Monday, December 20, 2010

Once Again I have Amazing Kids... Pay it Forward

We start of our 2 Minutes to Make a Difference Project every year with Pay it Forward.  We get the students to watch the movie, reflect on the ideas expressed in the movie and then have them go out and do a Random Act of Kindness.

It all started three years ago when my new teaching team mate Michele was first introduced to the 2 minutes project.  She said that for a few years she had been doing a Pay it Forward unit with her students.  The two ideas meshed perfectly with each other.  Here is an excerpt from the movie...

"You see, I do something real good for three people. And then when they ask how
they can pay it back, I say they have to Pay It three more people. Each. So, nine people get helped. Then those people have to do twenty-seven." He turned on the calculator, punched in a few numbers. "Then it sort of spreads out, see, to eighty-one, then two hundred forty-three, then seven hundred twenty-nine, then two thousand, one hundred eighty-seven. See how big it gets?"

The first year students were a bit perplexed with the whole idea of doing a random act of kindness.  They went and babysat younger siblings for free, shoveled walks and did chores. While these were altruistic and doing a good deed they were weak in the "Random Act" and helping aspects of the Pay it Forward Movement.  Still when the goal is to awaken a feeling of giving and citizenship in 13 year old kids it was somewhat of a success.

The next year we started off the same way as in the past.  One small change occurred the students talked about all of the possible activities they could do right after the movie.  They were excited and almost egging each other on to do bigger and better deeds.  This time the students donated toys to hospitals, volunteered at daycares and sent pillows to soldiers overseas.  The students really understood what was needed to do a Pay it Forward activity.  The best examples was Elijah and her group.  They pooled their own money and created gift baskets for the Children's Hospital.

Which brings us to this year.  I was skeptical of what could be accomplished.  Last years crew had done a great job and I was extremely hopeful that this years crew would be similar.  I was not disappointed.  The students did a great job.  We had boys delivering toys to churches, writing letters to soldiers overseas, and caroling outside of a supermarket to raise funds for a homeless shelter and taking toys to the Childrens Hospital

Here are all of the projects.  Please leave comments behind for the students they would appreciate that.

In an interesting twist I was interviewed by the local CBC with a student about Pay it Forward.  


They had been talking about it all day on the station.  People had called in talking about buying coffee for strangers and purchasing their parking... I emailed the station and told them about the students and their projects.  They interviewed myself and a student.  I guess they now know what a "Pay it forward" can look like.  140 students doing random acts of kindness really ROCKS.  I have great students.



Wm Chamberlain said...

I think that service learning projects have been trivialized through the past few years. As you can attest, these projects are important learning tools for our students. Thanks for the inspiration.

Mr. C

Kerry Mushumanski said...

I had the pleasure of meeting with four students - Shera, Madeline, Jenny and Sarissa - who dropped of "Pay it Forward" gift bags to the children staying at Ronald McDonald House. I was very touched by this kind act and commend them for thinking of others! The kids will enjoy receiving these goodie bags to brighten their day.
Kerry Mushumanski
House Manager
Ronald McDonald House Manitoba

Mr. H said...


Thank you for your comment. This years students are quite amazing too. I appreciate the work it took you to find this site.

Pay it Forward is just the start to teaching citizenship to the students at Sargent Park School.