Helping a Great Cause

When I was invited to visit Oldmans Township School in New Jersey in December 2018, they asked me to talk to their 6th and 7th-grade students about persuasive writing and specifically about the research process for gathering information to support their points of view. I asked if they were studying about anything in particular and learned that they were interested in petitioning to do away with plastic straws in the school cafeteria.

With that in mind, I gathered some interesting facts and stories about plastic straws to share with the students. I talked with them about how to go about finding sources of information when researching a topic and some tips to help determine if a source is reliable. We talked about what to do in cases where there are conflicting facts. The students were highly engaged, and I could tell they were passionate about their topic.

I found out later that the students followed through and did indeed get the school to do away with plastic straws. But that’s not all! That was just one component of the students’ Go Green! campaign. Students also launched a campaign to recycle milk cartons from the cafeteria. They went before the school board with their proposal and gained their approval.

Earliest this year, Artistic Hands Productions produced a video describing the students’ efforts to help the Oldmans Township School “Go Green.” The 9-minute video interviews several students and does a great job of describing the process the students went through to present their findings and recommendations to their principal and the school board. I was also delighted that the students had credited me with helping them “find credible research to support our persuasive essays that then helped us create something we presented to the board.”

Thanks for the shout-out! I am pleased to have contributed in some small way to the campaign’s success. Furthermore, seeing these students get passionate about a project such as this and see it through to fruition gives me faith in the future of our nation—and the world. See the video here.

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