In this lesson, students define "pay it forward" and watch a movie (or movie clips) from the movie Pay it Forward. They compare the concept of paying it forward (serial reciprocity) with the work of Martin Luther King, Jr. Then they brainstorm issues and campaigns they can address to make an impact that ripples forward as a result of their influence. Students design a Pledge Banner with a slogan and individual pledges of service that raisees the awareness of an issue they care about. They display the Pledge Banner in an appropriate place of their choice.
One 45-minute class period, plus time to view a film and carry out a service project
The learners will:
This lesson has two service components. Students identify an issue they care about and design and implement a campaign to take action as advocates for change. They also design and create a Pledge Banner that raises awareness of the issue. They choose an appropriate place in which to display the Pledge Banner.
service: to provide a community or organization with something that it needs
donate: to give or present something, especially to a charitable organization or other good cause
paying it forward: the concept of asking that a good turn be repaid by having it done to others
social activism: an intentional action to bring about social, political, economic, or environmental change. It can take a wide range of forms from writing letters to newspapers or politicians, political campaigning, economic activism such as boycotts or preferentially patronizing businesses, rallies, street marches, strikes, sit-ins and hunger strikes.
This lesson includes watching a full-length (123 minute) movie called Pay it Forward. If this is not possible or available, the teacher may choose to show significant clips or summarize the plot and characters. As always, preview the entire film before showing it to the class. This film is rated PG-13 for mature thematic elements including substance abuse/recovery, some sexual situations, language and brief violence.
YouTube clip from the film of the assignment: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N0HTneOLrEc (If you are watching the DVD, the assignment is given between 8-12 minutes on the DVD clock.)
Trevor's idea clip from the film: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1JEQlJRKl-Q&feature=fvwrel (On the DVD, Trevor's idea is explained at 33:00.)
Summary can be found on Amazon and IMDB (Internet Movie Database).
Ask the students to describe some slogans on banners or poster they have seen that raise awareness about an issue or challenge others to do something good (related to education, the environment, health, poverty and hunger, or world peace, or civil rights). Examples: "All People Are Created Equal" or "Recycle" or "Good Planets are Hard to Find" or "Read a Good Book." Talk about whether clever sayings or simple statements get their attention more. Ask whether a banner or poster is an effective way to teach others about issues. Why or why not?
Drawing Journals: Have students keep a journal of their experiences by drawing pictures of each step within the project. This also helps students sequence the events that took place.
Pay it Forward (123 minutes) with Kevin Spacey, Haley Joel Osment, and Helen Hunt. DVD (PG-13) Warner Home Video, 2001. AISN: B00005B4BI
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