How it works
The Do the Write Thing Texas Challenge began in Houston, Harris County as part of the nation-wide Do the Write Thing Challenge and has expanded across Texas.
Through students engaging in thoughtful classroom discussions about bullying, youth violence and family abuse and its impact on their lives, the challenge seeks their opinions of the causes and solicits their thoughts for solutions. The written composition portion fosters logic, creativity and literacy. The Challenge gives the students a forum in which to have their voices heard and their ideas valued. Reflection upon the causes and effects of violence instills personal responsibility.
Teachers are provided a lesson plan for Classroom discussions and the writing assignment. The Lesson Plan meets Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) objectives in the subjects of English/Language Arts, Social Studies and Health/PE. Students formulate their essays around the answers to these three questions:
How has violence affected my life?
What are the causes of youth violence?
What can I do about youth violence?
The students then write on these issues. It is heartening that, almost unanimously, they reach the conclusion that personal responsibility and positive conduct are keys to a healthy civil society. Additionally, the program teaches children how to deal with anger, slights, bullying and other conflicts in a constructive way, without resorting to violence. Also addressed are the subjects of resisting peer pressure, avoiding illicit drug usage and seeking help for family abuse.
Recognition and acknowledgement of all participants is an integral feature of this project. Every student who submits an essay receives a Certificate of Recognition. Each paper is read by community volunteers who select a boy and girl with the most thought provoking essays from each school as Student Finalists. The Student Finalists, their parents, teachers, principals and superintendents are invited to a recognition celebration.