Our school decided to participate in the Shoeman Project. For this project, we collected shoes to donate. Students sold these shoes by the pound or donated to those who needed them. Then the money was used to buy well-digging rigs for countries where clean water is scarce. Specifically, the Shoeman Project supports people in Kenya and Haiti. This lesson taught students about these countries and compared them to the United States.
Smart Board and computer with internet access
Shoeman Project Smart Notebook File
Map of the world
Books: Mama Panya’s Pancakes by Mary Chamberlin (2006, Barefoot Books) – a Kenyan story; Please, Malese! A Trickster Tale from Haiti by Amy MacDonald (2002, Farrar, Straus and Giroux) – a Haitian story
Begin by asking students what they already know about the service project. Clarify details of the Shoeman Project by visiting the website, linked from the Smart Notebook file.
Find Haiti and Kenya on the world map.
Ask students why people in those countries and others might not be able to just turn on their faucet to get clean water.
Pass out the research templates. Use the template and National Geographic for Kids websites linked from the Smart Notebook file to find the relevant information.
Discuss the similarities and differences between each country.
Listen to music from Kenya and Haiti, linked from the Smart Notebook file.
Read and compare the stories (specifically the places, things, and ways of life noticed).
Extensions and Adaptations
Adaptations: The research template can be modified as necessary. The teacher can also set up this project as a jigsaw, where groups of students are asked to research either one country or a few facts about each country then will share back with their jigsaw groups. Students can be partnered to find information on their own or this research can take place as a whole class. These books may be substituted for other Kenyan and Haitian stories as necessary.
Related Links and Resources
United States Links: http://kids.nationalgeographic.com/kids/places/find/united-states-of-america/
Kenya Links: http://kids.nationalgeographic.com/kids/places/find/kenya/
Haiti Links: http://kids.nationalgeographic.com/kids/places/find/haiti/