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What is ThinkGive Project?
Drew Mackay, Director of Specialists, Teaching and Learning, The Beauvoir School, Washington, DC
ThinkGive inspires elementary and middle schoolers to become upstanders, changemakers, and leaders in their communities. Our SEL program uses the simple act of giving as a means to promote empathy, inclusion, and understanding in every classroom. Students build a strong sense of self, make meaningful connections, and witness the positive impact of their words and actions.
Our unique experiential learning cycle enables students to see how their actions make a difference—providing them with the knowledge and confidence to want to be changemakers, every day.
1. THINK: Teachers introduce giving themes and explore concepts like kindness, empathy, inclusion, and social courage. Students are prompted to give according to themes that push them from giving to those in their comfort zone (friends and family) to those in their courage zone (acquaintances, community) where real learning occurs.
2. GIVE: Following each lesson, students choose how to give and who to give to. Teachers provide guidance but students own their experience. This practice transforms students into changemakers; they step up and act, building an inclusive classroom and community.
3. REFLECT: Students record their gift and reflect on the experience. Giving and reflecting has two powerful effects: students observe the positive changes that take hold in their community, and they recognize that helping others also enriches their own lives.
4. SHARE: Students share and comment on teammates’ gifts. As students progress into their courage zone, their giving and sharing out becomes braver. Connections between students deepen as they take emotional risks and appreciate others for speaking their truth.
WHY WE DO IT. ThinkGive works! According to a 7th grader, “ThinkGive has and will help me be a more considerate, thoughtful, and compassionate person. Knowing the positive effects I can have on a person is truly amazing.” An 8th grader explains, "ThinkGive made me recognize how I treat others, how they treat me, and how I treat myself."
Post-ThinkGive students report significant impact: 90% understand that simple acts of kindness can make a big difference. 86% will be kinder to others. 79% will make a positive impact on their world (self, others, community). 81% will be a force of good (use kindness and empathy to engage with others). 72% are better at seeing things from someone else’s point of view. And 70% are more socially courageous (willing to stand up for what’s right).
EASY TO TEACH + FLEXIBLE + IMPACTFUL We work with teachers to tailor ThinkGive to best suit their schedule, goals, and classroom needs. Our team makes it easy to seamlessly integrate ThinkGive into existing curricula. We provide comprehensive lesson plans, ongoing support, and a post-program report summarizing student impact and key learnings.
ThinkGive can be a standalone unit for 4-8 graders or complement broader SEL initiatives. All lesson plans are research-based and mapped to CASEL Core Competencies as well as State and Common Core Standards.
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