Kristen Campbell, a 20-year ELAR teacher and Regional Teacher of the Year at J.T. Hutchinson Middle School, wanted a way to engage her students with the realities of life for our veterans and soldiers – so she created the Wounded Warrior classroom project.
The unit began with a scenario: students would forfeit all electives, as well as their summer break and holidays, to help improve the school. After letting the students feel this loss, Campbell revealed this is what our servicemen and women do for us every day. The scenario was false, but for thousands of military families the situation rings true.
The class then held an assembly with four Wounded Warriors, who detailed their careers and their injuries, both physical and mental; one was shot numerous times in the Ft. Hood terrorist attack, another fought in Benghazi, another was missing both legs. The kids were engaging tough aspects of U.S. history.
Numerous non-fiction texts were read during the unit, such as Unbroken and Band of Brothers. Over a two-week period, each student crafted an interpretive art piece, an individual letter, and a personal reflection. All the student projects would be delivered to soldiers, and many projects were incorporated into a video to be shown to the soldiers as well.
Campbell also organized a Skype session between the students in her classroom and ten Wounded Warriors. The warriors spoke directly to the students during a prepared Q&A session. There were tears on both sides during the candid exchange.
The project enabled Campbell’s students to see the world in new ways. Several students reported that they asked their parents to take them to the local WWII museum and the Veterans Memorial. One student reflected: “When Mrs. Campbell told my class we were losing our electives I was devastated. I was losing everything I cared about. But little did I know, that’s your (Wounded Warrior’s) entire life.” #IAmTXEd #txedLubbock ISD