Becoming Change Makers – The Q’enqo Library Project: Through the Eyes of Grade Three Students
The Global Grade 3s of Calgary, Canada have been blogging for almost two months now. Their blog focuses on connecting globally to share their learning experiences and what it means to be eight and nine year old Change Makers. The journey they share revolves around their Global Citizenship initiative: reconstructing a school library and putting books on the shelves in the forgotten rural village of Q’enqo, Peru. What follows are highlights of this story through their eyes! It is a privilege and honour for all of us to be sharing our global adventure with Angela Maiers and her readers!
Last year’s 2010-2011 Grade 3s connected via Skype with a fellow teacher and his children who were travelling in Peru. The conversation sparked a call to action in our students. They became driven to make a difference in the lives of the Q’enqo students. “Kids helping kids! Now that is what personalized learning is all about.” To support our students’ fundraising plans we partnered with Mosqoy, “a Canadian charitable organization working to bridge cross-cultural gaps between North American and Peru”. Originally our students intended to raise money for sports equipment for the Q’enqo school but they soon discovered school had far greater needs. Our students decided the people of Q’enqo and the organizations that support them should decide where to direct the funds. In May 2011 our students learned their fundraising efforts would support the creation of a school library in Q’enqo. The project had be abandoned years prior, but the involvement of these passionate Grade 3s meant a building could be renovated, shelves built, materials transported, and books purchased.
The 2011-2012 group of Grade 3s embraced the project from where it left off in June and they have dedicated this year to nurturing and expanding the partnership with Q’enqo.
“We are two of the Grade Three Bloggers, and our class is helping to build a library in Q’enqo, Peru! So, we decided to make a BLOG about the library project! Do you know our teachers BEGGED for a blog … and … they GOT it! Oh, and did you know it is the FIRST … the very FIRST classroom blog in the whole CBE, (Calgary Board of Education)?!? And, we found out in the middle of January. When we found out our teachers had to peel us off the CEILING!!! On a blog, people all over the world can comment and read our writing! It seems boring, but it isn’t! (It is LOTS of writing … but what is COOL is that it is a REAL audience and we get to connect with REAL people all OVER the world! It is SO exciting!) Someone special commented on our blog … and that someone was ANGELA Maiers! We learn from the commenters … and another one is Ross Mannell! He lives in Australia!” ~Larissa & Sophie G.
“Our class has a blog! It’s special because we are the only class blog in all of the Calgary Board of Education!!! Some of our posts talk about the future library in Q’enqo, Peru. Q’enqo is a little village in the mountain region of Peru. The Q’enqo library was started years ago, but they ran out of money. The fund-raising in our school started last year, with the Grade 3s that are now in Grade Four. They did a fund-raiser called “Caps for Q’enqo” and people were allowed to bring a loonie, (one dollar) to wear a hat INSIDE the school, unlike other days where it is against the rules! This year’s fund-raiser was called True Colours. But, that’s not the ONLY fund-raiser … there was also Pajama Day! That was FUN!” ~Ava
“Hi! We are some of the Grade Three Bloggers and we are here to tell you about our AWESOME journey with the Library Project in Q’enqo, Peru! We do lots of Skyping with Ashli and Geneva (they are with Mosqoy and helping us with the library project). Ashli told us that when she was with her crew in Q’enqo, and she was working, the kids were watching as the library was being cleaned, repaired, painted and reconstructed. They were amazed at what the adults were doing. Some of the kids even helped! Geneva told us, the other day when we Skyped with her, that they painted the inside of the building with a gray ceiling, the inside walls purple, the outside walls light purple and dark blue, and the doors dark blue! One of the Mosqoy students is an artist and he painted a beautiful hummingbird on the outside of the future library. For lunch, they ate bread and potato soup that the lovely mothers of Q’enqo cooked for them to show their gratitude. We feel so proud because we helped build the community of Q’enqo a library!” ~Mya & Kaylee
“Can you believe that eight and nine year olds can help build a library across the GLOBE? If you haven’t heard about this … now you have, because we ARE! We’ve been fund-raising and we have raised a TON of money for the library project. When we had our fund-raiser, the whole SCHOOL came together to help us raise over $1 200! We even had a little fund-raiser of our own where everyone brought in 25 cents. Some people even snuck in some more. Like me … I put twenty dollars in because I really, REALLY want them to have books to read!” ~Martin
