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Grade 6: Advocating for Global Causes

Sixth graders, inspired by the book A Long Walk to Water, became advocates for change in the world with an assignment that had them researching, creating solutions, and connecting with other leaders.
A Long Walk to Water tells the story of one man making a big difference for his community in South Sudan. Stemming from this book, students were asked to identify a problem of any scale in the world today that they care about. Teacher Cristina Peña says, “I asked them to research the problem, assess the credibility of their sources, create a solution with action steps, and write a letter to a change-maker who also cares about the same issue. Students had complete freedom of what topic to choose and which angle or position to support, as long as it was backed with credible research.”
They then wrote formal letters to politicians, celebrities with social influence, business owners and heads of organizations advocating for change on topics like animal welfare, gender equality, racial equality, LGBTQ rights, gun control, media bias, minimum wage and homelessness. They also made presentations to their peers.
Science teacher Aaron Murray become involved when Chloe Krueger and Valerie Ramirez approached him about helping rural Ugandans secure safe drinking water. “They had me at ‘Uganda,’” Mr. Murray says. “I worked in Uganda with the US Peace Corps in the late 90s and know the value of easily accessible, clean drinking water that doesn’t have parasites or other pollutants.” These students have decided to raise money toward installing 30 purification units into rural Uganda that can service thousands of vulnerable people. Vivian Leuthold and Caroline Hughes have also started a fundraiser for Water for South Sudan, the organization started by the man in A Long Walk to Water.
“The overarching goal was to teach students part of the process and work that goes into being civically engaged,” says Ms. Peña. Great lesson in global citizenship!

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Graland Country Day School

55 CLERMONT STREET    DENVER, CO 80220    303.399.0390   
Graland Country Day School is a private school in Denver, Colorado, serving students in preschool, kindergarten, elementary, and middle school. Founded in Denver in 1924, Graland incorporates a rich, experiential learning approach in a traditional classroom setting, emphasizing the development of globally and socially conscious leaders who excel academically.