Pinwheel House for Healing Classrooms

Sabrina Urquhart's picture
Posted by Sabrina Urquhart on
Tue, 03/29/2016

We enjoy hearing and sharing stories like this one from West Virginia, about the creative ways Healing Classrooms Challenge Teams integrate the Challenge into their curriculum and / or student activities. How is your team helping young people learn, connect and take action through the Challenge? Email us with your story and photos for our blog!


"The entire North Elementary School in Morgantown, West Virginia created pinwheels to help the children in Syria. We are registered with Students Rebuild as North Elementary School and we have 850 people on our team. We made 900 pinwheels to help [the International Rescue Committee's] Healing Classrooms program. 

Rather than mailing the pinwheels in, we created a sculptural project to pay it forward. All the students in our school created a pinwheel after hearing about the story of Healing Classrooms. Then my fifth-grade students created a small house out of a stove box and covered it in pinwheels. Inside the house, my fifth-grade students  told the story of the Bezos Family Foundation, the situation in Syria and the pinwheel project [Healing Classrooms Challenge to help. We placed takeaway notes and envelopes with information cards so others could get involved.

Our little pinwheel house is currently on display at the Monongalia Arts Center in Morgantown, West Virginia. Students in grades Kindergarten through 12th grade will all have work at this exhibit and my students are so excited to have the opportunity to teach others about the Healing Classrooms project.

We have students at our school from all over the world including Syria and surrounding Middle Eastern countries. As an art teacher, I find it valuable to show students that, though there may be difficult things happening in the world, they can do something to help.

While my students were working on the little house in the hallway outside of the art room, they experienced firsthand how art can touch other people's lives. A young woman from the University who is in our school assisting some teachers asked what they were doing. They explained what they were making and why they were making it and the next thing I knew, this young woman came into my room and asked if she could make a pinwheel to put on the house. She is from Syria.

Thank you for work at the Bezos Family Foundation. In our world today, it is so important to teach students empathy and respect for other cultures and situations. It is also empowering to learn, even at a young age, that we can always do something to help."

Sonda Cheesebrough, NBCT

North Elementary School

825 Chestnut Ridge Road

Morgantown, WV 26505


The Students Rebuild Healing Classrooms Challenge, in partnership with the International Rescue Committee and Global Nomads Group will help Syrian youth from conflict areas recover from crisis and grow into happy, healthy adults. The Bezos Family Foundation will match every pinwheel you make and mail in with $2--up to $400,000--to support IRC's Healing Classrooms program. The more pinwheels you send in, the more children you'll help!