This past season of giving, second graders at Mulvane’s Munson Primary took on a special project.
Each year – typically in December – Munson second grade teacher Hannah Maddy creates a family project to get more than just her students involved. This year, that project was inspired by an idea shared on Facebook and the children’s book, “The Man With the Violin.”
Based on a social experiment published in the “Washington Post,” where world-renowned violinist Joshua Bell was mostly ignored while performing incognito in a busy Washington, D.C. subway station, the lesson of both the book and its subject material was how much gets ignored in the frenetic pace of everyday life.
Working to get students to slow down and think about what they were missing, Maddy presented each of them with a dollar and a simple task – they were not allowed to spend that dollar on themselves.
“They had to stop their business and think for a little bit,” Maddy said. “They needed to find something they could do with that dollar that was going to make a difference for somebody else.”
Before distributing the money among her students back in December, Maddy listed a number of philanthropic efforts (i.e., the Salvation Army, blessing boxes, Angel Tree projects, etc.) with which her class could get involved to practice empathy and global citizenship. A letter also went home describing the project and source material to parents.
Maddy was blown away by the response. Reporting back before Christmas break, her students had turned $19 into $524 donated to the community. Many students gave to some of the efforts discussed, while others used some ingenuity to contribute even more. One student did chores to raise extra funds, one got matching donations from relatives and another sold $250 worth of artwork to family and friends.
Given the lesson of the book behind the family project, Maddy hopes both students and parents alike will take time to slow down and consider positively contributing to those around them moving forward.
“I really hope that this is a project that they will remember for years to come,” Maddy said, “and I really hope that this helps to spark even just a family initiative to help others in the future.”