Monday, October 27, 2014

Teaching Kindness

Principal ponderings...

Hopefully by this point, every adult in the building has had a chance to read the book, Each Kindness. I'm also hoping that all of our students have either had the story read to them or they have read the book themselves.  Just recently, I read the following blog post from Edutopia:

Here's a quote from the blog that discusses the ability of kindness to actually change your brain:
"Kindness changes the brain by the experience of kindness. Children and adolescents do not learn kindness by only thinking about it and talking about it. Kindness is best learned by feeling it so that they can reproduce it."
And here's another older blog post which contains a video clip about the 'Finding Kind' documentary, a look at the history of girls being mean to each other.

As I have been researching this concept of teaching kindness, I came across this youtube clip about a Kindness School.  The school is built on the concept of teaching kindness first and then students naturally want to develop themselves academically.  It's a quick clip, but it certainly gives you a lot to think about.  I especially love the project they did of putting positive notes in library books!

I am going to start adding some messages about kindness to our morning announcements.  I have also thought about putting a box in the lobby for students to drop of random acts of kindness that they noticed and we will announce those.

What ideas or projects have you been doing with your classes or what are you thinking about doing?

Currently reading:
I know I talked about it last week, but I just have to repeat that I loved reading Kate DiCamillo's book, Flora and Ulysses.  Feel free to come borrow a copy for your classroom!  Today, I read the book White Fur Flying.  This was a quick read, but a great story that has some great character development and an interesting story line to discuss.  Thanks to Grace, Mark and Laurie for recommending this book!
I am still reading Capture the Flag by Kate Messner.  I also starting skimming through a book I picked up at our book fair, Real Talk for Real Teachers.  It is by Rafe Esquith, and I enjoyed reading his other book Lighting Their Fires, so I thought this advice book for teachers would be a good read. 

Events this week:
Monday - Liz at DESE Summit for the day, Latin Class @ 3:30
Tuesday - District tech team will be in our building to provide tech support from 11:00-1:00, Latin Class @ 3:30, Spanish Class @ 3:15
Wednesday - Library Fund Committee Meeting @ 8:30 in the library, 4th grade chorus practice at 2:25 in the gym, School Committee Meeting @ 7:00 (School Improvement Plans presentation), Round Table Discussion on mental health at the Black Box @ 7:00
Thursday - Curriculum Half Day, dismissal @ 12:15, Spirit Day - 'Dress Like a Book Character' Day!
Friday -  Happy Halloween!

Great things I noticed last week:

  • FloRo and Swallow Union teachers came together for some great math discussions during our half day; actually our discussions were about math discussions!  Have you tried out any talk moves or strategies with your class yet?  1st and 2nd grade teachers learned a new place value game that they can play with their students.  And 3rd and 4th graders took a practice PARCC test and discussed how they will begin preparing their students for this new online assessment. 

  • I love getting mail from students!  This week I was excited to receive a letter from a group of 1st graders.  They were asking me to come read to them, which of course I did after reading their letter.  I told them that I loved the compliment in the letter; they told me I was "the best reader in the whole wide world!" :)
  • Loved seeing some book recommendations posted in the library!
  • I noticed some great teacher collaboration this week.  Mr. Coronis's class invited Mrs. Mills' and Mrs. Volpe into their classroom.  Then the adults modeled what a book talk looks like.  They were discussing White Fur Flying. (Which was why I was motivated to go and read that book this weekend!)  They demonstrated how a book talk flows and how the people involved really build off of each other.  The students commented on what they noticed during the talk.  How great to bring students from different grade levels together!
  • And on Sunday we had a beautiful fall day for the Halloween parade in the center of town.  I was a surprise evil purple minion from 'Despicable Me'...and got to ride in a convertible with hundreds of kids following behind!

Check it out:
Google random acts of kindness or search that topic on youtube...see what you find!

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