While Alex engages in a photography project with one of the Marias over the next several weeks, I want to support Simon in digging deeper into the concepts of poverty and homelessness, and the possible solution of communal living, which he wrote about in his blog post.
Based on the Eleanor Rigby project (an archived iEARN project), I have developed the following series of lessons for Simon. If you like them, feel free to modify them for use with your own students/children/class. If you have an idea you think I should add, or want to tell me about a Canadian resource we should include, please feel free to comment below or contact me directly.
When we hear the words “homelessness”, what comes to mind? Jot down as 5-7 words you think of when you hear “homeless”.
Next, read this article, about the myths of homelessness.
Now, a quote:
We may be surprised to discover that poverty strikes people of all races, religions and ages. It is important for us to confront the stereotyping that we assign those who find themselves on the street so that we can begin to see these people for the unique individuals they are...each one with a different story of how they became homeless.” (From the ERP)
Collect data about people’s perspectives on homelessness. Use “Surveymonkey” or another free online survey creation tool to make a survey and collect responses from 20 people you know. Try to survey people from a variety of age groups and backgrounds. Here are some questions you might include:
Look at the survey results. What surprises you about people’s responses? What questions do you still have?
Choose one or two of the survey questions, and research the topic on the internet to find some facts and statistics. Be sure you are using reliable sources, and try to read at least 3 articles or websites in order to triangulate your data. Consider using major newspapers, food banks or homeless shelters to gather statistics.
Here are some articles and websites to get you started:
How does the information you collected in Lesson 2 compare with people’s responses on your survey from Lesson 1? Choose TWO ways to share your data. You could create a graph or mind map, or you could write an email to one of your survey respondents to let them know what you found out. Maybe you could create an infographic.
How else might you present your data on homelessness and poverty?
If you had the chance to interview a homeless person, what would you ask him/her? Develop a list of questions you might ask. Consider how you could find this information in a respectful manner. Would it be okay to interview a homeless person on the street? Why or why not? How could you access the information you want to get from your primary source?
Once you’ve found out more, write a blog post about your experience. Begin with an introductory or topic sentence, then include 3-4 of the following sentences:
Now that you know a little more about poverty and homelessness, what are some of the ways you can help? Brainstorm a list of ideas (solutions could be as simple as showing kindness to individuals, or writing a letter to the editor, or choosing a lifestyle that supports better sustainability of resources and does not take advantage of others, or lobbying a local politician about policies impacting the homeless).
From your list, circle 2-3 items that you could realistically accomplish, then do a little more research on how to proceed.
Not sure how to proceed? Need a little inspiration? Here are some interesting articles:
Over the past few weeks, we’ve looked together at homelessness and poverty, and explored some ideas for helping. It’s important to share your learning and reflections, so that others can learn from your experiences. Brainstorm the key points of your experiences and learning, as well as some next steps (the project doesn’t end here… your commitment to helping can continue).
Create a 3-5 slide Explain Everything presentation, or a five-minute iMovie, and post it on your blog. Include myths, data, new things you learned, your feelings, ideas (and why they might or might not work) and thoughts about next steps. Consider the purpose and audience for your presentation. Use colour and images as well as tone of voice (and music, if you want to) to get your point across.