Tomorrow our students begin carrying water. In five gallon jerry cans holding only three. The cans will travel with them in the hallways, to the bathroom, across the room to the sink for a drink of water. They will learn to guard them, treasure them, hate them, deny them. Hopefully, they will gain a small perspective of what it would be like to have to carry water in order to cook, bath, drink.

We read The Long Walk to Water, by Salva Dut. The students learn, through Salva’s story, what it is like to travel miles, as a child, to find water every day. Twice a day. No matter the weather.

Empathy. What we want our students to feel, to have, for others less fortunate than themselves. Understanding. What we hope our students will carry with them when the last pages of the book are read. Appreciation. What we work to instill in our students as they first complain about, and then embrace the effort it takes to carry a fraction of the water and miles others do every day.

Tomorrow our students begin carrying water and more than that, we hope they will carry with them the memory of  the experience and in some way, an understanding of a world so different from their own.




Author: hansonberries

As a teacher of sixth graders, ma special place is my classroom; my home-away-from-home. My first home I share with my husband, our dog Quincy, two cats, and my tortoise friend, Misha. I also have been blessed with a horse named Arjay. We have three adult children and five grandchildren, the joy of our lives. Life is good. I am an equestrian, a writer, a reader, a gardener, and I repurpose furniture.

4 thoughts on “Water”

  1. Your topic line caught my attention; I’m glad I read this, even though I had to copy and paste into my address bar! We take so many things for granted; it’s great what you’re doing with your students. Hopefully, as you say, they will carry the lesson with them.


  2. I enjoyed reading your post. Reading and discussing good literature is perhaps the best way I know of to help students take the perspective of others. In doing so, students gain the necessary knowledge to develop empathy for others.


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