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Vina teacher combines curriculum, community

Teachers in Franklin County have been finding more and more ways to combine the school’s curriculum with community service projects this academic year. One example is Vina’s sixth-grade teacher Brittany Pannell and her class’ nursing home project.

This project stemmed out of the topic they are studying in class: “Why do we care about people we don’t know?”

“I think it’s important for them at this age to learn about empathy and caring for others,” Pannell said.

Every month her 20 students will create something to hang on the doors of the patient rooms at Red Bay Nursing Home. For the month of September, students created fall-themed figures out of paper with acorns for heads and leaves for bodies.

They write letters to them, as well. Their first letters are introductory, letting the patients know who they are, what they are doing and why they are doing it.

“A lot of patients in nursing homes don’t get regular visitors. This is something that could make them feel special, and it’s good for the students to do as well,” Pannell said.

She said it is her hope that this ongoing project will develop a pen pal type of discourse between the students and the patients and get them involved in the community in a positive manner.

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