OneSchool Global took out the top four team fundraising spots for Write a Book in a Day, producing excellent educational, teamwork and literary results along the way.
The geographic distance between many of the students of OneSchool Global during the Write a Book in a Day event makes their achievements, in terms of creativity, teamwork and fundraising, even more astounding.
The total of funds raised by the school’s four writing teams was $26,748. They earned the top four positions for fundraising out of the 1,132 writing groups that took part across the nation.
But that was just one of the benefits offered by the event, says OneSchool Global’s Head of Orange Campus, Krissy Christian.
“There were two teams here in Orange, and the other two teams were made up by students from various campuses across the state,” Krissy says.
“We had kids from Condobolin, Goulburn, Orange, Wagga, Leeton, Armidale, Sydney and more. One student was overseas, in America, but he still participated fully in the entire day via video conference. The only part he missed out on was the food!”
That provided a wonderful opportunity for students who typically interact online in shorter blocks of time to get to know each other better.
“It was the first time many of the students had experienced that intensive time together in a group situation,” she explains. “Working to deadlines and under such pressure creates quite a different level of personal relationship. It exposes strengths and vulnerabilities. But they all loved it and they have already asked if they can participate again next year.”
“[Write a Book in a Day] brought out the best in everyone and helped them gel as a team. For our online kids to spend 12 hours together, when they’re all in different locations, was very powerful. I’ve had kids tell me they now feel a lot more confident talking in online classes, because they feel like they now know the other people better and it has taken out some of the fear of sharing their ideas. Then the opportunity for those kids to meet face-to-face, when we went to Sydney for the presentation, really cemented their bond.”
How was the fundraising so successful?
The Write a Book in a Day event aligns very nicely with the OneSchool Global ethos and values. The initiative was both academically challenging and beneficial to students, while at the same time supporting a great cause.
The students were heavily engaged in the purpose of the day, as well as in the project itself. During the 12-hour time period, some were taking care of writing, some were creating artworks and illustrations, and others manned phones. They cold-called businesses in their local regions, across the country, and even overseas, to seek donations. And it was this activity that organisers believe gave the students their fundraising edge, as typically participants seek donations from family and friends only.
At several locations, students also organised on-campus fundraisers, such as paid lunches or accessory days where students, for instance, added yellow to their uniforms.
Via the cold-calling of businesses and the on-campus events, the students in the four OneSchool teams were each able to raise more money than any other group in the competition.
What did the students learn?
As previously mentioned, the Write a Book in a Day event was not just about fundraising. Krissy was thrilled to see it attract some students who had not been as interested in writing.
“They loved the teamwork aspect of the day,” she says. “Some of these kids aren’t generally English lovers and some are not students that love writing. But the teamwork aspect really made it fun for them. There was a very positive feeling throughout the day, all the way through to the end. And as I mentioned, they all want to do it again, next year.”
“For the kids to be engaged in the fundraising aspect it’s great. But I am an English teacher and anything that encourages a love of writing is very appealing to me.”
The geographically disparate teams came together mostly via the online video conferencing platform Zoom, so they could see and speak with each other via monitors, microphones and web cams. They used scanners to share and work on detailed imagery and utilised shared computer screens to co-write the stories.
“It was amazing to walk into the room and feel the buzz,” Krissy says. “It was like a creative newsroom, with some kids painting with watercolours, other kids sitting around a computer writing, and right next door you had some students making cold calls to businesses for sponsorship.”
What did the students get out of it? Krissy says there are several elements. “They liked the idea of being able to work together for a day on a challenge,” she says.
“They liked the fact that it had a competitive aspect to it. There was also the aspect of making a contribution to a really worthy cause. It was a combination of all of these and, for me, that love and passion for English. They wanted to write, but to do that they first had to learn to listen to each other and work together.”