Lessons for a Village Called Earth

Lime Kiln Middle School, 8th grade team, Howard County, Melissa Preston & Brian Richards, , Brenda Thomas, Principal

Lime Kiln Middle School to take part in Read to Feed Program

Community served: Developing Nations served by Heifer International

What do cows, chickens and goats have to do with reading?  Students at Lime Kiln Middle School in Fulton can tell you.  8th graders participated in Heifer International’s Read to Feed program.  The more books the students read, the more money they raised to provide hungry families with farm animals.

During the program, students and teachers discussed issues surrounding world hunger and poverty, and earned pledges from family, friends, and community members for the number of books they read, or amount of time spent reading.  At the conclusion of the program, students collected the money from their sponsors and donated it to Heifer.  The donations provide food- and income-producing farm animals, and training in their care, for hungry families around the world who lack the necessary resources to improve their lives.  As a culminating activity, the students took a walking field trip to the Iager Farm, located right next to the school, to get some real-life experience with what it takes to care for and feed livestock.

Read to Feed is both a reading motivation and a unique educational opportunity. In addition to the reading component, students learned about different cultures and the importance of food security throughout the world.  It also provided a way for children to become actively involved and personally make a difference.

Since 1944, Heifer International has helped more than 4.5 million families become self-reliant through gifts of livestock.  Every family that receives an animal passes on the gift of its offspring to another family in need.

The Read to Feed program is anticipated to involve 100,000 children in the U. S. and Canada over the next year. We at Lime Kiln Middle are proud to support such a worthwhile cause.  To learn more about Heifer International and its mission, visit www.heifer.org.

The following link connects to materials developed and used for this project at Lime Kiln, including a PowerPoint presentation: heiferlkms.wikispaces.com 


Best Practice 1:  What recognized community need was met by your project (e.g. health, education, environmental or public safety need)?  

This is a global education opportunity.  Educators and parents use the issues raised by Read to Feed to address countless related topics such as the root causes of hunger and poverty and depletion of the earth's resources.  Students are inspired as they learn how solving one problem helps to solve others.

Best Practice 2:  How was the project connected to school curriculum (e.g. what course outcomes were met and/or how did the project reinforce or enhance student academic learning)?


UNIT I: Disease Prevention and Control
Goal.    The student will demonstrate the ability to apply concepts of health promotion and disease prevention to achieve optimal personal health.
Objectives – The student will be able to:
  1. Describe how lifestyle, family history, environment, and other risk factors are related to the cause or prevention of disease and other health problems.
  2. Identify intervention and treatment methods for common diseases. 
  3. Describe the impact that media messages have on disease prevention and control. 

Technology Education:

UNIT II: Students will develop abilities to assess the impacts of technology.
Goal 2.  The students will demonstrate the ability to describe the cultural, social, economic, and political effects of technology. (ITEA, STL 4)
Objectives – The students will be able to:
  1. Express that technology affects the way people of different cultures live, the kind of work they do, and the decisions they have to make.
  2. Examine how technology used in education has changed learning environments.
Goal 3.  The students will demonstrate the ability to examine the effects of technology on the environment. (ITEA, STL 5)
  1. Describe how technologies can be used to break down waste that results from the use of various products and systems.
Goal 4.  The students will demonstrate the ability to describe the role of society in the development and use of technology. (ITEA, STL 6)
Objectives – The students will be able to:
  1. Explain how people from differ­ent cultures and times have made im­portant contributions to the advancement of science, mathematics, and technology. (MD Science MLO 1.7.27)
  2. Recognize that individual, family and community concerns may expand or limit the development of technologies.


Identify elements and characteristics of musical sound as they are used in a variety of genres and styles representative of world cultures.
  1. Analyze aural musical examples representing diverse genres and world cultures, using musical terms.

Family and Consumer Science:

3.1    Identify and define food nutrients and their functions.
3.2    Plan daily food intake and exercise levels using food and exercise guide pyramids, computer software, or the Internet.
4.1    Investigate a specific culture, region, or ethnic group’s food background.
4.2    Write a research report on the ethnic group using appropriate technology.


UNIT III: Basic Chemistry
  1. Based on data from investigations and research, identify and describe chemical properties of common substances.  (4.D.2.a_8)
    • Reacts with oxygen (rusting/tarnishing and burning).
    • Reacts with acids.
    • Reacts with bases.
  2. Use information gathered from investigations using indicators to classify materials as acidic, basic, or neutral.  (4.D.2.b_8)
    • Classify substances using the pH scale.
    • Identify the products of an acid-base reaction.
    • Explain the effect of antacids on stomach acids.
  3. List and describe physical properties of metals, metalloids, and nonmetals.  (4.D.2.HC_3)
  4. List and describe chemical properties of metals, metalloids, and nonmetals.  (4.D.2.HC_4)
  5. Analyze the results of research completed to develop a comparison of compounds and mixtures.  (4.D.1.c_8)
    • Define mixture, element, and compound.
    • Give examples of compounds and the methods needed to separate them, such as hydrolysis and distillation.
Goal 3.  Cite evidence and give examples of chemical properties of substances. (4.D.2_8)
  1. Define and identify physical properties of matter (e.g., solubility,density, states of matter, texture, color, hardness, malleability, ductility, luster, magnetism, boiling point, and conductivity). (4.D.2.HC_1)
  2. Identify unknown substances by observing physical properties.

