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Sunday, 6 April 2014

Kindness Counts!

Last year, I taught grade 4/5 in a small school.  Over 1/4 of all the students in the school were in my class (30 out of 110)!  Because we were a small school, there was only one class per grade, so for most of my students, they had been with the same friends in the same classes since Kindergarten.  By the time they came to me, they were a little sick of each other.

I had a lot of fighting within friend groups in the class, several meetings with parents, desk switches almost every week, and regular visits with the counselor.  When those strategies didn't work, I decided to try something new.  I wanted my students to come up with kind things to say about one another.  We started playing team building games in gym and I was trying to recognize when students did nice things for each other.

I also wanted each student to know how special they were to the class.  I gave every student a copy of the class list and asked them to write down one nice thing about everyone.  When they finished, I asked each student to come up to the chalkboard while his and her peers wrote the nice things behind them.  I took pictures of each student with his or her positive attributes and gave the pictures to the students on the last day of school as a reminder that they were appreciated in our class.  The Grade 5's were moving on to Middle School, so it was a memento of their last year in elementary school.

Here are some of the photos:

Highlighting their kindness really worked!  When we were finished, I was ready to move on to the next lesson, but my students all stopped me and said that it wasn't fair because I didn't get a turn.  They sat me down and all swarmed around me to write their kind words for me on the chalkboard.  One of my students took the picture and I was so overwhelmed with gratitude for my class and how wonderful they were that I actually cried.

Here's my photo:

This picture is such a nice memento for me to keep to remember that class.  They were tough a lot of the time, but this picture reminds me of why I do this job.  It helps me know that I am making a difference for my students.

1 comment:

  1. This almost made me cry too. You are an amazing teacher and an inspiration to all those kids. You'll be one of the good ones they remember for the rest of their lives. :)