To introduce students to the theme of this curriculum guide — make a difference — discuss the following phrases:
• Pay it forward: Respond to someone’s kindness to you by being kind to someone else.
• Pay back: Expect payment or beneficial action for what you do; the opposite of pay it forward.
• Do a good deed: Help someone without expectation of payment. It would be nice to receive a thank you or smile, but don’t expect it.
• Be aware: Observe people around you to see who might need a kind word or act of kindness.
• Make a difference: Have a positive effect on someone; act to change a situation or alter circumstances.
Explain to students that making a difference might help other people, animals or the environment. It doesn’t have to be a big project; it can be a simple act of kindness.
Read About Kids and Their Projects
Career Education, English, Reading, Social Studies
Activism and exploration of issues do not need to wait until college. Give students the KidsPost article, "Differenct Ways to Make a Difference," and the KidsPost review, “New book encourages kids to change the world.” in the bood review, KidsPost editor Christina Barron gives her opinion about Kids Who Are Changing the World. The book introduces 45 students (12 from the U.S. and four from Canada).
When it seems that adult leaders aren’t confronting environmental issues, these students are utilizing different disciplines and individual talents to provide solutions. Discuss the students and their projects that are highlighted in the review. What activity or interest stimulated a desire to make a difference? How did “word spread” about the project?
Monitor an Issue
Social Studies, U.S. Government, World History
Read the newspaper to learn about issues, problems and situations that need a solution. After discussion of the day’s news, explain to students that they can select a topic and receive an update from The Washington Post.
“Know the News | Create a News Alert Monitor” provides instructions for teachers to set up a monitor with their students and terms to practice. Teachers who use the e-Replica activity are reminded that the monitor e-mail will go to them.
Begin With a Pencil
Character Education, Journalism, Social Studies
Read the March 1, 2015, Parade Magazine article, “Anything Is Possible.” Three everyday people are featured. Locate on a map where each lives and where their projects are located. What inspired them to act? How is each making a difference?
What advice does each give? Use a pencil as a symbol of finding a problem and honing a focus. Use the pencil to brainstorm ways their class might begin by finding a solution to a local problem.
Preview Through a Photograph
Art, Journalism, Media Literacy, Visual Literacy
Nine photographs from the many images captured by Washington Post staff photographer Linda Davidson are presented in a photo gallery. Refuge photographs were taken in October 2014 when Davidson and Post correspondent Kevin Sullivan visited Turkey, Jordan and Lebanon to report on the Syrian refugee crisis.
Ask students to look at each story. What can they tell about the people and their circumstances from the images? Teachers might cut the nine photographs into groups of three or individual images to give to student groups. The images may also be located online at Refuge for projection to the class. Questions would include:
• Who is in the photograph? What details reveal something about the person(s)?
• Where is the photograph taken? Any details give you a hint?
• What do you think has happened to the person(s)?
• What emotion is conveyed through the image?
The story behind each photograph may be read at Refuge: 18 Stories From the Syrian Exodus.
Write a Book Review
English, Journalism, Social Studies
Teachers can introduce students to book reviews through Christina Barron’s review of Kids Who Are Changing the World.
• What information about the book is provided?
• Barron highlights two students who are included in the 45 exemplary young people. What kind of information is provide about both of them?
• If the information about Olivia and Felix is typical of the book, will the book be a good one to read to learn about different ways to make a difference?
A previous NIE curriculum guide focuses on writers, books and the review of books. Teachers are encouraged to peruse Reviewing a Whirl of Books. It includes guidelines for younger and older students to write a book reviews as well as examples of book reviews from The Post’s Book World.
Give older students “Review a Book Review.” These reviews may be posted in your classroom, outside your classroom in a display or published in student media. They could be part of a focus on a topic.