Sunday, December 8, 2013

Inclusive Schools Week

"Ms. Albert, says, that everything we do goes out, like a ripple into the world." This excerpt is from the book, Each Kindness, written by Jacqueline Woodson, which our principal read to the class the other day as part of "Inclusive Schools Week".  The story is about a young school girl who misses several opportunities to befriend a classmate.  She finally makes a decision to be friendly to the other child only to find out that child moves away.  The end of the story is not what one would expect as the main character is left feeling she should have done things differently. 
Creating ripples by adding a kindness rock
The students (and I) were moved by this book.  So much so they were asking if there was a sequel. It gave us an opportunity to talk about friendship, inclusion and simple ways to make someone feel connected.   Next we discussed "Random Acts of Kindness".  Students brainstormed how to "Treat Others Like You Want to be Treated".  A few thoughts included: holding the door for someone, passing the ball to someone who usually doesn't get it; help find a missing item and Smile at someone.  

Knowing I must do something with these ideas,  I decided I needed to find a way for students to create "ripples" of their own.  I grabbed a container and filled it with water.  As I have a container of rocks in my classroom I grabbed those too.  And so, the Ten Days of School Random Acts of Kindness was born.  Each student who performs a RAK at school will drop a rock in the container at the end of the day.  We will celebrate the ripples that will surely ensue from these simple yet grand gestures.  
Creating Ripples of Kindness

We started on Friday and were able to collect 12 rocks in our container.  While hoping to fill that bucket before the holidays the long-term goal would be that these acts of kindness will continue way beyond our holidays and creep into our lives by habit!

Others:  What are some other RAK that could be added to our list for school?


Several other activities students completed as part of "Inclusive Schools Week" celebrated everyone's uniqueness.  A banner was created and each student in the school added their Thumbprint as well as their name.  The banner acted as sort of a pledge for students to include all in their daily activities.  To show commonalities as well as differences students wrote "I AM" poems.  The poem described student's role (brother, son, cousin etc); their hobbies/interests and their personality traits (thoughtful, caring, friendly etc). Students shared and displayed these wonderful pieces of themselves. 


While these were just some of the activities our school shared during this 'highlighted' week, our plan is to continually promote acceptance of diversity. I leave you with this quote by Max De Pree, "We need to give each other the space to grow, to be ourselves, to exercise our diversity. We need to give each other space so that we may both give and receive beautiful things as ideas, openness, dignity, joy, healing and inclusion"


Resources:

Inclusive Schools Week  - Information by the Inclusive Schools Network

Teaching Kids to Embrace Diversity - Ideas broken into age categories from 0 - 11

Cybraryman: Character and Ethics. This collection is filled with all kinds of resources for Character Education which includes Random Acts of Kindness

Random Acts of Kindness Foundation

20 Random Acts of Kindness for Kids: A list of other ideas that go beyond the classroom. 

4 comments:

  1. Nancy,

    As usual, thank you for sharing these amazing resources with classrooms around the world. You are so good at that!

    We've been hearing that kindness programs, such as what you and your students are doing, are more effective than anti-bullying programs. You don't put a highlight on the bully, but on the kids who are choosing kind. Bravo to you and your sweet fourth graders!

    Sincerely,
    Denise

    ReplyDelete
  2. Nancy; You do wonders with your class. What a great time of the year to include the "kindness program" to these children.

    Keep up the good work.

    Dad

    ReplyDelete
  3. Awesome. I loved both comments above and agree completely.

    Teresa

    ReplyDelete

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