Donna Kaufman is a first grade teacher at Louisa May Alcott School. She goes above and beyond to not only bring science into her Chicago classroom, but into a classroom in Zambia, South Africa.

Zambia is located in central South Africa and is home to the spectacular Victoria Falls, game reserves and diverse wildlife.

Donna sponsors a child in Zambia through an organization called Spark Ventures. Spark Ventures partners with organizations around the world to help vulnerable children achieve their potential.

Through sponsorships the students are able to receive free education (since education is not free), free school supplies, medical check-ups, and hot meals every weekday all year. This is typically the only meal they have each day.

Donna’s sponsored child attends Hope Community, a school that serves grades 1-7 and has 9 teachers.

In February, the executive director and program director for Spark traveled to Zambia and brought classroom exchange materials. Donna’s students made a big book about Chicago landmarks and a book that described snow. A teacher translated the books from English to Bemba, which is the language the students speak.

Chicagoans are very familiar with snow, but the kids at Hope Community have never seen it.

After explaining the concept of snow, the kids were given Insta-Snow powder that Donna had sent.  The children’s faces lit up, their eyes widened while their jaws dropped as they watched a little bit of water turn little white flecks of powder into light, fluffy snowflakes in their hands.

This was a once in a lifetime opportunity for the class of 45 children who rarely have the chance to do a stimulating science experiment, let alone experience something a world away.

Donna Kaufman is truly an amazing teacher who makes science fun in and outside of her classroom.

9 replies
  1. Mrs. V. Smith
    Mrs. V. Smith says:

    A poem read in a 6th grade classroom by Rick. It’s a riddle, so see if you can guess the answer.

    I come more softly than a bird,
    And lovely as a flower:
    I sometimes last from year to year
    And sometimes but an hour.

    I stop the swiftest railroad train
    Or break the stoutest tree.
    And yet I am afraid of fire
    And children play with me.

    By Mary Austin
    (For the teacher-the answer rhymes know).

    Reply
  2. Betty Reese
    Betty Reese says:

    Dear Ms. Kaufman, What a wonderful story!! I am so proud that our grandaughter, Grace Vavra has you for her teacher. Sincerely, Betty Reese

    Reply
  3. Kimberly Kaufman
    Kimberly Kaufman says:

    This is amazing…How fortunate these kids are to have you in thier lives. And you are truly an inspiration to the community of educators of all kinds.

    Reply
  4. Karin Kamm
    Karin Kamm says:

    What a fantastic idea! Not only does it create a great learning experience for your students, but perhaps more importantly, it teaches them about life in other parts of the world. It is so important for students to understand how important education is and what some people will give up to have it – this is a wonderful example of this.

    Reply
  5. Karen Puracan
    Karen Puracan says:

    Besides the excitement of having foreign guest teachers for the day, the “snow” and the book activity definitely gave each of those kids a day they will never forget as long as they live!

    Reply

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