Wednesday, October 2, 2013

On paying it forward

I blogged a couple of days ago about something exciting that is happening in my AVID classes and I am enthused to be able to share it here now.

You may or may not know that my students and I are huge fans of Kid President.  I have used a few of his videos in my classroom.  I recently saw his Awesome Year Challenge video and knew that I wanted to bring that concept to my AVID kids to start and possibly extend it to my Leadership class.  I decided to make it into a year-long project.  Kid Prez gives us 25 things we can do to make the year awesome for someone else.  Some of them are not very practical (mail someone a corn dog), but some are effortless (smile, high five someone, free hugs).  I made a chart with some of my favorite of Kid Prez's ideas and left spaces for my students to come up with their own.

On Tuesday, when they came into class, I told them I had an exciting project for our class.  I showed them the Awesome Year Challenge video, and then I presented the chart I had made.  I told them we would be keeping track of the good we were doing for others.  It would not be for a grade and there was no pressure.  Doing things for others should not be done for a reward.  I encouraged them to go outside of their comfort zones.  Smiling/high-fiving/hugging your bff doesn't count (unless they're having a really bad day and need a pick-me-up).  I also made sure to point out that not everyone was okay with physical contact and that you shouldn't go around hugging strangers without their permission.  I hung up the chart and some stickers next to it.  Whenever they did something to make someone else's year awesome, they should put a sticker on the box.  Our goal is to make so many awesome years that we cover the whole poster.

 I then gave them time to discuss other things we could add with the people around them.  And while they were doing that, I gave them--cupcakes for no reason!

We brainstormed our own things to add to the chart.  After my 8th grade AVID class yesterday, the chart looked like this:

And undoubtedly, kids in my other classes want to get involved too.  I invited them to add their own stickers for doing nice things.  After 24 hours, our chart looks like this:
Anyone who tweets or instagrams about our project is using the hashtag #AVIDawesomeyear.  We are having a great time.  My heart is full.  My students are awesome.  I can't wait to see what this looks like at the end of the year!

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