Social Studies:

UNIT I:  The Road To Independence
Goal 1.  Students will demonstrate the ability to understand the historical background as well as the political and social changes.
  1. Explain how the geography of regions lead to economic and cultural differences. (850.02)
  1. Analyze the push-pull factors that led to increased immigration, and how this contributed to increased cultural conflict.  (857.06)
  1. Explain how various art forms reflected societal needs and contributed to a national identity. (857.07)
UNIT IV:  Standard 6.0 – Knowledge of Number Relationships and Computation/Arithmetic
Goal 1.  The student will demonstrate the ability to analyze ratios, proportions, and percents.
Objectives - The student will be able to:
  1. Determine unit rates.
  2. Solve problems using proportional reasoning.
  3. Use proportional reasoning to solve measurement problems.
  4. Determine the uses of percents, rates of increase or decrease, discount, commission, sales tax, and simple interest in the context of a problem.

Best Practice 3:  How did you reflect on your experience throughout the project? 

Students wrote a reading log for each novel read as well as a Brief Constructive Response (BCR) at the end of the project describing their role and how their actions affected villages in developing nations.

Best Practice 4:  How did students take leadership roles and take responsibility for the success of the project? 

Children were inspired to read more books for pleasure, while raising money, through sponsored reading, to help end world hunger and improve the environment.   Over the course of the year, a number of curricular areas were taught, aligning to the Howard County Public School System Essential Curriculum and Maryland Voluntary State Curriculum that had a direct link to Heifer International’s Read to Feed mission to end world hunger.

Best Practice 5:  What community partners did you work with on this project (e.g. non-profits, civic organizations, business that provided donations, etc.)? 

In addition to the Heifer International organization, the president of the PTA at Lime Kiln Middle School, and parents supported the program.  We were fortunate to have a locally subsisting farm next to the Fulton Campus of Schools, whose owners agreed to host a field trip in order to answer questions about the costs involving the care, feeding, waste disposal and land requirements for cattle and turkeys.

Best Practice 6:  How did you prepare and plan ahead for the project?

Materials were researched and obtained to support the project, including a description of that project that highlighted the curricular connection: Lessons from a Village Called Earth. The project was developed in collaboration with The Center for Teaching International Relations, University of Denver Graduate School.  Four units are available for students, including an introductory module, civics, geography, and economics. The curriculum units are built around the book The Day Papa Came Home (included free for each student).  All of the indicators follow the essential curriculum for middle school in Howard County Public Schools (see above).

Best Practice 7:  What knowledge and skills did students develop through this project? 

As featured above, students gained a variety of skills,  knowledge in multiple content areas, and an understanding of poverty on a global scale and how they could help alleviate that problem through engagement in this project.
Since this project required students to read and write, students also acquired the following knowledge and skills:


UNIT II:  Developing Critical Responses to Poetry, Fiction, and Nonfiction
[representing diversity in authorship, perspective, content, and culture including areas such as race, gender, disability, religion, and socioeconomic background]
Goal 1.  The student will demonstrate the ability to read and recognize the characteristics of a variety of grade level literary texts representing diverse cultures, perspectives, and ethnicities.
Objective—The student will be able to:
  1. Read and use structural features to distinguish between a variety of literary forms and genres including:
    • Fiction (Short Story, Novel, Novella, Vignette)
    • Nonfiction (Personal Essay, Memoir, Autobiography, and Biography)
    • Drama. 
  2. Recognize and explain similar themes across texts.  
  3. Determine common and universal ideas in literature by making inferences and drawing conclusions.
  4. Analyze details that provide information about the setting, the mood created by the setting, and the role the setting plays in the text.
  5. Analyze text features that contribute to meaning.
Goal 3. The student will demonstrate the ability to employ effective strategies for writing a meaningful critical response to a work of literature.
Objectives—The student will be able to:
  1. Use journals and free writing to capture and examine initial understandings, opinions, and questions about the meaning of a work.
  2. Reread a work and use particular note taking and questioning strategies to formulate and test possible interpretations.


UNIT I:  Literary Archetypes
Goal 2. The student will use a variety of strategies to construct meaning (VSC8 1.A.1).
Objectives – The student will be able to:
  1. Analyze and evaluate elements of narrative texts such as organization, voice, and word choice to facilitate understanding and interpretation (VSC8 3.A.3).
  2. Link appropriate experiences and prior knowledge about the topic, author, or type of material.
Goal 3.  The student will demonstrate the ability to compose oral, written, and visual presentations that inform, persuade, and express personal ideas (VSC8 4.A.2).