Feeding the homeless, “Wooo… that will take team work!”

We showed the children a video of the High School students making onigiri (rice balls) for the homeless of Yokohama. The children read that 644 onigiri were made. Devano exclaimed, “Wooo… that will take team work!” The high school students agree. This Service Learning initiative puts the high school students in the role of Learner Leaders for the Grade One students. They will come and meet with the children to explain about the Chiku Centre project. They will need their help to reach their goals.

On Friday 18th November the Grade One’s will work along side the High School to make the onigiri to feed the homeless of Yokohama. The children have learnt to make onigiri in their ICJC session. The children were very interested in the video. They related their experience of seeing homeless people in Japan, Korea and Cambodia. Chloe remarked, “This is great. I will help homeless people two times, in Cambodia and here.” Erik explained that he had seen the Chiku centre.“It is a place for the homeless people to eat and get onigiri.”

The children spent sometime discussing what homelessness meant. They agreed that they wouldn’t like to have no home. Masaichi said, “What would happen if I was homeless?” Owen said, “You would be alone… just kidding… you could come and live with me.”

What is clear is that the children have a sense of compassion for others and want to help. The next question was…

“What can we do to help the homeless people?”

We wonder how this provocation will provoke the children to action.

This will be a year long commitment to helping others and be a major part of of our next Unit of Inquiry. Ultimately we aim for our Grade One students to be the leaders.

To give. To receive. To connect. To learn.

From helpers to leaders, Grade 1 to Grade 12, parents and teachers too!

We made…. 529 onigiri together. There was no them and us, no adults and children. This was one YIS community coming together to support others. This was a celebration of the essence of YIS, one community committed to each other and ready to extend our support to our wider world.

Empowering young children to become leaders and act on the behalf of others.

It has been several months since the Grade One students went to the park and noticed someone who may have been homeless. The children sustained their interest and discovered a system is in place at school to support people who are homeless.

From this beginning the children have taken on the challenge of being responsible for the ongiri making, supported by Mohima and Tomoko in Grade 12. These students have become role -models  and mentors to the children. They have carried out jobs and made a market/arcade to raise money for onigiri. The children have transitioned from helpers to leaders. They have a real sense of the cost of food and the expense incurred in feeding people.

At 8am the canteen was already filling up with high school students, Grade one children and their families. Stemming rice was being fanned, flavoring was added and teams were formed. Each onigiri was wrapped and a sticker added. The children wanted the homeless people to know people cared about them.

We hope that this short video helps convey the spirit of the event.

Teamwork. High School and Grade 1’s made 529 Onigiris! on PhotoPeach By Ms Connie


This is the photo story of the children choosing and buying the ingredients.
We Shopped For Onigiri Ingredients at Homes! on PhotoPeach By Ms Connie

The mathematics of service learning. Real reasons to weigh and count.

The children wanted to raise money to help the homeless shelter (Chiku Centre in Yokohama). We  took part in  onigiri  making with the high school. This led to us having our own day to make the food.

We asked the children what ingredients they would need and how they would pay for them. The children quickly realised this would take lots of money. How would they pay?

The children did 10×10 jobs which made 100 yen. This helped the children group into 100’s. The children also raised money from their cardboard arcade. This money was collected in a pickle jar. The children counted all the money, making piles of 10’s. 100’s and 1000’s.

The children quickly became aware that they needed 30kg of rice to make the onigiri. They weighed the rice the KG and Gr2 children brought  to play the arcade. They estimated, used balance scales and weighed and finally used digital scales. They discussed the accuracy of each method. This involved using weights and adding the amount. The children accurately measured the rice, there was 22kgs.

When Grade One were told if you want to help people you will need to raise the money and make the food.

The children have become aware of issues around homelessness. They have learned with the high school students that the Chiku Centre supports homeless people, by giving them food. The children want to make 600 onigiri to feed the homeless, but were told they needed to pay for this themselves.  Their initial idea was that the school and parents would pay.  The children wanted to make a mini food fair, like the one we had at school.

We showed the children Caine’s arcade. As the video stopped the children sat open mouthed and wide eyed. It took seconds before someone said they could do this. The children jumped up and set about designing arcade games.

Developing the arcade the academics

This has provided opportunities for problem solving, shape inquiry, development of number concepts, addition and subtraction and measuring.

Thinking skills:

Application of their knowledge of number and shapes to design new things.

Dialectical thinking, such involves thinking about something from someone elses perspective. Would someone play this game?

Social Skills

Respecting others as they shared resources and critiqued others games. How will we decide the name of the arcade? How will we decide the kinds of tickets people can buy?

