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By Andi Bourne

A Lesson in Giving and Sharing


Nathan Bourne, Pathfinder

The Seeley Lake Elementary kindergarteners holding up 60 pairs of new socks that they donated to the Seeley Swan Community Food Bank. They raised $115 to purchase the socks by selling popcorn. Pictured with the kindergarteners is their teacher Sheila Devins (front left), Food Bank Secretary Sheree Hill (back left) and Food Bank President Karen Montgomery (right).

SEELEY LAKE – The Seeley Lake Elementary kindergarteners donated more than 100 pairs of socks to the Seeley Swan Food Bank Dec. 20. The project that came to life in less than a day, taught the students about giving, sharing and was a blessing to those less fortunate in Seeley Lake.

The class project was a part of the International Baccalaureate (IB) program.

"With IB we try to have real engaging projects that engage the students as thinkers," said Kindergarten teacher Sheila Devins. "Instead of them just [regurgitating] facts, we are trying to teach them how to think through this inquiry-based system and show them how they can affect their quality of life."

The class studied the day and night and how the earth's tilt causes the seasons. The discussion turned to dressing appropriately for winter including wearing hats and gloves to stay warm.

"The other thing is not everyone has these things [hats, mittens and warm clothing]," Devins told her class. "Let's honor the fact that we have them and let's stay warm because not everyone has these things. In fact not everyone has socks."

The students could not believe that not everyone has socks. They were willing to bring socks from home and they wanted to buy socks for those that didn't have them.

They suggested asking the bank to buy socks because the bank has a lot of money. Some volunteered their parents, who also have a lot of money.

Through discussion about what was reasonable for the class and guidance and suggestions from Devins, the students decided they wanted to sell their extra toys to raise money to purchase socks.

"Their idea of bringing in small toys, with their parents' permission, was the best. I just couldn't organize something that stimulating in five days," said Devins.

Devins suggested they sell bags of popcorn and all work together. The conversation that started Thursday, Dec. 15 turned into action when the students sold popcorn on Friday.

They sold 50 bags for $1 per bag on Friday and sold 60 more bags on Monday. There were 10 bags of popcorn per tray making it easy for the students to count how many they sold. With extra donations, they raised $115 to purchase socks.

Andi Bourne, Pathfinder

The kindergarteners practice counting how many bags they had sold and how many they had left. The bags were organized on trays in groups of 10 so they were easy to count. They sold 50 bags on Friday and 60 bags on Monday.

Devins asked the students to think about how they would give the socks to those who need them. She presented the idea that those who can't afford to purchase food, don't have enough money to buy socks. She suggested they give the socks to the local food bank.

Tuesday, Dec. 20 the class donated 69 pairs of socks to the food bank.

Food Bank secretary Sheree Hill said Tuesday a lot of the people that visited the food bank took the socks. They still have socks left and will hand them out again after Christmas.

"It was awesome," said Hill. "All those 22 children in the hall holding up their socks. As they went out they laid their socks on the desk. Sheila told us their name and Karen and I thanked them. People were very grateful."

Food Bank President Karen Montgomery commended Devins and the students. She thought the whole project was such a powerful lesson in giving and sharing.

"They were so proud to bring in their socks," said Montgomery. "It amazed me that these little kids would care so much."


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