How a Scope Story Inspired My Class To Take Action

Editor's Note: Nothing bring us more joy than when a teacher tells us her students read a story in Scope and were inspired to take action. So imagine our excitement when we heard about 6th-grade teacher Angel Barnsback's fabulous awareness campaign project! Read about what Angel's class did, and then scroll down to read Angel's lesson plan which you can use in your own classroom for any global issue that your students are passionate about.


How My Students Came to Adopt an African Elephant


Boris Roessler, Zuma Press


Like your students, my 6th-graders have big hearts and often want to make a difference but don't know how. So it was no surprise that after reading and discussing Scope's incredible story about Ishanga ("Can She Be Saved?" December/January 2017), a baby African elephant who was rescued after her mother was killed by poachers, my students wanted to find out everything they could about how Ishanga was doing today. We went to Scope Online where we found a link to the website of The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, where Ishanga now lives. My students got so excited when they saw that they could actually adopt Ishanga for a year—and for $50! The class had recently won exactly $50 for a holiday door-decorating competition and had been considering getting a hamster for the classroom. Instead, my students became Ishanga's adoptive parents. The money goes toward the cost of caring for Ishanga. We received a fostering certificate and get frequent updates on Ishanga's health and activities from her keeper's diary.


My students were so inspired that they wanted to inspire and inform the rest of the 6th-grade class. So they created a series of posters about the problem of wildlife poaching. Students chose a partner and created either an educational or an awareness poster to hang in the classroom. The only requirement I gave them was that they had to correctly use at least 10 of the vocabulary words from the Scope texts.


Lesson Plan for an Awareness Campaign

What you'll need:
Any Scope text that sheds light on a current humanitarian or wildlife problem such as: 

vocabulary words and definitions that accompany the Scope text, such as these

vocabulary, gathering information from multiple sources and diverse formats, conducting research, demonstrating understanding of a subject

one 90-minute period for creating the posters


Text Marking

I first had students text mark the Scope paired texts articles about poaching to identify the points they wanted to include in their posters. They used the following symbols:

  • Exclamation mark: connecting to another text or identifying something surprising
  • Eyeball: something eye-opening
  • Thought bubble: something that makes you think
  • Lips: something you would like to discuss


Further Research

After reading the paired texts, my students wanted to learn even more about the plight of elephants and other wildlife. So they did additional research using the resources provided at Scope Online, such as the African Wildlife Foundation, through which they discovered that African elephants could become extinct in our lifetime due to poaching.

AP Images


Spreading Awareness

Some students chose to devote their posters to informing other students about the problem of poaching. So they made anti-poaching posters to hang around the classroom for the rest of the 6th-grade to read. They used information from the Scope texts along with the information they gathered from their additional research.



Finding Solutions

Other students wanted to devote their posters to presenting solutions to the poaching problem. As with the other posters, they used information from the Scope texts and from their independent research.


Building Vocabulary

I instructed my students to incorporate their new vocabulary from the paired texts in their posters.



My students often encounter an injustice and want to do something to help, but they don't know how to or they think they can't make a difference. By adopting Ishanga, my students were able to see how even a small gesture can have a positive impact. Not only did they help one animal in need, but they also spread awareness and kindled a desire among others to do more. One student is now volunteering at a local animal shelter and another is doing an independent project on the plight of elephants in the circus.







Angel Barnsback is a 6th-grade ELA teacher at Liberty Middle School in Morganton, North Carolina. She is also a teacher advisor.


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Oh my goodness. That is awesome!! My 4/5 gifited combo class just finished this issue and we are going to do the same thing regarding hanging posters in the classroom and the hallways in our school. We were also considering to pretend that some teachers are "poachers" and students will pretend to "protest" in front of the classrooms that contain the "poachers". But, I love the idea of adopting Ishanga. I used to facilitate a nature club some time ago where my members would adopt endangered animals..

Thanks for what you are doing and confirming that I am doing the right thing for my students. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE SCOPE MAGAZINE. OTHER THAN A FEW OTHER RESOURCES, A TEACHER ALMOST DOESN'T NEED MORE THAN SCOPE.


Thank you so much for your message! Let us know how the activity goes!