Rahima C. Wade

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Anita, Marlene, Liza, and David are committed to empowering their students to work for community improvement and social justice through projects that focus on environmental protection, the isolation of senior citizens, the needs of the homeless, and animal rights, Each Friday, David's fourth-grade class cares for the animals at the local animal shelter and publicizes animal rights issues in the community. Liza's third graders bake and deliver bread every month to the local soup kitchen. Marlene's fifth-graders are creating a Vaudeville Show using songs they are learning from the residents of a local retirement residence. Anita's sixth-graders are working to reestablish a prairie in a nearby park. They, like many other teachers from suburbs and cities nationwide, believe that the social studies' professed goal of active citizenship is best developed not just through reading a textbook but also through practical, hands-on experiences in which students identify community needs, develop action plans, and put their ideas into practice. Their students are developing firsthand knowledge about what it means to make a difference; at the same time they are learning valuable personal, social, and academic skills.