This challenge explores the contributions that people make to groups. Select a story that depicts a range of positive contributions made by various characters (e.g., Wanda's Roses by Pat Brisson). Read the story to the class and discuss in general terms the theme of helping others. Before rereading the story, review the characters in the story. Assign a number to each student (in the case of Wanda's Roses, there are six characters) and then attach a number to each of the characters (e.g., Wanda is "one", Mrs. Turner is "two"). Each time one of the characters appears in the story, students are to listen carefully for the things that character does to help other people. After the second reading of the story, ask students to gather with others who had the same character number to share what they have learned about how their character helped others. Ask each group to share what they learned about their character, including what were the results of the helping actions (e.g., because Wanda cleaned up around the bush, the lot looked better; because Mr. Claudel helped Wanda clean up, Wanda felt encouraged). Record the action and the results in two columns on chart paper using stick drawings. As the groups share, respond to their suggested results by asking if the action helped only the person who did it, or helped others as well. Point out that making a positive contribution to the group means that the actions help others and not simply the person doing the action. As an extension, invite students to consider actions they and others perform in the classroom and indicate whether or not their actions had positive results on others. Use stick drawings to record the actions and results in two columns on chart paper. Ask students to identify those actions that contribute to the group and those that simply benefit the doer.
Adapted from Mary Abbott, Roland Case and Jan Nicol (eds), Contributing to Family and Community (Richmond, BC: The Critical Thinking Consortium, 2002), pp. 7-13.