This week we have been reviewing SPARK behaviors and expectations with a focus on the letter K for kind. Our reading lessons have been tied to Jacqueline Woodson’s story Each Kindness, which takes place in an elementary school setting. In the story it is wintertime, and the snow is falling quite heavily, covering everything like a thick blanket. The story begins one school morning.
As a class we discussed the plot of the story, as well as characters. Chloe, an elementary school student, seems to be pretty content. She has two best friends, Kendra and Sophie, and together, the three girls spend their lunch hours laughing and sharing secrets on the playground. Chloe does not seem open to making new friends, which the audience can clearly see when the school principal brings a new student to join Chloe’s class. The new girl, Maya, appears at the door wearing tattered clothes and spring shoes with a broken strap. She unassumingly takes the empty seat next to Chloe and greets her with a kind smile. Instead of returning her gesture, Chloe moves a little closer to the window and looks away from Maya. Throughout the story, Maya tries to make friends with the girls in her class, but they refuse to welcome her. Instead, Chloe and her friends ignore her and won’t play with her at recess. making fun of her for always wearing second-hand clothing. Maya continues to reach out, inviting the girls to play jacks with her. She even brings a few other toys to school in hopes that someone might want to play with her, but she always gets the same answer. One day Maya does not return to school. The children’s teacher, Ms. Albert, gives a lesson on kindness. She drops a small stone into a big bowl of water and explains that every kind thing done goes out like a ripple into the world. She then invites the children to drop the stone into the bowl and say one kind thing that they have done. Everyone except for Chloe has something to say. She cannot think of one kind thing that she has done, so she passes the stone on. Chloe promises herself that she will greet Maya with a smile the next time she sees her, but Maya never returns to school. Days pass and Ms. Albert informs the class that Maya has moved away. Chloe is filled with regret as she realizes that she has missed her chance to show any kindness to Maya.
Our class repeated the same activity Chloe’s teacher did in the book. We filled a large bowl with water and passed our marble jar stones around the classroom. Each student thought of something kind they have done or felt in our classroom and dropped the stone into the water and watched their kindness form a ripple. We had a discussion about what it means to have a ripple effect of kindness. We will continue this activity each morning as our morning greeting routine.
What we're learning in first grade. Students are also making comments in class! At home add to the posts, too.