Students will "give examples of the choices people have to make about the goods and services they buy." --Massachusetts History and Social Science Curriculum Framework
- The Rag Coat by Lauren Mills
Set Up and Prepare
Because this activity will take place over a matter of weeks, you will need to decide how much time you want to devote to it. You may decide on an hour to read the book and begin a conversation about the project, a half hour per day to sort clothing, and an hour a day, for two days, to sell the clothing.
Obtain your principal's permission to hold a clothing tag sale to raise money for your local shelter. Be sure to contact the organization to find out if they can send a representative to receive the money raised by the students. Seeing the money being picked up by an actual person helps to make the project all the more real to students.
When my class of 23 held a similar clothing sale, we collected clothing for children and adults. We sold items for a few dollars a piece and were thrilled to raise over $800. Any leftover clothes were donated to, and picked up by, the Salvation Army. What a lesson in recycling and giving!
Send a school-wide newsletter home, asking for the donation of "gently worn and clean" clothing for a fundraiser. Explain that the proceeds will be donated to your local community shelter. Be sure to include the time and dates parents can come to shop at your "store."
To actually run your store, it's helpful to enlist parent volunteers. You may need to rearrange your room for a few days, adding some tables for the clothes. Parents can be an enormous help with the sorting and folding of clothes, and helping students to count money and give back change. Students can make signs to label the clothing areas. Men's Clothing, Women's Clothing, Infant and Toddler Clothing, Young Adult Clothing, and Shoes are just some of the signs students may want to write and illustrate.
Students can also work on posters to invite folks to the actual sale. These can be posted around the school. Notify the shelter to which you are donating that you would like to have a representative come to your class to talk with students about how the money will be used to help people.
Enlist the aide of other schools in your district to hold similar fundraisers for the same charity.