Raising Kind Humans One Student at a Time

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s National Day of Service is the perfect time to discuss with my students the importance of helping others. After discussing with my students what Dr. King  meant by “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others”, we got busy helping others.  At my school, I not only encourage my students to ask their parents to help them participate in our county’s many MLK Day of Service events, but I bring a service project to our school.  One year we created poster sized thank you notes for our local firefighters, and I delivered the four posters to the Gaithersburg-Washington Grove Volunteer Fire Department station (where they were thrilled to receive them!), another year we made thank you cards for soldiers at Walter Reed VA Hospital and I delivered them to the Wounded Warriors Project in Germantown.  This year we made over 200 cards for the organization Cards for Hospitalized Kids.  I told the kids that they were making cards for kids just like them, and to create a card that they would like to receive if they were the ones in the hospital.  Many of my students went above and beyond to create meaningful, and absolutely beautiful cards, and I share a few of them below:

Invisible Boy by author Trudy Ludwig and illustrator Patrice Barton is a gentle story shows how small acts of kindness can help children feel included and allow them to flourish.

Be a Friend by written and Illustrated by Salina Yoon, is a heartwarming story of self-acceptance, courage, and unbreakable friendship for anyone who has ever felt “different.”   There is also a wonderful song written by Emily Arrow that is a fun addition to the lesson!

Kind by Pat Zietlow Miller, and illustrated by Jen Hill is an unforgettable story about how two simple words can change the world.

Small Saulwritten and illustrated by Ashley Spires, is a  high-seas adventure and a  light-hearted celebration of individuality, perseverance and being true to one’s self.

Each Kindness written by Jacqueline Woodson and illustrated by E. B Lewis, is the unforgettable story of bullying, and regret for lost opportunities to show kindness.

The first week of February is National School Counseling Week, and to celebrate, I read books about kindness to others, and then we showed kindness to our school counselor, Debbie Miller, by writing her thank you notes.  Students in prekindergarten drew a picture using this thank you note template I created; kindergarten through grade 2 students used a template I found on Teachers Pay Teachers (which I bound into a book each day) and students in grades 3-5 created their own cards.  I asked my students to reflect on lessons Counselor Miller had taught the in their classrooms, issues she may have helped them with, or just say thank you for caring about us. My students have great big hearts, and wrote some of the most beautiful letters and cards to her – the reaction I received each day from Debbie was priceless!

Join me and commit to teaching kindness. Check out the awesome teacher resources on the Random Acts of Kindness Foundation’s website here.

Share in the comments below activities you have done with your students to teach kindness!

The Creative Librarian: Adventures in School Librarianship contains affiliate links – please click here for information.

Celebrating in the Library – November Edition

Happy holidays!  The winter months are full of many different holidays – Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanzaa, New Year’s Day, to name a few.  Did you know that December 4th was National Cookie Day?  Or that December 10th was Dewey Decimal System Day?   My students do!  We celebrate lots of things here in the library.

In November, we not only celebrated Veterans Day, a very important holiday in honor of our armed service members, but also Picture Book Month, World Kindness Day, International Games Day, and Thanksgiving.   Throughout the month, in addition to reading a variety of them in media lessons, all students were encouraged to check out both non-fiction and fiction picture books in honor of the celebration. Students also added their favorite picture book titles to my interactive bulletin board.picture book month If you would like to read more, please visit Picture Book Month.

International Games Day, sponsored by the American Library Association, celebrated its 7th year of gaming in libraries.  I registered for the event early, and was able to request donated games from a variety of the ALA partners — my students and I were thrilled to receive all of these games just in time for our gaming week celebration!

WP_20141111_002Flower Hill ES media center, along with over 2000 libraries around the world, enjoyed games of all sorts.   Playing games with others is not only enjoyable, but also helps builds community, strengthen critical thinking skills, and teaches sharing, collaboration, and good sportsmanship.  The picture below is of the interactive bulletin board I created, asking the students to sign their names under the pictures of the games they most like to play (Minecraft was the clear winner!)



During media time, we incorporated the playing of many games into our lessons – board games, building games, online games (click to visit my Brainteasers & Logic Games website) –  even simple Tic-Tac-Toe on a piece of recycled poster paper was a favorite!  Click for  and website, which includes lots of great information in support of gaming for education.


For World Kindness Day, I asked my students to do something kind for someone else … and left blank note cards for them to complete and deliver to friends, family, and staff members.  Hopefully, there were many recipients of one of these notes!  More information and resources about teaching kindness can be found in my Choose Kindness Scoop.it.

thankful bulletin boardLastly, in celebration of Thanksgiving, I asked staff and students to share what they are thankful for on my bulletin board. I created  Tagxedo word cloud poster with lots of words related to being thankful.   Many students were thankful for their friends, family, their teachers, and Minecraft!  Staff were thankful for their own families, their students, and for working here at Flower Hill Elementary School!

thanksgiving tagxedo

Our media center was the recipient of a $500.00 grant from the wonderful literacy organization FirstBook, and our students received a book for their home libraries in time for winter break.  FirstBook also donated approximately 150 books to our school library, including books from kid author favorites Mo Willems and Rick Riordan. WP_20141106_006 WP_20141106_14_39_39_Pro

Thank you FirstBook for your outstanding work to give all children – especially those in financial need – access to books! To support the organization,and to say thank you for supporting our students here at Flower Hill ES, my daughter and I participated in  FirstBook – Montgomery County Run to Read on November 8th. WP_20141108_002  For more information about FirstBook, please visit their website.

Thanks for reading, a watch for my next post very soon!