Book Inspires Students to Help Local Animals

Ridgewood Elementary students are helping animals in their neighborhood and gaining valuable life skills at the same time. It all began with Global Read Aloud Day, where teacher Andrew Eder read the book A Boy Called Bat to his second-grade students.

“The boy in the book adopted a skunk and was helping it,” said student second grader Jonas L. “He got really into it and loved the skunk. We thought, ‘How can we help animals?’ And then we started brainstorming all these ideas and we landed on a simple project: birdfeeders.”

The school invited a naturalist from Hilliard and an employee at the Columbus Zoo came to talk to the students.

“The project was student-led and student-directed,” Eder explained, “The students were the ones who were doing the research, coming to the conclusion, asking the questions and interviewing the naturalist and zoo expert.”

There’s a educational term for what the students are doing – project based learning. It’s when students start with a complex question and use critical thinking, teamwork and self-management to solve a problem.

“This project embodies a lot of different elements,” said Eder. “We’ve been working on this for months. It is incredibly cross-curricular. We talk about reading, writing, math and science. It’s got it all. You can’t even limit it to the number of standards it can cover.”

The birdfeeders have been constructed and will be placed just outside Eder’s classroom, where they will be observed. Modifications will be made as as needed as the students form conclusions in their pursuit to help these animals.

The birdfeeder project has proven to be another example of what makes Ridgewood a great school community.

“What I love about the Ridgewood community is the people are very tight knit,” said Eder. “What’s unique about Ridgewood is people are passionate about Ridgewood. People are passionate about Hilliard.

“You see it in the kids and the extracurriculars they do. You see it in the parents and how much they value the teachers and what’s going on at the school.”