This week and next, USD students in Professor Jing Williams’ class will be at Wal-Mart on various days, handing out poppies and collecting donations for Vermillion’s VFW Post 3061. The project is a class assignment for the future educators, who are enrolled in Williams’ Elementary Education course K-8 Social Science Methods course this fall.

“This project is entitled ‘In Flanders Field,’” said Williams. “Students in the course this fall will work in groups to create canvas arts, incorporating Buddy Poppies provided by the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 3061, to show their appreciation of veterans. Each group will also spend two hours of service-learning time at the Walmart entrance to hand out VFW Buddy Poppies to raise funds for the VFW Post 3061. During the 2-hour service time, each group will give their art to the donor they choose.”

The project is a part of the “Teaching about Wars from a Human Perspective” unit in Williams’ class. Not only does the project model a way to teach, it also helps raise public awareness of veterans’ contributions and sacrifices while raising money to support VFW Post 3061, says Williams.

“This art project will cultivate future social studies teachers’ civic competence and deepen their understanding of wars from a human perspective,” said Williams. “It will teach future social studies teachers how to integrate art in their social studies lessons, enlighten future social studies teachers as to how to implement a similar community-based project in their classrooms, allow students to show their appreciation for veterans in a creative way, and connect students with the Vermillion local community.”

Over the next two weeks, the 22 students in Williams’ class will distribute 400 poppies at various times throughout the day at Wal-Mart. As she has never done this particular project before, Williams isn’t sure how much money the students will raise for Post 3061, but she is hoping for a generous amount.

“The more donations we raise, the better, because the money will all go to the VFW Post 3061, who sponsors many local projects,” said Williams. “In other words, the more we raise, the better we will help with the local community. I hope when local residents see my students at the Walmart entrance handing out poppies, they will be willing to support us and the VFW.”

Look for Williams’ students this week and next at the Vermillion Wal-Mart and help them help the local community by supporting Post 3061.

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