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Bronxville Union Free School District

Elementary School Students Ignite Change as Engaged Citizens

Fifth-grade students at Bronxville Elementary School have taken action to spread awareness about a variety of social issues they’re passionate about and make a positive change in their communities. As part of a Project-Based Learning experience, the students used their 21st century skills to develop websites and create public service announcements to encourage others to rally for their causes.

Some of the projects focused on solving the Bronx River pollution problem, raising awareness about bullying, global warming, domestic violence, as well as creating equal opportunities for students with special needs to play sports. The students conducted extensive research on their chosen topics, learned how to find credible sources, effectively annotated and took notes and collaborated with peers in order to develop a persuasive message.  

“The students took great ownership of their learning,” fifth-grade teacher Rosana Colliniates said. “They’ve shown strong enthusiasm and excitement for these issues, especially after interviewing specialists in the fields. They've also learned about effective collaboration and have reflected on their own collaboration skills in order to become stronger team members.”

Colliniates said two of her students explored the issue around the lack of support for veterans and discovered that many experience homelessness or post-traumatic stress disorder upon return from active duty. As a result, the two fifth-graders developed a website as an informational resource and a way for veterans to connect with one another for support. They also created a PSA and wrote a letter to politicians to urge them to provide veterans with the proper care they need to help them adjust to life after war.

“I am so impressed with their enthusiasm and eagerness and I believe they are truly shining through this project,” Colliniates said. “It is incredibly important that students realize that even at 10 years old they can have a positive impact on their school, community or world. The decisions they make have a great affect on their lives and the lives of others. As students become more informed as citizens, they can make stronger decisions and ignite change.

Brittany Meshberg, a fifth-grade teacher, said the students dealt with real-world situations and engaged in authentic learning experiences. She said they learned how to be engaged citizens, think critically and take the initiative to make a difference, which are skills closely aligned with the dispositions of the Bronxville Promise.

“There are a bunch of problems that people have to solve and it’s more than a school project,” said fifth-grader Sophia. “We want to make a difference because we want to [make the Earth] a better place to live on.”

  • Bronxville Union Free School District - Image
  • Bronxville Union Free School District - Image
  • Bronxville Union Free School District - Image
  • Bronxville Union Free School District - Image
  • Bronxville Union Free School District - Image
  • Bronxville Union Free School District - Image
  • Bronxville Union Free School District - Image
  • Bronxville Union Free School District - Image
  • Bronxville Union Free School District - Image
  • Bronxville Union Free School District - Image
  • Bronxville Union Free School District - Image
  • Bronxville Union Free School District - Image