works at any level. As hands and hearts grow, the scope and breadth of activities should widen. Starting with the youngest prepares older children to take on more responsibilities and address the root causes of homelessness.

Teacher Tip Schedule a toy and clothing drive before or after holidays or early in the spring when families are cleaning. Make sure you practice the clothes race with your class before staging it for a big event. It's worthwhile but takes organization. Start small.

E-mail contact Jennifer Rosher

Teacher Bio Jennifer Rosher teaches second grade at the Josiah Quincy School where she would happily stay for the rest of her career. She graduated Summa cum Laude as well as a Golden Key National Honor Society Member from the University of Massachusetts Boston and recently finished a master's in education at that university. Jennifer's ten-year experience in her community's South Boston Neighborhood House gave her an excellent background in social issues. Her goal is to help children see their connection to the world around them. This will help them realize they can make a difference now as students and later as community activists.

Subject Areas All

Grade Levels Grade 2 students read to Grade 1 students

Students Inclusive

Return To Index Page