Here are some FAQs about the Challenge. If you don’t find what you’re looking for, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Challenge is currently designed for students in grades 4-8.
The Challenge fits into any broader Character Education or Social Emotional Learning (SEL) curriculum, which is defined as “the process through which children and adults acquire the knowledge, attitudes, and skills they need to recognize and manage their emotions, demonstrate caring and concern for others, establish positive relationships, make responsible decisions, and handle challenging situations constructively.” The Challenge can serve as a platform for teaching broader SEL ideas and concepts.
Technically, there is no limit to the size of a team. A team could be one class or two or more classes together. We recommend a team size of 10-40 students to promote familiarity among students and peer-to-peer collaboration (both good friends and those not typically in the students’ social circles).
Yes. We can structure your Challenge so that multiple Teams have access to each other’s pages. For example, if you have three classes running the Challenge, each can have their own Team Page as well as the ability to comment and view what students in the other classes are doing.
Absolutely. In fact, we advise teachers to participate and mentor students—modeling gifts that highlight and enhance curriculum and those that may be a reach. If you are signed on as a teacher, you are on the Roster and have your own My Page. Your gifts and comments are viewable to the students and teachers on your team.
Yes. However, only teachers who intend to fully participate in the Challenge—give, record, and model reflection and commenting—should join the Student Roster. To do so, they simply log on as a student. If a teacher would rather observe the Challenge, assign him/her to the Parent Roster.
Absolutely. Co-teaching with another teacher(s) can strengthen the experience. At some schools, co-teachers have included heads of schools, assistant heads of schools, special project directors, and librarians—anyone who supports the Challenge.
The Challenge is password-protected. To join a team, students are asked to provide their first and last names and their email address. However, all names appear on the site simply as the first name and the last initial, and all email addresses are erased from the system six months after completion of the Challenge. Only the teachers involved in the designated Challenge and ThinkGive staff can see full names. If you would like more information on the platform security, please contact us at email@example.com.
Ideally, yes. The program is called a Challenge for a reason. We advise you to present the Challenge in this light. It’s okay if students miss a prompt; however, remind them that if they want to gain from the Challenge and to be an active team member—by filling out give-figures, building up their Team Page, and giving and receiving feedback—they need to give. Furthermore, if they want to earn a virtual ThinkGive badge, which is posted on their My Page at the end of the Challenge, they need to give 100% of the time.
We designed the Challenge with a few goals in mind: to provide young people with a way to give that is meaningful in the context of their lives; to offer an environment where the inspiration to give comes from within; and to inspire young people to learn from their own actions and from each other. Students who complete the Challenge may be affected in very different ways. Some may finish unaffected. Most finish with a stronger awareness of others and a greater sense of their own power to make change occur through kindness and giving. We want these feelings of accomplishment and pride to emerge from within the child rather than from any sort of external prize. This is the true takeaway and will inspire the lasting change in how these young people live their lives.
Initially, students will likely find the exercise to be easy and will give within their comfort zones to close friends and family. As the prompts encourage giving beyond this zone, some students maybe become frustrated. They are being asked to be more introspective. Encourage them to step into their courage zone; this is where the learning happens. When a student feels a sense of accomplishment in giving, his/her vision will likely begin to shift. Their awareness of others will increase, and they will look outside of their close circle of friends and family to their greater community. They will go through their days open to and even seeking giving opportunities, and their concept of philanthropy will mature.
Encourage your student to step into their courage zone by thinking in a broader and bigger and bolder way. Rather than suggesting a specific gift, recommend that they look at the giving ideas interspersed throughout the website and think creatively about how to act on one. Or encourage them to think of a kindness they have experienced that they might want to share with someone else.
Encourage students to reach—not to give a bigger gift, but to give in a way they otherwise might not have. Ask students to give something they wouldn’t ordinarily give. Something extra because of the Challenge. Don’t be afraid to push a little. Watch for students who are giving “easy” gifts (those lacking mindfulness) or repeating the same gift every day. Encourage these students to challenge themselves.
