A teacher at Southwest City Elementary School is helping her students learn how to do good for others.
Elaine Aiken, who teaches seventh- and eighth-grade English language arts and home economics, has been teaching her two home ec classes how to make hats using round plastic looms. The students have made a box full of them.
Aiken said, when she started the project with her students, she gave them yarn remnants rather than letting them choose their own colors at first.
"Sometimes when you're new at something, the first product is not usable," she explained. She recalled earlier in the year, when she taught her students to make masks, also giving them fabric remnants for their first try. She said she teased one student about making a "bikini" mask because it did not fully cover the mouth and nose.
Students started out making infant hats and then moved on to toddler hats. A very small ring is used for infant hats, and a larger one is used for toddler hats. Now that the classes have collected quite a few hats, Aiken is planning on donating them to Arkansas Children's Hospital in Springdale, Ark. She said they used chenille yarn because it feels nice against the skin.
She said the students enjoyed the project, although some wanted to keep the hats for themselves.
"Middle school is a relatively egocentric time," she said. "I wanted them to see that doing something for someone else makes you feel good."
She also said hat making is a skill that students are learning and passing on to their younger brothers and sisters.
Another lesson Aiken wanted her students to learn is how to make a product they could sell, she said.
"My goal is for them to see how to do good for other people but also how to cover their needs, to supply for themselves," she said.