I have made it my mission to teach my students all year to monitor their feelings and to think before they respond and act. That’s just the beginning. I run a tight ship where everyone is expected to clean up their own messes in all sense of the word. My students are held accountable for the choices they make and consequences are swift, appropriate, and consistent. In my classroom it’s OK to be wrong, and we honor those moments for the rich lessons they afford us. We say ‘please’, ‘thank you’, and ‘I’m sorry’. We accept appologies, but not behavior. I promote kindness and mindfulness. As such, we have started the “Act of Kindness Challenge”. We brainstormed what an act of kindness is, and we have planned and written about said plans. When a student performs their act of kindness, they get a strip of paper to write about it on, and that paper will be a ring in a chain. Our goal is to have the chain reach from one side of the room to the other (the shorter width, there is only a month left of school!). My students are beyond excited and very motivated. Our mission took a brief hiatus when a student came back and proudly announced they gave a stranger a ride to the bus station. We talked about safety and the fact that not all people on this Earth are good. Yikes!
The other day, one of my students asked, “After we do our act of kindness, do we get a ‘high 5’?” This concept of self-gratification and extrinsic reward is one this challenge is meant to destroy. I have a lot of work ahead of me. We all do.
I plan on updating my blog as new “ah ha’s” arise and self-realization is born in my students and myself. I hope I will be able to post a picture of a chain of kindness that runs across our classroom (that wasn’t rewarded with class “high 5’s).