Our school has a tradition of Christmas giving that has spanned over 20 years. Every single student is involved in the process; the kindergarten to grade 4 students attend a Christmas yard and bake sale hosted by our grade 5 and 6 students. The older students use the proceeds (usually in excess of $1000) they make to go shopping to a local grocery store and then hand deliver the food items to our local Shelter House.
This year, due to circumstances beyond our students’ control our school giving tradition has been put on hold. Being in grade 5/6, my students were obviously disappointed. They were saddened because, in their eyes, they wouldn’t be able to make a difference this Christmas. OR could they? I asked my students why they couldn’t make a difference during the Christmas season: “WHAT IF you saw this as an opportunity instead of a closed door?” “WHAT IF each of you started your own Christmas kindness snowball?” And so the ‘M.A.D 4 Christmas Project’ was born.
I traditionally challenge my students to complete a M.A.D Project to begin the new year, but this year would be different. Their guiding inquiry question now became “How Can I Make A Difference This Christmas?”
The kids were excited and empowered! They were ready to take Christmas giving into their own hands! Students started discussing with one another and brainstorming with their parents what they could do to “give 4 Christmas”. They followed our M.A.D Inquiry model and added notes to their M.A.D Journals. Most have an idea in place, but as they’ve heard me say many times before, an idea is nothing without action. A solid plan (answering the 5 Ws-Who, What, Where, When, Why and H-How) must be in place to insure an idea comes to fruition.
I have reminded my students that sometimes the simplist acts for friends, family or our community can make the biggest difference. The important point here is to have an idea that is “doable” and achieveable!
The kids are now on the planning stage of their M.A.D 4 Christmas Projects. I look forward to seeing how they work to put their M.A.D 4 Christmas ideas into action and the differences they will make!
To help model the process, my son Kai and I started a M.A.D 4 Christmas Project “Soccer Balls for Africa” of our own!
Below is a sneak peak at some of the students’ work.
The students have been tasked with putting their M.A.D 4 Christmas plans into action by Sunday, December 18th! This is when the making a difference begins! Once the action has taken place students and parents are encouraged to share the good they have done to inspire and encourage Christmas giving! Watch for updates below as my students share their M.A.D 4 Christmas moments!
Want to start or share a Christmas tradition of your own? Visit: The Give 4Christmas Challenge