With the crisp air settling in, and the leaves marking a trail of yellow and orange on our driveways and sidewalks, it is clear, Thanksgiving is upon us. Lesson planning on the 101 facts about Thanksgiving has officially begun, as we gear up to inform our students about the significance of the this historical holiday. This year, more than any year before, we want to encourage our students to be thankful and appreciate all they have - but for some reason, it still feels like something is missing - and it’s not a turkey.

A question is left unanswered. A very IMPORTANT question, has been left unanswered.

Is it, simply enough, to just be thankful? To elaborate, is it enough to appreciate all that we have or are given, in a brief moment of thankfulness OR, should we be expected to do more? Should we, be held to a higher standard of care and consideration for those, both in our immediate circle of concern, an idea pioneered by Making Caring Common, and those outside of it? Simply put, should we feel responsible for paying our appreciation forward?

At Design for Change USA, we believe Thanksgiving is a time to be reflective and to think about about the challenges facing many communities, locally, nationally, and internationally. It is a time to pause and remember, we are part of something much greater than ourselves.

This Thanksgiving, we would like to invite our DFC family to dive into the history and policies that surround the holiday, while reflecting on both the concepts of equity and access in the USA. Using Design for Change Design Sprints, teachers can access short ready to go lesson plans, connected to one of the 17 Global Goals, starting with Global Goal #2 - Zero Hunger. These Thanksgiving appropriate lesson plans and activities, help students go beyond traditional food drives, to developing a deep sense of empathy to the root causes of social injustices right in their own schools and neighborhoods.

DFC USA 2016 Ambassadors share their project on food desserts at the DFC Global Conference in China!

Design Sprints are free lesson plans which are intentionally flexible and designed to highlight the authentic voices of those affected by a specific problem e.g., Life in an American Food Dessert. They can happen in one, four hour sessions, or across multiple sessions depending on time available. Students begin by listening to a podcast connected to a specific Global Goal, and respond to what they’re hearing, feeling, and thinking using the DFC Feel, Imagine, Do, Share process. The result is a shared action plan, which can serve as a stand alone experience or a springboard into a full project. Design Sprints have the potential to spark curiosity in specific Global Goals while providing students the opporunity and tools to take action. Design Sprints further encourage students to conduct their own research, collect credible sources of information, and then dissect them for tone, voice, content and perspective. Students engage in collective brainstorming, designing and implementing their solutions to create meaningful social impact. This is the DFC journey.

At DFC, our goal is simple, to design a better a better Thanksgiving experience for educators, and their elementary, middle and high school students. Let’s give all students an opportunity to harness their own potential for creating meaningful and long lasting social change, not by luck, but by design.