The Power of Little Good Things

I just sent this out as part of my newsletter, but wanted to make sure it was seen by as many people as possible.  You can see the newsletter here:

Yesterday, I spoke to 100 4th graders about everyday heroism.  I explained that by doing small good things every day they could be heroes – they could change the world.  I showed them that those small good actions are contagious.

Last night, I saw it in action.

The internet community at had started a campaign to get Stephen Colbert to hold a rally in Washington.  It started as something of a joke, but at about 3:00pm things changed.  Someone suggested donating to one of Colbert’s favourite charities to get his attention.  Colbert sits on the board of Donors Choose, a website that allows teachers to post their classroom needs and donors the opportunity to fund them.  Reddit’s stated goal was to match the two years of donations raised by Hillary Clinton in a week – $29,945.

I found out what was happening after they’d raised $15,000 in three hours.  Reading the unfolding conversation at their site, I was blown away.  I was stuck to my screen, refreshing every few minutes to see what was happening.  I am not ashamed to say I had tears in my eyes.  When I went to bed had broken the Donors Choose website because they had donated so much.  As I’m typing this at nearly noon, they have reached $112,000 through the donations of 2,713 people.  You can see the current total here.  And just to clarify, these are actual donations, not pledges.

Nearly 30,000 students have been affected by this set of actions from 2,713 individuals.  Hundreds of people donated $5 or $20, while others obviously donated much more.  But at the root is the contagious nature of doing little good things.

What could your classroom achieve with a group of small good actions?  The key will be to find something that fires their imagination.  Consider this story for further inspiration (in case you need it).  Students from one of Melbourne’s most exclusive and expensive schools decided they wanted to reach out and help the kids in a kindergarten located in an impoverished area, home to many immigrants.  Read about it here.  ”By actually helping these kids, I feel good,” Thomas says.

The kids you teach every day are capable of changing the world.  Why don’t you find out what they want to do?  (And let me know, so I can share it)


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