Guest Blogger: Pat Genovese of Notre Dame Academy Elementary

My name is Pat Genovese and I am a teacher at Notre Dame Academy Elementary. I am thrilled to be a able to share my experiences from this past week. In the past, my 2nd Grade students have participated in Habitat for Humanity's Act! Speak! Build! Week and it was always an incredible learning experience on many levels.

This year, back in a Kindergarten class, I strongly felt that it was important for my students to understand that our responsibility, as citizens, is to help those in need. We began with the book, Everyone Needs a Safe Place to Live, and focused on the importance of caring and respecting all people in our world. Our word of the week was 'adequate' and we explored what adequate housing signifies. Our poem of the week was titled, 'Home'. The students watched a Habitat video to see examples of substandard housing and the work of volunteers as they built a new home. In cooperative groups, students decorated t-shirts and hung them on a clothesline to communicate the need for adequate housing. They wrote individual poems about the significance of a safe home; made cards for new homeowners, played Habitat Bingo; used coins to purchase Habitat "building supplies"; wrote letters to our president and senators; and made a house with their bodies. Students' advocacy efforts included spreading the word within their families. 

Throughout the week, the kindergartners learned the importance of serving others and acting cooperatively to end poverty housing. They recognized the right to decent housing for all people and realized that even though they are children, they can still make a difference in the world.

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