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Kindness Culture

Words. Words, wonderful words. Words have the power to create or destroy, to build up or tear down. I have always been a word girl, loving books from very early on. I still remember a word book I made in the second grade and the joy derived from adding more words I wanted to learn to spell. Every story is just a different combination of twenty-six letters. Stories guide us. We live in stories, whether created or reality. We learn from the stories of history. The past grounds us in our present and prepares us for the future. Lately it has been hard to read the stories in the news. My heart hurts from reading and seeing the division, hate, apathy, and corruption that is mixing through our society like the yeast that we knead into our bread each week.

History tells me that war, corruption, and divisiveness have always been a part of mankind. My daily invitations, however, for it to enter my life through my TV and phone keep putting cracks in my rose-colored glasses. Oftentimes what is happening in the bigger picture we see on a smaller scale all around us. It reminds me of one of our main goals of the Compass Classroom: becoming a community of learners.

We are doing that by one of our daily practices of counting our kindnesses.

Whenever anyone is kind, helpful, or comforting they get to put a foam heart into a wooden bowl. At the end of the day our kindness counter gets to count the kindness hearts in front of the class and put out the number to share with our parents. Often it starts with a student telling me they like my shirt or necklace. As the days progress and more conflict among their play emerges, we learn to show kindness through our words and actions. Sometimes it is hard. It means learning to share, to take turns, and listen to each other. It means learning that No is an acceptable answer.

When one of our students asked me if weirdo was a bad word, I asked her what she thought. She was quiet for a moment and replied, “yes. It did not fill my bucket.” We then went to our class and discussed the power in words. Somedays it seems like we do a lot of discussing, a lot of dealing with our big emotions as conflict arises in our play. If it leads to a kind and joyful community of learners we are all happy to put in the work.

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Feb 16, 2022

I love that your students are able to express themselves in terms of what does or does not fill their buckets!

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