SXSWedu 2014

Unleashing Kids' Passion for Compassion


How can you make giving back a part of who kids are, not just something they do?

Imagine a class engaging in a routine charity project. Each student brings in a coat or canned good. But most don't really care about the project. Few remember it on the last day of school. And hardly any can answer the question “What’s your favorite way to give back?” just as easily as they could tell you their favorite color, sport, or subject.

In this session, we’ll discuss how to teach Language Arts in a way that leaves kids able to answer that question, and able to make compassion a fun and sustainable part of their self-identity. We’ll use multimedia to explore peer-reviewed research showing that kids who care about others are more confident, learn faster, and succeed at a higher level. And we’ll examine a Common Core/NAEYC-compliant curriculum based around a team of superheroes who show kids they don’t need to be born on the planet Krypton to have the power to make the world a better place!

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Additional Supporting Materials


  1. How can we teach kids to give back without taking time away from instruction required by common core state standards?
  2. What evaluations have been undertaken to ensure that this is a successful and sustainable program?
  3. What is the difference between an ordinary service project and a curriculum that empowers kids to find a personal, sustainable commitment to giving back?



Justin Walker, Executive Director, Global Game Changers Children's Education Initiative

Meta Information:

  • Event: EDU
  • Format: Core Conversation
  • Track: Civic Engagement & Philanthropy
  • Session Focus Area
  • Level: Intermediate

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