Tuesday, March 7, 2017

When Ordinary is Extraordinary

For the past few weeks, our students have been digging deeper into planning their Kindness Passion Projects. Thanks to the power of Google Docs and Google Classroom, our students have been able to brainstorm ideas both in person and virtually as they've collaborated on digital idea sheets shared with small groups.

One thing we discovered when brainstorming ideas is that it was challenging to start with the ideas first. Sure, we could come up with a few here and there, but then we were stuck. Realizing this, I gathered the students together and took a step back, turning this mental roadblock into a teachable moment about writing for an audience.

"Let's start with the who instead of the what. Can anyone help me think of who we could bless with kindness?"

Within minutes, our digital page was filled with potential recipients and the chatter of student voices filled the room as their excitement grew. The rest of our time together was productive as each group filled their sheet with ideas. From there, I compiled all their ideas into a master list of kindness ideas to help them spark an inspiration of what they might want to do for their Passion Project. 

If you read our list, you may think these project ideas are rather... well, ordinary. No one is winning the lottery and giving their winnings to charity. No one is purchasing a home for someone else or taking all their family members on a vacation to Disney World. No, our ideas are pretty simple and straightforward with the end result of simply making someone else smile, or "being the good" we want to see in the world.

We learned from Ordinary Mary's Extraordinary Deed, by Emily Pearson, that even the most basic act of kindness can have a global impact. By the end of the story, Mary's simple deed of bringing her neighbor a basket of blueberries set off a pay-it-forward chain of kindness that impacted 6,103,515, 625 people. WOW! Imagine the impact you can have on this world with one simple act of kindness! Talk about empowering!

Acts of kindness multiply!
Our students are now creating their planning pages and participating in Kindness Conferences to finalize their plans. Thanks to the Hanover Education Foundation, each student will receive $10 in mid-March and put their projects into motion. I can't wait to hear the results from their kindness!
One student's planning page
Students researching items costs

Sharing ideas in Kindness Conferences

You can help us with our mission to share kindness with the world by sharing this blog post or giving a shout-out to our website: http://bit.ly/MESkindness. You can also comment on this blog post to let us know how our lessons and projects have inspired you to show kindness to others or perhaps start a kindness initiative in your own school or community! We look forward to seeing how our kindness can impact people we've never even met!