Friday, November 11, 2016

Kindness Journals

Today we officially rolled out our kindness initiative in Mrs. Cross' fourth-grade class! We began by reading Those Shoes by Maribeth Boelts. This story, about a boy who wanted the same shoes his classmates wore, resonated with many of our students.

Following the story, we had a great discussion about the feelings people have when they want something they can't have, and how those feelings change when someone does something nice. We asked our students, "How do YOU feel when you receive an act of kindness?"

Students responded with "good" and "great," then we asked them to dig deeper. "What do those words mean? Are there any other words that might better represent the feelings you have?" Oh my goodness! The adjectives tumbled out of our students like rolling rapids! Look at all these awesome descriptors our students shared:

One student replied, "bad" and we asked him to tell us more. "I feel bad when people are nice to me, because I feel like I have to do something nice right back. It feels bad to receive kindness and not do something in return." This is was a very insightful response from a nine-year-old! We discussed how kindness does sometimes makes us feel odd for several reasons: we're aren't used to receiving kindness from others, we don't know what to say in return, we feel like it's wrong to take something from someone one else without an even exchange. We decided the word "uncomfortable" best described this feeling, so we added it to our list.

Next, we created Kindness Journals using composition notebooks and decorated them using markers, tagboard, and tape. The students allowed their creativity to shine as they designed their book covers.

Since today is Friday, we created a #FlyHighFri section in our Kindness Journals to keep a running list of any kind acts we see and do on Fridays, which we will share throughout the year with our classmates and on Twitter.

Students also applied this concept of kindness to their writing as they replied to a #FlyHighFri prompt in their Google Classroom:

It's such a joy to see our students helping each other in class and sharing their experiences with kindness. We have lots of activities planned this year to create a culture of kindness at our school and today was just the beginning! 

A special thanks to the Hanover Education Foundation for funding this grant proposal, "A Passion for Kindness." We can't wait to showcase all the ways our students can be kind to others!