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West Elementary Fourth Grade Class Collects 761 Books for Community

Social Emotional Learning (SEL) is part of all District 47 school’s curriculum. At West Elementary, Miss Fitzgerald’s 4th grade class was learning about ‘Creating Goals’ in SEL. The class wanted to make an impact outside of their classroom, so they decided their goal would be to donate 100 books to the community. 

To support this goal, the class made signs and hung them around their classroom to motivate each other to accomplish their goal. The guidelines for collecting books were simple: all of the student’s families were allowed to contribute, and the books needed to be K-8th grade appropriate, “We really wanted to keep it as a true classroom effort,” Miss Fitzgerald said.  

Another component of the SEL lesson was evaluating the goal’s progress. As the class surpassed the 100 book goal within the first week, they challenged themselves by setting a new goal of 500 books. “We knew 100 books wasn’t enough. So we kept donating until we ran out of books to donate,” said 4th grader Zack. 

This SEL lesson didn’t just teach Miss Fitzgerald’s class about setting a goal; it also taught them the lesson of helping others. “My favorite part was we weren’t just bringing books in for no reason; we were bringing them in to donate to children in need,” 4th grader Hailey said. “That was also my favorite part. It felt good as a class to know we smashed the goal, but it also felt good to know we were collecting books to donate for kids that need them,” 4th grader David says in agreement. 

The 4th grade class has actively engaged with the school community, parents, and local organizations through their book donations. “I posted a question to the Crystal Lake community group on social media looking for a local non-profit organization to donate the books to. I received a lot of positive responses from the community, and I think we are going to choose to donate to the A to Z Literacy Movement,” Miss Fitzgerald stated. A to Z Literacy Movement is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization that aims to improve the lives of children through literacy development. This organization has also continually collaborated with schools in District 47 to ensure kids receive books for free. 

The class’s October SEL objective is to teach about bullying, “Be on the lookout for painted rocks with positive messages in the community, as our new goal is to spread kindness,” Miss Fitzgerald exclaimed.