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How Do You Educate Students to Do Social Good

Do we really need to educate students to do social good? Isn’t it more important they learn the basics like reading, math and science? The research has been clear. Teaching your children to give will have lasting benefits including:

Improved health
Reduced stress
Depression is reduce
Increase in social well-being
Increase in grade point averages
Reduces Bullying

What if altruism could in fact be woven into the fabric of a students education without sacrificing other subjects that are vitally important? What if giving could be part of a teachers regular daily lesson plan?

Lindsay Story, teacher of a grade 2 class at Pauline Johnson School did just that by incorporating The 365give Challenge into her class this past week. Pauline Johnson has embrace the 365give Challenge over the past 5 weeks creating an environment of kindness and altruism at the school. Lindsay’s weekly journal of her classes daily giving will answer the question “How Do You Educate Students to Do Social Good?”

The 365give Challenge: Week 5

Our chance to participate in our first week of giving as part of the 365Give Challenge was fast approaching. We had been waiting in anticipation and cheering on other classes as they got the project up and running. The week of February 10th  -14th was designated as our first week of giving. The students have been submitting ideas to the “Giving Jar” we created for weeks and we started to discuss which ideas might be the most feasible. Today we voted as a class to decide which “Gives” we’re going to do for our first of 2 weeks of giving. We tried to choose “Gives” that will benefit people, animals, and the environment, or a combination of all three!

Day 1: Personal Give

Monday was our Family Day holiday, the students were responsible for choosing a“Give” on their own, or with their family, to fulfil on that day. Some of the ideas students came up with were:

walking a neighbour’s dog, or going to the SPCA to see if they could volunteer to walk one of the dogs.
helping with household chores, cooking, grocery shopping, etc…without being asked!
helping an elderly person in the family, or on the street, carry grocery bags or assist walking across the street etc.

The students were responsible for recording this “Give” with a photo to be sent in for The 365give Challenge book.

Day 2: Hay Park Clean-Up

The students were keen to pick up garbage in the school playground. Since the school playground has been cleaned up in previous 365give Challenge weeks, we thought we would try somewhere different. We walked from the school to Hay Park to pick up any garbage in our 2nd “Give” of the week.  We chose this “Give” in order to benefit the local environment, animals, and community.  We were pleased to find very little garbage in the park, but we had to stop quite a bit en route to and from the school in order to clean up the side walks and the streets.

Day 3: PJs with a Purpose

World Cancer Day was on February 4th, and we have been touched by cancer in our class, so the students wanted to do something to help those fighting cancer.  Kids with cancer spend a considerable amount of time in pajamas while undergoing treatment.  PJs with a Purpose is a fun and educational event that allows students to help those kids. Today was another big success as we arrived at school wearing our pajamas for our 3rd “Give” of the week. The students did a great job of explaining to others in the hallways and on the playground why we were all dressed in our pajamas that day. We even had students make an announcement to the whole school over the PA system so the word spread quickly! PJs with a Purpose aims to build awareness around paediatric cancer, as well as funds and we did exactly that! At the end of the day we counted together all the money we raised and the students were pleased that we raised $112.50 for Team Finn. Our goal was to make it over $100 and we accomplished our goal!

Day 4: Healthy Biscuits for Animals in Need

Today was the 100th Day at school. We wanted to plan a “Give” that would incorporate our theme of 100! The students decided that together we could make 100 dog biscuits to be donated to a rescue centre in North Vancouver.  It was the highlight of the day making our dog treats for the “Cross Our Paws Rescue Centre”.  Once the kids started, they couldn’t stop, and in the end we counted 200 treats in all! We have made a few different flavours that we hope the dogs will enjoy – Terrific Turkey Stew, Scrumptious Sweet Potato, and Peanut Butter Pumpkin! We used our math skills as we measured the ingredients, and we were all involved in stirring and making the dough.  Once the dough was ready, each student received a ball of dough to work with and the task of creating 5 biscuits. The students were very excited and they each made as many treats as possible. We have some hearts, stars, dog bones and some special surprises too. We’re pretty sure the rescued dogs will appreciate our hard work, but I think the students will also remember how much fun we had!

