This activity began with a pure serendipity moment. A student had gone out of their way to help another. As a class, we were talking about it. Suddenly, I recalled a military term – Above and Beyond the Call of Duty.
I wrote it on the board only to see blank faces across the room. Taking time to explain it, I noticed the first letters of the words were ABCD. Using this, I asked if they would like to pay attention to ABCD moments. They bought the concept, and we were off and running. These were fourth graders.
First, they talked about ways to be kind and help others. I kept a list.
Next, someone suggested that we make something to hand out. They decided circles with numbers or points written on them would show the level of the kindness. As the teacher, I would determine how many points the child got for being kind. (Their list gave me direction.)
One computer literate student offered to create circles at home and put numbers on them. The class told her what numbers. (They were about 5 or 6 inches across.) When she brought them in, I ran off copies on heavier paper. The students then took them home to decorate and color. After they brought them back, I laminated them. Then they cut them out.
Wow. It was a fabulous undertaking!
Once we had our stack of circles – and they were beautiful! – paying attention to kindnesses began…and the kindnesses increased. Picking up a dropped pencil, opening a door, letting someone else go first. For many, it was an art. Baggies were brought in to keep their ABCDs in. Students began giving them to each other. Parents who dropped by mentioned them.
Then, the end of the year neared. What would be done with them? An auction was decided. I cleaned out closets and checked Good Will. Some student brought in items.
The day came, and everyone had their bag of ABCD circles. The rule was only three bids per item. It was explained that we might run out of items, but fun held on.
Then, the surprise. One boy had no ABCD circles. I paused. I asked. The children told me. Every time he earned an ABCD circle, he gave it to someone. The next step was a student suggestion and agreed upon by all – he would get first choice of the auction items. He was amazed. I was grateful.
The auction went on, they traded items and changed their minds. We had a good time.
This happened in the second half of the school year, so it hadn’t gone on for a long time. But, I share this. It might work for you and your students. Or, something like it.