It was a sweet moment for Lawton Elementary School fourth-graders in Teri Fraley’s class: Collecting 110 pounds of candy from Halloween trick-or-treaters and benefiting the troops overseas proved to be a double treat.
Earlier this month, students packaged candy into one-pound bags, wrote letters and drew pictures for military personnel serving overseas. Fraley said she got the idea from watching a segment on Good Morning America, where dentists from around the country were paying children to bring in their candy and then were shipping the candy overseas.
“We thought this would put a smile on someone’s face, during a difficult time away on duty,” Fraley said, explaining the project. “My son is a graduate from Pioneer 2010 and is in the ROTC Air Force. Thinking of him and my nephew, a Marine who has had two tours of duty, is what I thought of when I carried out this idea.”
Fraley reached out to the rest of Lawton, asking other students to bring in their candy, where she bought it for $1 per pound. Fourth-graders visited other classrooms to explain their candy drive and, ultimately, filled a long table with bags of treats.
“Our plan is to ship them off to the troops and let them enjoy the chocolates and sweets,” she added. “It was a big accomplishment our first year around.”
The class researched groups and website that donate to the troops, but Fraley ultimately contacted her nephew to make the necessary contacts overseas.
“There are many organizations out there that think of the troops,” Fraley said, adding that her students are “very excited about the idea of the soldiers writing back.”
One student asked in his letter: “I want to ask you some questions. How are you? How are you feeling? Thank you for what you are doing,” he wrote.
Fraley said she used the candy collection as a multi-faceted lesson for students: In addition to the obvious health and community service, they did the math (had to count and weigh the candy for shipping), got a lesson in language arts (writing to the troops) and practiced their art skills (each Marine got a handmade picture.)
In addition to finding a unique way to share unused candy, Fraley has been involved in the school’s “greening” in other ways, finding ways to reduce, reuse and recycle. Her classes have collected and recycled used plastic and snack bags during school lunch hours in an all-school effort to reduce items going to landfills.
The most recent project Fraley is proposing is for the school to use Wrap “N Mats, a reusable product that will allow students to bring their sandwiches and other items to school without using disposable bags. She contacted the company and received a discounted price if they place an all-school order.
“I keep telling them this is applying your knowledge to the community,” Fraley added of her classroom efforts. “Set your goals and your purpose and decide how you’re going to get there.”
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