This year is almost at an end, even though some days it still feels like we're stuck in the chaos of March and the beginning of a worldwide pandemic. It's been a challenging year, especially for educators who have continued to support and teach students in spite of the difficulties of remote or hybrid learning.
Teachers—we recognize all that you've done for your students and we thank you!
And that's how we want to end this year, showing gratitude for the people who got us through it. We thought you might feel the same way, so we've compiled some ideas for service projects you can do with your class to end this year on a positive note.
Of course, service projects will look different this year than they have in the past. It's likely that your class isn't together in person. The following five ideas can be done remotely and safely social distanced, but also work if your school has in-person classes.
1. Write thank you letters to other teachers.
Have your students write letters (digital or otherwise) to a teacher that made a difference for them this year. Consider collecting the notes (through email, a drop box, etc.) and delivering them to your fellow educators.
You know exactly how hard all educators around you have worked this year (because you've been working hard too). This act of service will let them know that all their effort was worth it and appreciated by the students they teach.
In writing the letters, your students will recognize how much they have to be grateful for, especially from educators. And, as a teacher, is there anything better than receiving a confirmation that you're truly helping students?
2. Support healthcare workers.
Hold a drive collecting donations to support healthcare workers to thank them for all their sacrifices this year.
You could donate to local healthcare heroes that you know—giving them letters, necessities, but also thoughtful gifts to show them that they're appreciated.
You could also donate supplies to a healthcare organization or to a hospital in your area. There are plenty of options for what your class can contribute. Students can donate surgical masks , bleach, sanitizing wipes, gloves, and hand sanitizer. Consider calling your local hospital to see what supplies they need.
3. Collect presents for a children's hospital.
Consider donating to a children's hospital to bring joy to kids who will be in the hospital for the holidays, especially because many may not be able to have visitors.
Most hospitals have a wish list that you can share with your students. This service project is great for kids because they can buy games, toys, and books for kids close in age to them. They're able to pick something out that they would love to receive themselves, but instead experience the joy of giving to someone in need.
You can find children's hospitals near you using this tool from the Children's Hospital Association.
4. Make cards for the elderly.
The holidays can be lonely for elderly people in retirement homes and assisted living, and the pandemic is making it even harder since visitors are restricted at most of these locations.
Students can write letters or draw pictures depending on their age. Collect the letters in a drop box if students are remote or in your classroom if you're teaching in person. Then drop the cards off and spread some holiday cheer!
5. Play video games for good.
If you're looking for a service project that's more specific to computer science, students can sign up on Extra Life.
According to their website, "Extra Life unites thousands of gamers around the world to play games in support of their local Children’s Miracle Network Hospital."
They have raised over $70 million for sick and injured kids. Your students can sign up to play video games and raise funds for Children's Hospitals COVID - 19 Impact Fund.
No how matter how you decide to serve with your classroom, a service project is a great way to finish out a difficult year on a positive note. Or, you could wait to do one of these projects until January and help your students start 2021 with gratitude and service.