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Students Rebuild: Paper Cranes for Japan

What it is: As news of Japan’s tsunami and earthquake(s) continues to roll in, students may be feeling overwhelmed by the devastation of it all.  Following natural disaster current events can give students (and adults) a real sense of helplessness.  As adults, we often ease this by donating money or time.  What do students do to make an impact? Today I learned of a truly wonderful site called Students Rebuild from a tweet from my friend @MZimmer557.  Students Rebuild is a site that helps students around the world connect, learn, and take action on critical global issues.  There are a few projects that students can get involved in currently:

1. Haiti- building stronger, permanent schools in Haiti.  This is a call to action for middle and high school students to rebuild strong, permanent schools in Haiti following the 2010 earthquake.  Students and educators create a team to raise money.  Any money raised is matched dollar-for-dollar up to $2,500 per team.

2. Japan-folding cranes to support rebuilding in Sendai.  This is a way for young students to take action.  “Through a simple, powerful gesture of making and mailing in a paper crane, students worldwide are promoting hope, healing, and triggering dollars for reconstruction ($2 for each crane received).”

Students Rebuild gives students the opportunity to connect to a global community, learn about the challenges of a natural disaster, and do something real to make a difference.

In addition to the Rebuild challenges, educators can use Student Rebuild to connect students with others around the world.  The site helps build that global learning community  Interactive video conferencing encourages two-way dialogue and emotional connections.  Webcasts between Haiti and multiple schools around the world engage, and inspire.  (Learn more on the “Educators” page)

How to integrate Students Rebuild into the classroom: Register your class to take part in one of the Students Rebuild activities.  The newest way to take part is through the Paper Cranes for Japan project.  Students Rebuild partnered with DoSomething.org to give students worldwide a way to support their Japanese peers.  Start by watching the video of how to make paper cranes on the Students Rebuild website.  Take a photo and upload it with a message to the Paper Cranes for Japan Facebook Page.  Mail the finished paper cranes to Students Rebuild to turn those cranes into dollars for reconstruction and an art installation.  This would be a great project to take on as a class.  Don’t stop there, encourage your students to make more paper cranes.  They can have a paper crane party, or encourage their families to join in on the paper crane creation.  Download the one-page flier to send home with students.

Using Students Rebuild projects in your classroom is a great way to teach students about our global community, empathy, current events, and give students a way to make a difference.

Tips: Be sure to check out the comprehensive toolkit on the Students Rebuild site.  In the toolkit you will find photos, videos, posters, fact sheets, logos, media coverage, and fundraising tips.

Please leave a comment and share how you are using Students Rebuild in your classroom!

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7 Comments

  1. Thanks for the shout out. As of today (3-30-11), teachers at one school that have been creating paper cranes will have helped raise $500.

  2. One of my Student Council students brought this website in last week, so we had an origami day to participate. I am taking hundreds of cranes to the post office today to mail them in. It was a terrific opportunity to talk about how even small things that we do make a positive difference in others’ lives and how these things connect us to changes that collectively are bigger than any of us can be individually. It was a wonderful values lesson thanks to the communication power of the internet!

  3. Thanks to both of you! My students made cranes today- will blog about it and post a picture later. Amazing day of humility, helping, creating, and excitement.

  4. Kay, I love that! So wonderful to hear about the feelings in your class through the simple act of making cranes. Can’t wait to see the pictures!

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