ROXBURY, NJ (January 10, 2020) – During this season of giving, third-grade teacher Alyssa Bellardino at Nixon Elementary School in Roxbury Township came up with an idea to tie her students persuasive writing into their social emotional learning about giving back and helping others.
Bellardino challenged her students to research and write a persuasive argument on a charity of their choice which they had to present to the class. Students had to inform their peers about the charity they chose and provide an argument as to why people should support these organizations.
Her 21 students read their research and stated their arguments the Friday before winter break decked out in pajamas and holiday attire. The students listened attentively to one another as each presented using their teacher voices to project to the whole class what they had learned and even shared some statements to persuade you further like a shout out of “SAVE THE TURTLES!” by Jonathan Rivera who presented on Turtle Island Restoration Network. Juliana Hernandez also read her argument to the class on this charity.
Other students brought the charities of their choice closer to home with personal stories and anecdotes like Mason Hansen who presented on the National Autism Association who shared with his classmates that his uncle was autistic and how a foundation like this could benefit others like him. Mackenzie Giacomara selected the Junior Diabetes Research Foundation and shared how her uncle passed away from the disease and how this organization is working to help educate others.
A handful of the students selected charities that gave a voice to those that couldn’t speak like animals. Mackenzie Johnston talked about the Humane Society of the United States, Mackenzie Mylan covered the World Wildlife Fund, Carissa Wilson spoke passionately about the ASPCA, while Rhiley Stevens Hopkins tried to persuade her classmates to support St. Hubert’s where her brother with special needs was able to get a dog to help support him.
Other students selected the same or similar charities. Christopher Cegielnik, Nicholas Pierri, and Sofia Malone all selected the Make-a-Wish foundation while Trace Bourgeois and Avery Ramoo chose St. Jude’s.
Charities also shared included the Wildlife Conservation Society, the Woodlands Wildlife Refuge, the Foundation for Morristown Medical Center, Samaritan’s Purse, Alex’s Lemonade Stand, Unicef, and Locks of Love.
At the conclusion of the presentations, Bellardino shared, “I’m so proud of you! I know how long of a process this was and you learned that we have to revise, edit, publish, and all of those things, so it did take a long time and I know you spent a lot of time on it, so I’m proud of you. You know that it is something that’s important to me if its important to you, so I will be donating $1 to your charities this holiday season to show you that even though its only a $1 its going to make a huge difference in the lives of someone or something, like an animal.”
Assistant Superintendent Dr. Chuck Seipp was also present for a few presentations and after Ms. Bellardino’s announcement he added, “I just want to make sure you all understand what Ms. Bellardino just told you. What you did to research and talk about your charity was so well done that she’s going to make a donation on your behalf to your organization. Isn’t that awesome! That’s really special but, I’m going to tell you I didn’t hear every bodies but Ms. Bellardino shared some of the others with me. I thought the one’s I heard were so awesome, I’m also going to donate with Ms. Bellardino to all of your charities.”
With that the children erupted with applause and cheers until Dr. Seipp said, “But wait there’s more…”
Principal Danielle Lynch then chimed in saying, “So like Dr. Seipp, I didn’t get to hear all of your persuasive essays but I will say Ms. B was talking to me yesterday about them and the ones I heard today totally convinced me too to donate as well.”
Student cheers and applause sounded once more!
Donations were sent out on behalf of each student over winter break, just in time for the holidays! And in addition to Ms. B’s, Dr. Seipp’s, and Principal Lynch’s donations, Ms. B’s own parents made a donation along with many of her kiddos parents, so what started with a persuasive speech turned out helping numerous charities that are near and dear to the hearts of Ms. B’s class.
PHOTO ATTACHED (courtesy of Roxbury Schools)
· Ms. Bellardino with her class
· Mackenzie Johnston reads her essay
· Trace Bourgeois shares about St. Jude's
· Mackenzie Mylan talks about the WWF
· Dr. Seipp and Ms. B’s class listens to Ziad Mohamed on Unicef
· Mason Hansen on National Autism Association
· Rhiley Stevens Hopkins on St. Hubert’s
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