I Have an Idea: Doing Good When Times Are Hard

“I have an idea!”

The best words to hear from a colleague!

Towards the end of November, Nadine Klowak, one of my same grade colleagues, excitedly said those four words to me, and we hit the ground running.

Anyone teaching through the pandemic knows how important it is to find joy in what we’re doing. That isn’t always easy with the countless restrictions placed upon us and the overwhelming expectations, so tapping into our creativity and perusing our passions is even more important right now… and that is exactly what Nadine was doing!

Nadine has a heart of gold. She is one of the most gentle and caring teachers I know who puts her heart and soul into every single student, every single day. She is positive, encouraging, and so incredibly thoughtful. I am truly blessed to work with her. Her latest idea was to organize a food drive for our school community in order to gather non-perishable food items for Harvest Manitoba (formerly known as Winnipeg Harvest). Given the pandemic that we are in, and that countless people have reduced or no income, it is more important now than ever to give to these organizations who make sure that families have enough food to fill their bellies. Before Nadine even began to explain, I was one million percent in. She cleverly thought of the idea to tie this project into our Health curriculum of the food groups in Canada’s Food Guide, where we would be collecting food for 12 days of school in December. Between our four grade 1 French Immersion classes, we would all take turns creating short videos of clues to share with our school community. These videos would provide three clues about the item we’d be collecting the following day, and practiced basic French vocabulary (colour(s), food group, and another hint). Naturally, the grade 1 students who led this project were adorable in their videos and were so proud of themselves as they knew their voices were being shared far and wide. They also learned about the food groups in a very authentic, meaningful, and beautiful way, and developed their generous and empathetic hearts as they learned about food banks and people in need.

Here is an example of one of the clue videos (see the end of this post for all of the videos):

The excitement reached a whole new level on the last day of school when students got to finally see what all their hard work amounted to. You see, because of the pandemic, students must stay within their cohorts, meaning that students aren’t walking around the school other than in their classroom area. This mean that students hadn’t been in other areas of the school to see how much had been collected, and had certainly not walked by the front doors to see the mountain of boxes full of non-perishable food items for those in need.

Here is the celebration video we shared with them, and our community, on Friday:



That’s how many boxes were full of food as we headed into the Winter Break. And that’s not even counting the boxes at our satellite school at Shamrock School… I’m sure that our total is at over 100 with those boxes!

So, today, I want to celebrate Nadine. My students and I are in awe of all the good that we’ve done all because of those four words. I also want to thank all of the ÉSCS students and their families who so generously participated in this project by watching the videos of clues, and bringing in so much food! Without you, this project would not have been the huge success that it was and because of you, our hearts are full heading into the break.

To anyone reading this, I want to remind you that when you have an idea, please run with it! This project is a huge reason why we got through December… it brought us so much joy, and we know it will bring some much needed joy to those in need, as well.

Happy Holidays!

ps – check out the 12 videos below for more cuteness (and to practice your French :))!

Day 1:

Day 2:

Day 3:

Day 4:

Day 5:

Day 6:

Day 7:

Day 8:

Day 9:

Day 10:

Day 11:

Day 12:

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