Friday, August 29, 2014

Everyday Heroes

"Life's most persistent and urgent question is, "What are you doing for others?" ~ Martin Luther King Jr.

What is a hero
Do they wear a uniform? 
Do they save lives? 
Are they well known by everyone?

These are some of the questions we discussed in the last couple of weeks in my 4th grade classroom. Our Heroes reading unit allows us to explore the concept of heroes by reading and learning about heroes of the past as well as everyday heroes. It also gives us the opportunity to realize that heroes can come in many shapes and forms ..... even children like us.

Today that became a reality.

For the last several years, the 4th grade classes have taken our first annual field trip to Meals from the Heartland. It is an event held each August at HyVee Hall in Des Moines, Iowa. The non-profit organization packages meals that are given to the hungry - not only locally but across our country and to countries all over the world.

Hairnets, gloves, and a LOT of smiles = children making a difference

The field trip is a way for us to have a great team-building activity as a class as well as a common experience doing something for others and making a difference in their lives.

You might think that nine year-olds would complain about repeating a task over and over again while standing in one place for two straight hours. But you would be wrong -- I didn't hear a single complaint today. We cheered when completing a full box of bags, had a few little dance breaks while listening to the music overhead, and helped each other by switching tasks or stepping in when someone needed assistance with their task. It was a great learning opportunity and an "ideal classroom" experience.

These were some of the comments I overheard today from my students:

"This is so fun!"

"Why are we only here for two hours? I wish we could stay longer."

"We are helping so many people."

"I want to come back with my family."

"Come on, guys, let's go faster - we can fill more boxes!"

"I'll help you carry the box."

"We are like heroes today."

I wish I could take the smiles, the positive attitudes, and helpful hearts that I witnessed today and bottle them up for those days that we feel less than our best. 

We are so blessed. Sometimes we just need a reminder that we truly can be everyday heroes for others -- even if there are no thank-you's and we never meet the people who receive these meals and consider us heroes.


  1. Love this post, Jen. If only we could bottle up the good stuff. We all have our moments where we doubt ourselves. Thanks for sharing the great things you are doing in your class!

  2. What a great activity Jennifer. Thank you to you, Kendra, and Julie for organizing the activity and showing students what a wonderful thing it is to help others. I received a call from one of the volunteers telling me how proud she was of our students with their behavior and the committed they had for the activity.

  3. What lucky children you have in your room -- and what a beautiful concept to have them experience. Every day we make choices to be a hero or not, and it sounds like you're creating a community of heroes. I wear a red (quite faded) bracelet to remind me on a daily basis to "be someone's hero." This was a gift that accompanied the book One for the Murphys. You may enjoy reading it with your students. Well done, Jen!

  4. What a fabulous experience for your students! You have inspired me to search for a similar experience for my class. Thank you!