Attitude & Alphabet

During Hyde’s half-century (+4 years) of existence, countless lessons, exercises, and readings have echoed through classrooms, dorms, playing fields, camping trips, school meetings, discovery groups, etc. As is the case when wisdom is passed down via oral tradition, some of these teachings became timeless go-to favorites while others vanished like vapor. This year, a few of us have been in gathering mode, trying to collect and organize as many of these lessons as we can with an eye toward assembling a virtual library that might serve as a useful resource for future Hyde teachers.

Next week, our teachers will embark on a new and heretofore untried mission as they seek to teach their entire respective spring semester course loads via an exclusively on-line delivery system.  While they will be focused on their academic classes, I thought I might try to make myself useful by offering some of the aforementioned lessons we have gathered thus far. Maybe you are a parent with a child home for a much longer spring break than you had anticipated. Maybe you’re an alum looking for a character lesson for your child or yourself. Maybe you’re a teacher always on the look-out for new material.  Regardless, I’ll shoot to post some of these in the days and weeks ahead. (Note: If there is a lesson you remember from your own student days that was especially meaningful, shoot me an email — mgauld@hyde.edu — and I’ll try to get it out there. You will also be helping us out with our ongoing gathering.)

In any case, I cannot remember when I first saw this one, but it usually sparks good discussion…

On a piece of paper or on a white board, write the letters of the alphabet horizontally from A to Z:

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

Then, from 1 to 26, ascribe a number to each letter so that A = 1, B = 2, C = 3… Z = 26.

Then, ask the students to add up the numbers corresponding to the work KNOWLEDGE:

K = 11, N = 14, 0 = 15, etc…. Which all adds up to 96%

Then, ask them to do the same for HARD WORK:

H = 8, A = 1, R = 18, etc…. Which all adds up to 98%

Discuss the importance of both those words and the coincidence of the letters of those words adding up to such a high percentage.

Then, write the word ATTITUDE on the board and ask them to add up the corresponding numbers:

A = 1, T = 20, T = 20, I = 9, T = 20, U = 21, D = 4, E = 5… Which all adds up to… 100%!!

Reflection:  Ask the students for their thoughts on the exercise. Some sample questions might be:

  • What do you think about the coincidence of those letters and numbers adding up to those percentages?
  • How would you prioritize those three words in your own life?
  • When you stop and think of people with great attitudes, who comes to mind?
  • How could you attitude your improve?

Onward, Malcolm Gauld