Young Students Build Dog Houses for Homeless Pups
The average fourth grader spends most of his or her time worrying about making friends and doing well in school, but the students at High Tech Elementary of San Diego, California are not your average fourth graders. Rather than spending their free time playing video games or jumping rope, these nine- and ten-year-olds give their free time building dog houses.
Throughout the school year, one fourth grade class at High Tech Elementary will dedicate time to building five dog houses from scratch. Once the dog houses are finished, they will be donated to the San Diego Humane Society where they will be given to low-income families to house their four-legged friends. This project is part of the elementary school’s approach to hands-on learning but it is more than that – it is a chance for students to give back to their community.
The idea came from first year teacher Michelle Jaconette who spent 10 days building a house during a volunteer experience. Jaconette was so moved by the experience that she wanted her students to have the same opportunity to work hard and give back. After asking her students to come up with some ideas, it was decided that animals in need would be the beneficiaries of the project.
As one of Jaconette’s students told ABC 10 News, “Three main things people need is food, water and shelter…. some dogs don’t have shelter”. And shelter is exactly what these students are working to provide for pets in need.
Not only are the children working on practical skills like learning to use power tools, but they are also developing life skills like project planning and teamwork. At the end of the day, these students take pride in what they’ve accomplished and in knowing that all of their hard work will benefit someone in need. By the end of the school year, the dog houses will be ready to donate.
This project is an excellent example of hands-on learning and it is something that more schools should think about implementing. Not only does it give children a chance to learn practical skills that they can use outside of school, but it helps them to develop a sense of pride in their community and an interest in helping others. Perhaps the students of Ms. Jaconette’s fourth grade class will go on to be volunteers and animal advocates, developing and leading their own community projects in the future.
Kate Barrington is the loving owner of two cats (Bagel and Munchkin) and a noisy herd of guinea pigs. Having grown up with golden retrievers, Kate has a great deal of experience with dogs but labels herself a lover of all pets. Having received a Bachelor's degree in English, Kate has combined her love for pets and her passion for writing to create her own freelance writing business, specializing in the pet niche.
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