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Reynolds service project incorporates curriculum

Christine Rowland's fifth-grade students display some of the items they have been collecting at Reynolds Elementary School for the Human Association of CNY.

This fall, when Rowland learned that the Humane Association of CNY was in need of many items to stay in operation, she realized a community service project for the organization could incorporate writing instruction lessons for her students while benefiting the organization. Once she and her students decided to collect a different item each month that the organization needs, the writing began.

In October, her students worked collaboratively to compose a letter explaining the service project to the school's parents. Rowland's students wrote messages for the morning announcements to introduce the project to the school and to remind students and staff to bring in their donations. They've also created posters that hang in the school's hallways to highlight each month's designated donation item. Rowland used the poster activity to teach her students how best to communicate with a visual message. They learned how to incorporate graphics and photos into their poster messages.

Letter writing has been a vital aspect of the service project. After studying the proper format for a business letter, students used their knowledge to write to 145 Baldwinsville Chamber of Commerce businesses to ask for donations for the Humane Association, and their efforts paid off. To date, local businesses have contributed $400 to the organization. This month, Rowland's fifth-graders will be using the "friendly" letter format to write to other fifth-graders in the district, inviting them to join Reynolds in collecting items at their schools.

Reynolds Elementary School has collected the following items for the Humane Association of CNY:

October -- 600 cans of cat food;

November -- 3 cases of dry food;

December -- a multitude of animal toys; and

January -- 500 pounds of cat litter.

Under the direction of Rowland and her pupils, Reynolds will continue collecting items for the organization until the end of the school year.

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