A Lot to Give

For the next two weeks, my students have set up a business running a lemonade stand/bake sale. They’ve been wanting to run a business all year after our encounters and problems with some grade 10 business studies students. My grade 5 students want to give all of their profits to a charity called, Charity Water.  When they worked for the grade 10 students, they also wanted to give money to charity, but the business studies students said no. So, they decided to run their own business. Charity Water is a charity our school supports that helps develop water projects in developing parts of the world. It’s all come full circle and related to our earlier protest (already blogged)  against students at our school selling bottled water.

IMG_5330So, for the business, lemonade and a few baked treats were the winners of the class vote. I wanted to let the students run the business as much as possible. But, it’s the end of the year and the students are moving into that scattered pre-teen/teen phase, so they’ve needed a little bit of guidance. Last week, I left them in the room for 15 minutes to work out jobs for everyone. I left them a chart on the board. When I came back, they were all on their computers and the chart was, well, partially filled out. I called them all back together to take a look, and suddenly they were firing with ideas and volunteering. I didn’t do much. Just pointed it out. They need me in the room, still, I realize.

Today was the first day of the sale. Students had brought in lemons, sugar, cups and a few baked items. We spent a 1/2 hour squeezing lemons, which was really fun. We talked about volume and fractions all within the course of measuring out lemon juice and sugar water. Meanwhile, the boys in charge of the money part of the business, were making spreadsheets on Google Drive with columns for items purchased and profit. Others were making signs and a menu of items.

The sale was a success. In 1/2 hour, the students sold out of everything and easily could have provided students with more. When the money was counted and ingredients paid for, students had made 6350 yen or about $63 US dollars. Amazing. We had watched Alex’s Lemonade Stand earlier and saw the power of simply selling lemonade. The students plan to sell 3 more days, and they’re buying more lemons. A parent is donating lemons, so they’ll have more profit, more to give. After reflections, they have some better ideas of how they can serve up lemonade quickly, keep the line organized and keep their customers happy.

I don’t advocate for bake sales or lemonade stands all the time, but there’s obviously a demand, and it’s an easy way for kids to make money to help out someone. This year, we’ve talked a lot about action and have done what we can. As grade 5 students, they have protested against water bottle sales, worked with buddies at school, educated people through conversation about issues in the world, given money to Kiva.org and now are donating profits from lemonade to Charity Water. I read a great graduation speech where the speaker’s advice for the students were just 3 things:

  1. Give
  2. Receive
  3. Dance

Today, I tried to do all 3 with my students (we danced to a Bollywood video as part of a student’s project). It feels good. I have had a lot of conversations with students about our power to give. We watched a documentary today where it talked about a man making $2/day fishing. We looked at how much we made at the bake sale. It’s eye opening. We have the power to give. All students have the power to give. Give, receive and dance.

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