Remind your student of the importance of small acts. Even the seemingly tiniest act of kindness can have a huge impact. Remind him/her that there is no way of knowing which acts will hold significance for whom or how great the potential impact will be.
You have access to all gifts and comments so that you can easily identify problem areas. We advise you to inform your students that both you (and possibly their parents) will be watching the Challenge to ensure that all conversation remains positive and inclusive. This is a learning opportunity for developing responsible digital citizenship.
Direct parents to the Parent link, which offers a great deal of information as well as a list of FAQs. If a parent has specific concerns or needs, we suggest that you speak with them directly.
Yes. Your ThinkGive representative will direct you to the appropriate curriculum for your team. On the Curriculum page, you can download PDFs and PowerPoints. If you design your own curriculum and it proves to be engaging, please consider sending it to Penny Austen at firstname.lastname@example.org. With your permission, we will post it on the site for other teachers to use.
Yes. The program has the flexibility to meet your needs. You can spread out the curriculum to make the Challenge more manageable. When you set up your Challenge, you can choose to extend the length of time between prompts. For example, instead of requiring giving and recording every 24 hours, you can allow 48 hours. If there is a long weekend during the course of your Challenge, you can pause the program and restart when you are ready to continue.
Make room in your schedule to teach the curriculum provided. This doesn’t mean all the material needs to be presented. Choose the areas you’d like to focus on. Allow time for student discussion and participation in class. Ask students to reflect on gifts given (both their own and others). Ask open-ended questions. Dig deeper on a concept when student interest is evident.
Remind students of the following every day:
Being kind gives to givers not just receivers.
Aim for spontaneity when giving. See an opportunity and give.
Definitely. Provide one or two additional questions per day in the “Submit a Gift” section—the questions that appear in the pop-up box when a student records their gift. This adds variety, asks students to reflect more on their gifts and the impact they might have had, and gives you a way to revisit curriculum topics in a reflective manner. Try to enter all reflective questions in advance of the start of your Challenge. It’s one less thing you’ll need to think about every day. You can always change, add, or delete a question as you go, but it is best to plan which questions you think might deepen the experience.
Your curriculum includes ideas for closure on the final day. General guidelines include:
Look together at the Team Page visual. Celebrate the total number of gifts given. Help your students understand the amazing number of gifts they gave as a team over the course of the Challenge—and focus on the great number of people who were positively affected.
Discuss the experience of the Challenge. Ask your students if they felt empowered on certain days? Were some days difficult? Did they want to give up at any point? If so, were they glad they persevered?
Discuss how to integrate the Challenge into their lives. How will this experience affect them tomorrow and the next day? Will they keep giving? If so, how? Through continued acts of kindness? You might discuss volunteering and direct them to the Cool Stuff page for ideas.
Consider ending the Challenge on a day when a sense of closure and/or celebration already exists at your school. For example, schedule it to end at the time of your school’s Thanksgiving Assembly. Or to coincide with the recognition of Martin Luther King Day. Or to kick-off a particular service project your class or school participates in. Think through your school year and look for these types of natural connections. This will give you the opportunity to make both experiences even more powerful.
The Teacher Forum is a place to chat with other teachers who either have led or are leading a Challenge. You can read posts and comments. You can ask questions and hear suggestions from other teachers. You can integrate others’ best practices when designing your own Challenge. Just sign on. You will receive an email when there is new a post so you can stay connected to the ongoing discussion.
Yes. Just go to the Bring the Challenge page, complete a sign-up form, and we’ll be in touch to walk you through setting up a Challenge.
There are several ways:
Recommend the Challenge to teachers within your school or in other schools. We need program champions like you to spread the word!
Be filmed talking about your experience. We’re putting together a stream of clips for teachers who are considering bringing the Challenge to their school.
Encourage your students to be interviewed for a similar video clip that would be accessible to other students, parents, and teachers involved in the Challenge.
Share your curriculum if you developed your own and found it to be engaging.