Communication Skills

Speaking and listening as they share ideas and explain their thinking. How will points and prizes be rewarded between games?

We will share another post about the mathematics of this project!

From making to testing the arcade

Making the cardboard arcade 2015 on PhotoPeach

Grade 5 learning buddies test the arcade

Parents play the arcade – 500 Yen for a fun pass 20,800 Yen raised. Sincere thanks to all the parents, we know you had fun!

Mr Lemery’s incredible photographs please take a look LINK

Parents play the cardboard arcade on PhotoPeach

Kindergarten play the arcade and pay in uncooked rice, which will be used to make the onigiri.

The Grade One students went and explained their ideas to the kindergarten and Grade 2’s

Screen Shot 2015-12-03 at 11.04.37 AM Screen Shot 2015-12-03 at 11.04.54 AM






Grade 2 play the arcade for rice

The children are now pondering how to maximize their money to help the most people. The mathematics of helping others continues. How much rice do we have? How much do we need?

Analysis in Grade One, similarities and differences between orphans and homeless people in Japan.

IMG_6642The children have been involved in many meetings. They were asked to be part of the gingerbread house making which Grade Two are leading. They had a meeting with Mohima about homelessness in Japan and their ideas for supporting others. They also had a meeting with Tomoko and Leah about the YIS party and present giving for the orphans.

It became clear that the children were trying to process all these ideas. They had questions which showed they were trying to form connections between both groups of people in our local community.

Do the orphans have a home?

Do orphans have food?

Why don’t orphans have mums and dads.

Do homeless people have children?

Do homeless people have families?

Do orphans have money?

An opportunity to explore the mathematical tool of Venn diagrams.

The children came into the room after their break. “Oh good!  we going to have a Maths talk!” We drew a Venn diagram on the board and asked them to share their thinking about what they saw.

  • It was circles
  • It was connected
  • It looked like eyes or a bottom
  • It is like 2 groups for our food fair, the BBQ group and the Indian group. Each person picks the one they want. If you want both you go in the middle.

We proposed using this tool to help analyze what we knew about the homeless and orphans. The children agreed it would be good to share their thinking. Two sets of sticky notes were placed on two tables and the children wrote down anything they knew about homeless and orphans.

IMG_6645We took all the post it notes and placed them in an organized manner onto the Venn diagram, explicitly noting that similar items were placed together, for example, 9 children wrote homeless people had no home. It  became clear there were some overlaps:

  • Lonely
  • No money
  • No family to live with

We are glad we took the time to check-in on children’s  understanding of groups of people we want to support. We wonder how the Venn diagram will be used by the children as they move forward with their service learning initiative to make 600 onigiri? Will their focus stay on the homeless?

From Local to Global, perspectives of orphans in Grade One.IMG_6643

When the children worked together to develop a Venn diagram about the homeless and orphans in Japan, it became apparent the children had a global perspective about orphans. The children thought orphans would have to go through rubbish for food, have no blankets and have no education. We wondered where the children had develop a global perspective on this issue. Some children said they had seen these children as they traveled. Other children had seen photographs and TV programs.


Mohima knows everything! G12 as service learning leaders

Mohima came and spoke to the children about onigiri making for the homeless of Yokohama. She was very impressed with the children’s understanding… in fact she thought they knew a great deal. There seems to be a mutual appreciation because one child in 1S noted, “Mohima knows everything!” Once again we draw inspiration from the leaders within our school who are gently guiding the next generation of learner/leaders.

The children are more determined than ever to raise money so they can make onigiri.

Connection. To give, to receive, to learn.

Sincere thanks to Tomoko (Grade 12) for her time, patience, compassion and an ability to relate to people of all ages. She got her message across clearly. It is not easy to balance the factors around homelessness at an age appropriate level, but you can see from the video Tomoko did this.

On a walk in the park we noted a man sleeping on the bench. We were very quiet and careful not to disturb him. The children had many questions about why the man was there. We wrote all these down. What could we do with these questions? How can young children think about service learning? How do we develop the reciprocal nature of service: giving to others, and the learning that comes from this experience?
We want to be able to use the children’s questions to connect to our unit of inquiry, “People create systems to connect people.” We asked Tomoko to come and talk to the children about the YIS Sanigatachi centre initiative of night patrols, where high school students and teachers go and talk to the homeless people and offer conversation, supplies and soup.
The children expressed a desire to be connected to these groups and wanted to know what they can do. They were interested in making clothes, giving food and making things for them. We will forge a strong connection from the children, to service groups and into the local community.
 This is just a short amount of the wonderful conversation.