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Becoming Change Makers: A Special Guest Post for Angela Maiers … we are HONOURED!

Posted by on March 28, 2012

Q’enqo children outside their future library!

Becoming Change Makers – The Q’enqo Library Project:  Through the Eyes of Grade Three Students

Preface:

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!

Background:

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

Signing Spanish books to donate to Q’enqo Library’s Grand Opening!

“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 inside of the library before the transformation. Some TLC and elbow grease will make a big difference!

“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

“Plooms” (we came up with that term!) Supplies are hard to find and expensive so the Peruvian women use plant brooms!

“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

Sanding and plastering – a community comes together.

“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

The finished mural. A hummingbird is a PERFECT symbol for our Library Project!

“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!

9 Responses to Becoming Change Makers: A Special Guest Post for Angela Maiers … we are HONOURED!

  1. Wally & Caroline

    Hello Grade 3 Bloggers. We have been away for three weeks and are amazed at all that has happened in that time. Your masks turned out so well and the library is looking beautiful. The colors are wonderful and the mural is just the right finishing touch. We can’t wait to see it with all the books!!! You are all ideal examples of caring citizens of this world of ours! Keep up your great work! Wally and Caroline

  2. Laurie Renton

    Aloha, Daytime Grandma and Grandpa! Thank you for your awesome comment! You really make our hearts smile because you take the time to check out our blog! You should check out our latest post because it shows the inauguration of the library in Q’enqo! Some of the pictures show the books that are now on the shelves. Even though there are books on the shelves, and the library is NOW open, we still have more work to do. Our dream is to raise more money to get even MORE books on the shelves. They DESERVE more books. 61 books just ISN’T enough! There needs to be THOUSANDS of books on the shelves in that library! We wonder … have you done something to make a difference in the world? We’ve learned that even just a SMILE can do a lot … it can MAKE someone’s day! The Grade Three Bloggers 🙂

  3. Ashli Akins

    Hi everyone!

    Every time I have a tough day, I remind myself to look at your blog and read all of your excited posts! You inspire me to keep doing what I’m doing, and to keep fighting for what I believe in. Together we are truly making a difference, and I am so grateful to be joined by all of you every step of the way. It makes the journey so much easier, more fun, and more valuable, knowing there are so many people walking alongside me.

    With great appreciation for all of you,
    Ashli

    • Laurie Renton

      Hola, Ashli! Thank you for leaving a comment on our blog … it made us feel FABULOUS to see it and we hope that you will comment ANY time you like! We feel the same way as YOU do … the blog and our journey, and remembering all the things that we have done TOGETHER for Q’enqo bring smiles to OUR faces every day too … even when we are feeling a little sad! When Mrs. Renton saw your comment, she got really teary eyed and goosebumps jumped up on her ARMS! (She wasn’t sad, though … she was THRILLED!) We’ve learned that the more people who help on ANY job, the easier it is! Many hands make light work! You are ONE of a kind … you are a Change Maker … and we LOVE that we are on this journey with YOU and your team from MOSQOY! The Grade Three Bloggers <3

  4. Daytime Grandma & Grandpa

    We loved the new post about the opening of the library – it looks beautiful. You all deserve to be very proud of what you have accomplished! You have asked what we do to make a difference in the world. Before Grandpa retired, he was a director in an international service club. This organization, among other things, sponsors exchange students from other countries and raises money to provide medical care to children in far-away countries. Grandma belongs to a group that fund-raises to provide scholarships to women who want to further their education. We are also great recyclers, as are many of you. We help friends and neighbors with meals, baking, and other needs they might have when they are sick or having problems. We were very impressed with the many things that you do to make a difference. You are all making this world of ours a better place!

    • Laurie Renton

      Greetings, Daytime Grandma and Grandpa! Thank you for your amazing comment! We can tell that you put a LOT of time and thought into it! You have done a LOT of ARKS, (Acts of Random Kindness), for other people. We know a lot of people who are going to university … and we know it costs a FORTUNE! It is good that you are helping people with scholarships! We love that you help your friends and neighbours when they need it … baking and making meals when others are sick or need your help is really helpful and thoughtful! That’s why we think you are SUPREME! Keep checking back … on Sunday, Geneva will be back in Q’enqo … taking pictures and finishing things up in the library. On THURSDAY, we will be Skyping with her to find out all about these finishing touches. On Friday … we will write a BLOG post all about it!!! Mya and Eric (on behalf of the Grade Three Bloggers) 🙂

  5. Ross Mannell

    Hello Global Grade 3,

    I have heard people say, “What difference can I make? Can one or a few people make a real difference in the lives of others?”

    After visiting a number of your posts since you started out, you have shown us what a small group of people can do regardless of how young they might be. Making a difference is not a matter of how many we are, what age, where we live or what language we speak. It’s a matter of attitude. When we approach a task to improve the lives of others, if we are positive and enthusiastic, we can make a difference.

    In the case of your class, you have chosen a global task, the very worthwhile task of supporting a library in Q’enqo, Peru. For others, they can look at making a difference more locally. We might find ways to start small in our quest to be change makers but small steps may lead to great things.

    A favourite quote of mine is attributed to a famous Chinese philosopher named Confucius. He was born over 2500 years ago.

    It’s said he wrote, “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”

    What he was telling us is a journey might seem long and hard but all journeys start when we are willing to take the first step. You have taken more than one step in your journey through life as change makers.

    @RossMannell
    Teacher, NSW, Australia

    • Laurie Renton

      Hi Ross! We LOVE it when you comment on our blog! You are right! We have learned that one step isn’t enough in any journey … and sometimes it feels like your dream will never happen … but … each step gets you closer and closer to the destiny! We’ve talked to a lot of people about how to become change makers … and the thing we LOVE about making change is that, most of the time, it doesn’t even need to cost any money. You are right. It doesn’t matter how BIG or SMALL you are, how RICH or how POOR you are … or EVEN how young or how OLD you are … ANYONE can be a change maker. Some ways that we do this in our CLASSROOM is just by giving a little smile when someone is sad. If someone drops something, like their pencil box, then we help them to pick their things up instead of just staring at them while the clean up by themselves. When someone trips or is hurt, we help them and even offer to go and get an ice pack, or a bandaid if they need one! When people are away, and it is a “chairs up” night so the caretakers can clean our floors, we will help to put their chairs up … without even being ASKED to! Sometimes, when our classmates can’t find things … we SHARE! When it’s the end of the day, and there is a lunchkit left in the lunch bin, we help to remind one another to take it home. We ALL love to volunteer to help when our TEACHER needs something. Q’enqo has taught us SO many lessons about life … we have discovered that we are NOT too small to make change … we’ve made a BIG change when we are SMALL. Check back … there will be a NEW post on FRIDAY! The Grade Three Bloggers 🙂

  6. Colby (Davis,s brother)(6)

    Hi I am Colby.

    I like all of the flags from the counter. It is amazing how much flags you have a bunch. I like the voki because his eye,s folow where you move the mouse. I was shocked about how much you guys rased in the peru book library. About the pictures whould,ent a bilding in moust countrys be shut down because of the look. You guys chaged it a lot. I liked the pantings on the walls. Do you know how painted it? probubly some whone in peru. whaut is that soup made of ? You gyus are really cool.

    with little help from davis ,s typing. But colby said evrything

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