Day 5: Valentine’s Cards for Seniors

We all know that Friday February 14th is Valentine’s Day so it only makes sense that we plan our “Give” around this special day. I got the sense that the students were most thrilled about our trip to the West Vancouver Senior Centre to hand out our handmade Valentine’s Day cards and some chocolates as our final “Give” for this first week of The 365Give Challenge.  The kids sang on the way down to the centre and I could tell that we were all full of happiness as we embarked upon our last “Give” of the week.  The students entered the centre respectfully and walked around looking for a senior to present a card or chocolate to.  I have never seen a group of people so thrilled to receive us, their faces lit up with big smiles, and many wanted to pass on a hug in return.  The students had expressed a strong desire to do something that would benefit the seniors in our community, and I have no doubt that we hit the jackpot!  We met friends who were playing card games, and others who were watching the Olympics.  We met a group of men who were playing pool, and a group of women who were creating beautiful quilts.  The students passed out their cards and their chocolates to different strangers and wished them a “Joyeux Saint Valentin” and a “Happy Valentine’s Day”.  Many students were keen to continue introducing themselves even after their cards and chocolates were given away, and some asked to have their picture taken.  The whole experience truly warmed my heart and many of the students expressed that this was their favourite “Give” of the week.  One little one expressed that we had saved the best for last, and I can’t help but agree!

I hope that you all have enjoyed hearing about our 365give journey as much as we have enjoyed planning, preparing, and carrying out our “Gives”.  I have felt a tremendous sense of community in the class as we have all worked together to accomplish our goals.  It has also been a pleasure to witness students thinking about people, animals, and the environment, with more compassion and empathy.  I hope that you have also seen this in your child at home! I think it’s safe to say that we’re all looking forward to our next special week of giving with The 365Give Challenge!

A very special thank you to Lindsey and her class for making such a
positive impact on the world. You week of giving was truly inspiring.
If you would like your school to join The 365give Challenge for the Fall 2014please contact us and let us help your students change the world one day at a time.

What people are saying about 365give

“I wanted to express my gratitude for the teaching you provided today. Your message was delivered eloquently, compassionately, and without judgment. The kids were engaged, and now have knowledge with which they can change the world. We all appreciated how you took the time to help us learn to build positive mindsets and practice happiness.”
Shelley Gardner, Grade 6 Ridgeview Elementary (West Vancouver)
“Actions really do speak louder than words, which is why I believe the 365give Challenge has resonated throughout my community. Every give we do is so important to us and leaves us happier and appreciating our lives a little bit more than before.”
Mahina Niyozova (Tajikistan)
“After watching the 365give TEDx Talk, I was inspired to join and begin a daily giving program in India. Today, along with 12 other volunteer women, we provide 100 meals to local underprivileged children in Bangalore for school every day.”
Deepika Ahuja, Mom (Bangalore, India)
“My life has greater meaning now.”
Renate Jorge, @BeKindBrazil and 365give Member, Family Program (Brazil)
“I just wanted to share that 365give really helped me. I am a better person now, thank you.”
MayLee, 365give Member, Individual Program
“This 365give Challenge has really injected excitement and extra enthusiasm in each work day as I think about what we can do. It has motivated me and the students.”
Cristina Peters, School Counselor (New York City, USA)
“I have seen a huge shift in energy throughout my classroom since doing the 365give Challenge. The Challenge has empowered my students to make a positive difference in the school’s community and beyond.”
Cella Adriana, Special Needs Educator /The Holliswood School (New York City, USA)
“The 365give Challenge helps students understand their impact on others. It opens avenues for introducing and discussing global and local issues in classrooms. It is powerful to watch students of all ages think about how they can make a change in another person’s life with one small act.”
Jessica Hall, Primary Teacher, French Immersion at École Pauline Johnson (West Vancouver, Canada)