Compassion from the Grapevine

Grapvine3_1It never ceases to amaze me just how creative teachers are.  Since I began the Good News Grapevine for DEN members to tell about the unique ways they use unitedstreaming in their classroom, I have had so many creative ideas presented that I just hope I can do them justice.  This one is from Kathy Bunch of Polk County in the North Florida DEN.

Kathy explains that she uses unitedstreaming to introduce the concept of writing booksCbs_news_1  for students in Uganda through the Memory Project.  This caught my eye immediately because I saw a short news story about the Memory Project on CBS news the other night.  Check it out a video clip from CBS for yourself: The Memory Project.  Kathy shows a video on East Africa and Uganda and even uses the PowerPoint from the Memory Project to help the students relate.  She then has her students begin to write books to the students in Uganda.

In this age of data driven school decisions, it is a tribute to honor those teachers who understand how important creativity is in the classroom.  Students will remember these special projects their whole life. Kudos to you, Kathy!

After you watch the video, I believe there is a natural connection between DEN members and the Memory Project.  What do you think?

For Good News contest details, investigate here.

Ubiquitous1_14 As always, I am
Ubiquitously yours,


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  1. Jan Wee said:

    Thank you for sharing this inspirational project and Kathy’s awesome unitedstreaming integration ideas.

    Way to go, Kathy!! And, Karen… for sharing via your DEN Blog.

    Jan Wee, WI DEN Field Manager

  2. fotini guzman said:

    Great project.Thanks for sharing it with all of us. HUGE impact.

  3. Fotini Guzman said:

    I forgot to ask…How do you get in contact with the students in Uganda? If we wanted to start a similar project who do we contact?

  4. Karen Epstein said:

    I love this project and I too would like contact information on how to do this.

  5. Michele Futch said:

    Thanks for the great project and information! It is awesome!

  6. Tiffany Bonner said:

    What an amazing way to motivate kids to write. This definitely emphasizes ‘real world’ and puts purpose behind their work. Knowing that their work is going to somebody else like this makes them take the time to put a little pride behind what they do.

  7. Michele Futch said:

    I didn’t even think about the writing aspect that could go along with the lesson. What a great way to teach across the curriculum! Thanks Tiffany for your excellent idea!!!

  8. Sylvia Vigo-Smith said:

    How inspirational! Thank you for sharing. I will be pen paling electronically with students in New Orleans soon. I think it’s a great idea for students to be aware of people in other regions of the country and world.

  9. Wendy Norton said:

    Wow, what a great project and the impact it is making. Thanks for sharing this idea.

  10. Karen Epstein said:

    As I was reading your post it reminded me of a funding opportunity I read about on the Palm Beach County School District Web site.

    The Pay it Forward foundation offers one time mini grants of up to 500 dollars for projects that embody must contain a “pay it forward” focus – that is, they must be based on the concept of one person doing a favor for others, who in turn do favors for others, with the results growing exponentially – to be considered in the grant making process.

    I can see this project being used in this way promoting global awareness, establishing frendships, and truly bring literacy across the curiculum – heck, literacy across boarders! By using your examples of stories or artwork created by our students – art is a universal language so they could be picture books or students could branch out in forgin language classes and write stories in other languages.

    Then perhapse having students write stores to give to children oversees in any format; then those students in turn writing stories back and giving them to other students who inturn right stories or maybe even add to them and continue the chain.

    It was just a thought that pop up! If anyone is interested in the applicated the deadline is October 15th the app can be found at

    There are many other foundations that will provide funding for projects like these especially when they are established. Our Palm Beach County School District Web Site had a grant section if anyone else is interested in the wonderful world of grant writing:

  11. Karen Seddon said:

    I love the Pay It Forward Foundation! In fact, I have a powerful Pay It Forward lesson that I teach students to make an IMPACT in their world. And, of course, I use unitedstreaming videos with it! I’ve actually taught it to students as small as Kindergarten and up to community college. Just let me know if you want me info.

  12. Debbie Bohanan said:

    What a great idea. It reminds me of Pay It Forward. These students are doing such a wonderful thing for students they have never even met! I’m sure this activity will inspire them to learn something about the country where their subject lives. What a great way to connect it to Discovery Atlas. I think it would be great if we could have a collection of photographs that match the region airing on Discovery Atlas. What a great way to enhance what they are seeing in the series and give them a personal connection to the people in those countries.


  13. Debbie Bohanan said:

    OK, so you should read all the blogs before responding. It looks like I am not the only one who was reminded of Pay It Forward. Great minds definitely think alike.


  14. Michele Futch said:

    Thanks for the “Pay It Forward” Info. I have not heard of that foundation/grant before. I will definitely check into it.

  15. Danielle Abernethy said:

    That’s the wonderful part about the DEN Michele – we learn from each other all these wonderful things that are out there. :-). Keep learning.

  16. Debra Gastelum said:

    Very cool project! Sometimes I think if more teachers understood that it’s an activity like this that truly helps our students learn, we would see a lot more creative projects in schools.

  17. Kathy Bunch said:

    Wow all the great blogs!! I will try to answer all the questions and add some more!
    1st to get in on this wonderful project email: He even sent us an update that Uganda is working with the Lord’s Resistance Army for a peace deal. They will still need books as well as other countries!
    2nd: I didn’t think to mention that the students create their books first by writing with a partner in a notebook, next they write about 10 pages (4 – 6 sentences per page) and share with a partner group. Their final edit is actually to start typing it in the computer and adding clip art to illustrate the book. I wanted them to learn computer skills as well as writing so it was one step at a time! I’m glad you liked this project, it’s dear to my heart!

  18. Kathy Bunch said:

    I am checking out the Pay it Forward sight right away. Unfortunately Ben has gotten so many books and no corporate sponsors that we have to pay $30 to send in the books now. I was at a loss as to how to get that sponsored. I am going to apply for a grant to help! Thank you so much!!!

  19. Cheryl Woolwine said:

    I really enjoy hearing about the wonderful experineces going on in education throughout our state. Especially since you hear so much negative about education and how below the national standared we are – they aren’t measuring the right thing in my book. Keep up the good work!

  20. Debbie Bohanan said:

    This would also be a great project to do for students in our local children’s homes and orphanages(sp?).

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