“I learned so many Peruvian facts that I’ve never even HEARD of by writing the blog! It made me want to HELP Q’enqo, Peru build the beautiful library, (which, in case you’re wondering, is not quite finished – we will be writing ANOTHER post SOON to share all about the Grand Opening! Make sure you CHECK back!) One time, in Battalion Park School, we had a Spirit Day where we got to wear our TRUE COLOURS! I felt REALLY excited about this superb, fantastic news about the library in Peru! We also wanted to add some books to the library when it’s finished, so Mrs. Renton went out and got some that were in SPANISH, (ESPANOL)! Also, we had a TON of Peruvian guest speakers, (Mary Carmen, Tim Kitchen with Ben and Ella, etc.)” ~Galen
“The other day the Grade 3s had a fundraiser called “Show Your True Colours for Q’enqo”. We asked the whole school to wear their Hawk colours. We also asked them to donate a toonie ($2.00) or more because we are helping Mosqoy to build a library in Q’enqo, Peru. It makes me feel proud that we are doing this because everyone should have books. Books are important because they help us to read and to be better learners.” ~Rijul
“I learned that if we all work together our blog can teach a lot of people around the world about how to be Change Makers like us! Our teachers had so many tears in their eyes!!! We raised this money because we know that people in Q’enqo, Peru are SO grateful for what we did for them to help their kids. They had to put in windows and fix a hole in the floor to help fix the building that would be the library. How amazing!” ~Alexia
“You asked us to tell you more interesting details about our journey…so I am going to tell you about our Skypes! The first Skype we ever had (in a class) was with our fellow friend Ashli. In that Skype Ashli told us about what they needed to finish the library project, the different colours they will paint the library and who could forget … her helping business … Mosqoy. She also told us a lot about the economy. Things are a lot cheaper in Peru compared to Canada. Can you believe a class of 23 students are building a library in a country across the world? You know what? I think being a change maker is fun! Do you think it’s fun as well?” ~Natasha
“We feel we have made a difference in the world. We donated money because Peru does not get a lot of attention. The money we raised is going towards: repairs, paint, new windows, tables, chairs, shelves and books. We can’t wait to see the smiles on the children’s faces!” ~Tormod & Zack
“After lunch they painted the library purple with bright blue doors. Soon they will add the furniture and don’t forget, lots of books! Geneva told us that last weekend, they were putting in the furniture and shelving. She found some books in a market in Cusco, and they will put those on the shelves in the new library as well. March 5th was the first day of school for the kids in Q’enqo. In the afternoon, they held a Grand Opening to celebrate the new library that Battalion Park Grade 3s have helped to build. We are excited to Skype with Geneva on Wednesday, March 7th, to hear all about how the library opening went!” ~Jesse & Eric
“When we first saw the building that was going to be the library in Q’enqo we felt sad because it was muddy, broken and old. The walls were banged up and there were no lights. Now because of our help and their work we are really happy! It looks extremely magnificent. The library has colours, lights, new windows and smooth walls. A student from Mosqoy offered to paint a mural on the outside of the library. He chose a hummingbird, “Qente” in Quechua (the language spoken in Q’enqo). We learned that hummingbirds fly from Victoria, Canada to Peru when they migrate. It shows the connection between Canada and Peru. We were amazed when we saw his beautiful surprise artwork.” ~Julia & Zahra
“Did you know that you don’t have to be a BIG change maker? You can just be a small change maker. You can even be generous to other people like helping others without being told to. Also, you can share with other people. For example, if someone forgot their lunch kit, you can always share your food, or you can help your Moms do their chores!” ~Thalia
“One way to be a change maker is to help people and that is what the Grade 3s in our school are doing. Another way to be a change maker is by making the world a better place. I feel VERY proud when I see what the library looks like because I helped build it!” ~Damian and Brenden
“I am going to teach you how to make yourself into a GREAT change maker! Step One: Add belief and make a promise to yourself that you will NOT give UP! Step Two: Connect to the world and try to set a goal for yourself!” ~Sophie H.
Thank you, Angela, for giving us this amazing opportunity to share the inspiring journey of our Grade Three students making a difference across the globe! The blog has been an amazing way for them to share their learning, but, through the interactions with a global audience, and writing for an authentic audience, the learning has gone far beyond anything we could have ever imagined! Thanks so much for helping us to reinforce to our students the reality, the spirit, the importance, and the power of #youmatter!