Welcome to The Kindness Project! This is my very first blog inspired by my writing class I am taking this summer, (although the idea for The Kindness Project has been with me for a while). I feel like I should start with an intro of who I am and what I wish to achieve with The Kindness Project and this blog.
Who I Am
My name is Sharon and I am a sixth year teacher at ASU Prep Academy. I teach 7th and 8th grade Language Arts, but mostly I consider myself to be a teacher of life. In my opinion I don’t just teach literature or writing, but rather, I teach my students how to better understand the world that they live in. I strive to help my students navigate through society and their own beliefs to find their place in the world. I teach my students how to be strong learners, friends, siblings, children, and community members. I teach my students how to find the good in everything they encounter and what to do when it feels like nothing is going the way they planned. I teach compassion, passion, innovation and above all else, love.
Ok, enough with the mushy gushy. I’ll get back to that later. But this is the place in my heart where my desire to initiate The Kindness Project begins.
What I Want to Do
Let me explain my idea for The Kindness Project. I was actually inspired by a video I was watching for one of my master’s classes on leadership. (I’m currently only three classes and an internship away from earning my M.Ed. in Educational Administration and Supervision (Principalship)- but more on this later too). The video is called “The Blue Ribbon Project” and I will embed this into my blog as soon as I figure out how! The premise of the video is that a teacher in a classroom took one day to orally praise each child in the class, and after he did so presented them with a blue ribbon pin. He also charged them to find three people in their own lives that they could praise and give them a pin too. Sounds cool hunh? Right up my ally right?
Well, this video was just a video. I don’t think people really did this; rather, it was just one of those “feel good” do nice things for others kind of motivational clips.
The moment I saw The Blue Ribbon Project, I knew I wanted to do something like this with my students. So here is my general plan to be elaborated on in further posts on this blog. Oh! And by the way this blog will serve as my teacher reflection and teacher progress as I go through the year implementing The Kindness Project in my classroom.
My idea is that I want to spread kindness and joy to others. Yes, I understand this sounds super cheesy- but let me explain. We live in a world so full of negativity, haste and carelessness, I want my students to find and distinguish the happiness and beauty around them. I want them to realize that they can make a difference in the way the world operates. I want them to realize that even though they are teenagers, their voice is important and impactful. Last year in my classroom I feel I instilled a sense of community and care within my students. This feeling of belonging and being in a safe space to open up to their peers was amazing. My students were so good to each other- and I helped them get there. This was one of the best feelings on earth! I love the feelings of appreciation and love and I truly want to spread these gifts as far as I can.
How I Will Get There
I will start with writing my students a letter. I want to do personalized ones and I’m going to start with my current 8th graders as I am looping with them from last year and I know them well enough to write to. Next, I will have my students write to three other significant people in their lives that have helped shape them into who they are today. The people that they write to should be people that they want to honor, thank, or just spread the love.
Here is the catch. Every person who receives a letter must write to three more. So the people whom my students write to in turn must write to three more, then three more and so on. I understand this concept is like the movie “Pay it Forward”, but even so- so what? I have yet to see this idea of doing kindness towards others come to fruition, and I want to be the one who makes it happen.
I have lots of extended ideas for The Kindness Project that I will blog about in future posts such as creating a website, plans to make sure The Kindness Project does not just die out, ideas for my students in my classroom, progress on the project and much more. Anyway, thank you for reading (if anyone out there is actually reading this). I look forward to posting more soon!