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Posts Tagged ‘kindness’

Join the Two Writing Teachers blog for the Slice of Life Challenge.

Join the Two Writing Teachers blog for the Slice of Life Challenge.

 

As many of you are, I am having trouble getting my head around another mass shooting.  What scares me most is the rhetoric that surrounds this tragic event. The talk of intolerance that perpetuates racism and fear.

I decided to look for hope.  In the midst of tragedy, we must have hope.  Hope is not denying the fear or the sadness.  Hope allows for something new to come forth.  Hope is like opening a window and hearing the cardinal singing.  Hope is smelling the fresh air after the rain and knowing a rainbow is up there somewhere.  Hope never fails.

 

Lin-Manuel Miranda’s acceptance speech at the Tony’s gives voice to what I am feeling.

We rise and fall and light from dying embers, remembrances that hope
and love last longer
And love is love is love is love is love is love is love is love
cannot be killed or swept aside.

From a letter written by R. J. Palacio, author of Wonder, to the school district of Round Rock on disinviting Phil Bildner to their schools:

The truth is, I’m tired of intolerance. I’m tired of the unkindness that breeds intolerance. I’m tired of the ignorance that fuels it and the fear that spreads it. We must all—authors, publishers, teachers, librarians, and school administrators—work together to stop intolerance in its tracks when we see it. Kindness can never grow where intolerance has taken root.

If all you did was watch TV news or scroll through social media, you may think that our world was in dire trouble. Terrorism, racism, hatred, intolerance…

But I look to my students, my own children, my colleagues, my friends and I see love, hope, and light. Please, please, please look for the light. Find the helpers. See the good in others. Hope is everything, my friends. Hold on tight to that feather.

hope quote

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Please use this button on your site for DigiLit Sunday posts

Please use this button on your site for DigiLit Sunday posts

Participating in the Global Read Aloud has changed the tone in my classroom. As I’ve mentioned before, we are reading Fish in a Tree by Lynda Mullaly Hunt. The story is realistic and takes place in a 6th grade classroom where there are all types of kids, the cut-up, the bully, the follower, the smart one, and Ally who believes she is dumb. My students are getting a good long look at these characters. They talk about them as if they know them. We are starting to even use them as labels, “Don’t be a Shay.” (Shay is the smart-aleck bully.)

This week was Global Read Aloud Random Acts of Kindness week. We watched a video from Amy Krouse Rosenthall, an author whose book is also part of Global Read Aloud. In her video, she does kindness pranks by leaving a box of Ding Dongs at random houses, ringing the doorbell, and running away. My kids loved this idea. They wanted to do it to the teachers, Teacher Pranks.

One student brought in two containers of rocks from Walmart. Her idea came from Cynthia Lord, to write a word message on each rock. They wrote words like love, brave, kindness, etc. on each rock. I brought in brown lunch bags, and with the help of the art teacher, they decorated them. We also had candy and made a batch of lavender bath salts using Epsom Salt. Would you like to get a gift bag like this? My kids made their Halloween party into a Kindness party. They even managed to be sneaky without being crazy.

Bath salts: Epsom salt, food coloring, and lavender scent.

Bath salts: Epsom salt, food coloring, and lavender scent.

Kindness rocks

Kindness rocks

Last week we wrote Fib poems. I posted about them here. I invite any class reading Fish in a Tree to write Fib poems about the characters and add it to our padlet.

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Discover. Play. Build.

Ruth Ayres invites us the celebrate each week. Click over to her site Discover. Play. Build. to read more celebrations.

Swinging for Addyson

Swinging for Addyson

1. When I heard the news that one of our students had been diagnosed with a brain tumor, I pulled out my crochet needle and created a prayer blanket for her. Saturday I gave her the blanket at a ragball fundraising event for her medical bills. Her smile says it all. Keep Addy and her family in your prayers as they continue to fight this battle.

Make yourself a park ranger.

Make yourself a park ranger.

2. Celebrating #clmooc and collaborative learning: This week marked the sixth and final make cycle of #clmooc. NWP joined the National Parks Service to encourage getting outside and exploring your national, state, and heritage parks. Kevin Hodgson invited me to join in the Google hang out on Tuesday evening. I love collaborating and learning from others. The archive of the hang out is here.

I had every intention of visiting a state park but the heat and the fact that my daughter was home kept me from participating further in this project.

Cheers to my daughter Martha.

Cheers to my daughter Martha.

3. Martha is home! My youngest flew in from Chicago for my last week of summer break. I’ve enjoyed spending time with her and just knowing she’s home.

classroom

4. My classrooms (I teach at two schools) are clean, organized, and decorated, ready for students to arrive all too soon.

photo by Jan Risher

photo by Jan Risher

5. Jan Risher, a writer for The Advertiser, the Lafayette regional newspaper, put out a call on Facebook for people to make paper cranes to honor the two victims of last week’s Grand 16 shooting. She gathered enough cranes to make two senbazuru. I made a few cranes and just doing this small gesture comforted me and helped me to feel a part of this community. I am very proud of the way the Acadiana community has responded with an outpouring of support and love. To me, it’s the only way to respond to violence…complete and utter kindness.

Jillian Johnson quote

6. Speaking of responding with kindness and love, I celebrate James Taylor. In 1979 after our home had been totally flooded, the first album we purchased was James Taylor’s Flag. I listened to Up on the Roof so many times I memorized all the words. His music is still lifting up spirits and sharing love. Here is a recent performance in which the Charleston Low Country Voices joined him on stage. JT makes everything all right.

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Do No Harm

This is the bumper sticker on my car. When is the world going to get the message?

I didn’t think I would post today because Monday was a long day with school, an after school appointment, then a funeral. But I am feeling that I must respond. The funeral I attended was a joyous celebration of a life. As the bagpipes played when we exited the chapel, I hugged a student I taught 30 years ago, now a beautiful woman with two precious children. Her father suffered a long time with Parkinson’s. He is healed now, and we embraced to share the warmth of his legacy, his love. Why would anyone do harm on a day like today? Or on any day, for that matter? I just don’t get it.

I read Naomi Shihab Nye’s poem, Kindness. I’ve decided this poem will be in my pocket on Poem in your Pocket Day on April 18th.

I have collected words from Naomi, from Anne Lammott, and from a conversation at the funeral. This collection is my message to the terrorists, the ones who do harm, live in fear and create fear. Let us practice kindness. Let us answer with kindness. It is the only answer that makes any sense.

Before you know what kindness really is
you must lose things,
you must cry real tears,
taste them as they fall,
let them baptize you, wash you clean.

We are all cracked and broken.
That is how the light gets in,
the light shining in the darkness.
In the dark room, we hold God’s hand.
Here we are helped,
drawn up out of the depths
to know love.

And when we know this love,
we can live in love
and practice kindness.
It is only kindness that makes sense anymore.
Do no harm.

Slice of Life Tuesday

Slice of Life Tuesday

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