Put a Little Love in Your Heart

“… We want the world to know, we won’t let hatred grow, put a little love on your heart.  And the world will be a better place …  for you and me…”  ~ Jackie DeShannon

This year my colleagues and I made a conscious decision to place more emphasis on social and emotional health at the onset of the new school year.  There will be plenty of time for reading and writing later on but now, right now, we want our students to embrace kindness.

We began the year sharing  a recent story with our students when FSU football player Travis Rudolph befriended Bo Paske, a young man he saw eating all alone in the middle school cafeteria.  Students, like us, were moved by this act of kindness.  Although it went viral, this was clearly not his intention as he sat down beside Bo.  We wondered, how could we get our students to buy in?

After reading Jacqueline Woodson’s book, Each Kindness, the kindness board was born.  Students enthusiastically discussed Woodson’s message, “Each kindness makes the world a little better.”  Students were given 5 stickers.  We encouraged them to be on the lookout for opportunities for acts of kindnesses.  The important part was not to publicly profess what they had done, but to take the goodness in and anonymously and privately place a sticker on our board in the hallway.

So far so good.  Like ripples on a pond, acts of kindness are begetting other acts of kindness.  We are all working to make fifth grade a better place.  Stay tuned…