“I can hear change humming In its loudest, proudest song. I don’t fear change coming, And so I sing along.” -Amanda Gorman, Change Sings
In April, Colorado AcademyLower School classrooms—Pre-K through Fifth Grade—gathered for a Day of Service that included highlighting a book, engaging in classroom discussions about making changes in the world, completing a grade-level service project, and participating in a Peace Parade.
We began the day with each classroom reading the book, Change Sings, by New York Times bestselling author and Presidential inaugural poet, Amanda Gorman.
In the classrooms, teachers facilitated student discussions based on the following questions:
An anthem is an uplifting song that is identified with a group of people. What do you think a children’s anthem might be about? How can change sing?
On the first page, the main character says, “I can hear change humming.” What does “humming” mean, and what do you think she means when she says change can hum?
The main character says that she doesn’t fear change. Why would someone fear change?
In the first few pages, you see a mural of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. What did he stand for? What changes was he fighting for?
What are the different ways the main character creates change? How does it impact those around her?
The main character finds that change is inside of her because she is the change she wants to see in the world around her. What do you think that means? How can you practice being the change you want to see in the world?
The characters in the book appear to come from diverse backgrounds, and each person has their own story. Did you see any characters in the book that you can relate to? How do you relate to them?
How does the main character create unity and a sense of belonging among people who may identify differently from each other? What actions can you take at CA or other places you go to create belonging among everyone?
What do you know, and what can you share about disability and access for all?
The classrooms were full of rich discussions and exchange of ideas. Each student completed a homework assignment to share how they would like to create change. Gorman’s words were an inspiration for our Day of Service in the Lower School, as each grade level selected a community project to support, either inside or outside our school community.
The grade-level projects completed include:
Pre-K: Creating cards for Mi Casa Resource Center
Kindergarten: Painting, planting, and delivering potted flowers across the CA campus
First Grade: Creating blankets for pets at the South Platte Humane Society
Second Grade: Creating Project Angel Heart Bags and thank-you notes for the Operations Team
Third Grade: Creating original poems for the napkin holders in the Dining Hall and leaving poems on the cars of the CA faculty and staff
Fourth Grade: Launching a sports equipment drive for Horizons
Fifth Grade: Creating Project Angel Heart Bags and collecting plastic for Ridwell recyling
Students learned about how they could support various organizations in the Lakewood and Denver community. Throughout the day, students also created “I Stand For…” signs to share their personal messages. The signs showed support for animals, kindness, homelessness, equity, and friendship; and the list goes on and on.
In the afternoon, 400-plus members of our Lower School community gathered to participate in a Peace Parade to share our “I Stand For…” messages and also celebrate Earth Day together.
During the Peace Parade, Student Council served as ambassadors to honor and highlight Earth Day and our collective community service work together. Second Graders and Third Graders also shared two inspirational Earth Day songs with the Lower School.
At the conclusion of the Peace Parade, a student told me, “This was the best day in the Lower School. We were making a difference all day long. My heart feels full, and I did things to help the world.” I could not have agreed more—it was an extraordinary day in our Lower School community. I always think that if we can develop a commitment to service in our youngest students, they will truly be the change we want to see in years to come.