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This morning for writing, our class answered the question “Who inspires you?”  We discussed friends, family members, teachers, presidents, and leaders.  Here is what we wrote:

Delisha Mrs. Jackson is a teacher and she takes care of us so we won’t get hurt.  And Mr. Matt helps us play kick ball and because my five sisters inspire me to keep me safe and you need to treat people how you want to be treated.
Brady Who inspires you?  My brother inspires me.  I am his big brother so he thinks of me as the best person in the world so he wants to be like me.  My mom and dad are gonna try to adopt a kid so if it was a baby it would probably inspire me, too.
Phaedra My mom inspires me!  My dad is caring, too.  My friend Sami is caring a lot to me.  My brother is a good example.  My friends are kind.
Ananda Who inspires me? A friend that is truly your friend that loves you for you not for your stuff and toys and does not play with you for your DS or your Kindle Fire that is not a true friend.
Ryan MLK inspires me.  I think I will be a president.
Malcomn Martin Luther King, Jr. That is the one who inspires me because he fought for our rights.  James Earl Ray eliminated Martin Luther King, Jr.  He was a good man.  North and South were fighting.  That means black vs. white, north and south.  And for all he did, I thank him.  He was born in 1962. I love him.
Amari Past or present, all presidents like Barak Obama inspires me because he has two kids and he has to do the election and he has a wife.  It’s like four years when they reelect.  Ms. Vizzo inspires me because she works so hard that she should get a day off.  Ms. Kane, too.  All the teachers should get a day off.  Kids like us love to write.  My dog inspires me, too.
Nathan MLK, Jr. inspires me because he kept going to prison to keep black and white people equal.  But James Earl Ray doesn’t inspire me.  And my mom, dad, brother, and sister.
Michael I love my dad because he is nice and charming and takes us places.  And if you have a dad in the military, say “I love you more than the world.”  I love the U.S.A.
Ka’Lani Making new friends because we need them.  Friends be nice to you.  Friends play games.  I like having friends.  You can make new friends.
Samantha Phaedra inspires me.  She makes me want to be a better person.  So I gave her a bow and a set of tattoos.  MLK, Jr. inspires us.  James Earl Ray doesn’t inspire us.  Phaedra makes my heart feel good.
Jadon Ryan helps me every time when I feel bad.  Friends help me all the time.  My daddy likes to do stuff with me.  Mrs. Jackson helps me with homework at 6 to 6 program.  Does someone help you?  Someone has to help someone.  Ryan is a good friend because he is a good friend.
Alysse Mrs. Jackson inspires me.  My sister inspires me.  My brother inspires me.  Ka’Lani inspires me.
Damaj Martin Luther King, Jr. inspires me because he was making a speech about us.  James Earl Ray don’t inspire me because he killed MLK, Jr.  Mr. Matt also inspires me because he watches me on the grass.  Ms. Booker inspires me because she loves me.
Lilly Martin Luther King, Jr. did a speech  He was born in 1962.  He got in jail and got out of jail and sometimes went back in fighting for our rights.
Averie My cousin inspires me because she’s smart and funny.  She’s 8 years old and she’s a third grader.  She helps her sister with her homework, too.  I love her.  My mommy also inspires me, too.  I like and love my mom.  My mom helps me do my homework and helps me fix homework.
Eesa My grandma inspires me because she makes breakfast for me and she lets us play Wii.  It is fun, really fun, and she loves me so much and I love her so much, too.  And my grandpa inspires me so much.  I jog with him and a dog.  We sweat a lot.  When we scome home, we get drinks.  I love my grandma and Papi so much.
Heaven Who inspires me is my cousin Cake.  Well, that is her nickname and she inspires me because she is so fun to play with and I want to be fun to play with, too.  I love her so much with all my heart.
Autumn My mom always watches me and Joi and my dad they always get food for us but mostly that take care of us.
Mrs. Jackson My students inspire me every day.  I am inspired by Delisha to give more hugs.  I am inspired by Brady to ask more questions in life.  I am inspired by Phaedra’s ability to lead in a quiet, kind, and genuine way.  I am inspired by Brooklynn to see the amazingness in everything around us.  I am inspired by Ananda to be proud of who I am.  I am inspired by Ryan to keep things simple.  I am inspired by Malcomn to use humor.  I am inspired by Amari to be sensitive and helpful.  I am inspired by Kimi to see the best that everyone and every opportunity has to offer.  I am inspired by Madison to love my parents.  I am inspired by Nathan to work hard.  I am inspired by Michael to play hard.  I am inspired by Ka’Lani to love my friends.  I am inspired by Samantha to be proud of my traditions.  I am inspired by Jadon to evaluate what’s fair in life.  I am inspired by Alysse to take time for myself.  I am inspired by Damaj to love my family.  I am inspired by Justin to use my imagination.  I am inspired by Lilly to adore my sister.  I am inspired by Eesa to look out for those who need me.  I am inspired by Heaven to be the best that I can be every day.  I am inspired by Autumn to be sweet and kind.

Letters of Thanks

Letters to our Teachers

Inspired by http://www.moreloveletters.com/ and as part of our activities for Random Acts of Kindness (RAK) week, my students each wrote letters to staff members and teachers at our school.  We discussed how these particular letters are not valentines, but rather a note simply beginning with “Thank you for…”, “I love you because…”, “I will always remember…”, or “I appreciate…”  We will be placing these notes on the desks of our much appreciated teachers and staff members tomorrow morning.

Tomorrow is Digital Learning Day!  For more information, visit: http://www.digitallearningday.org/

As part of our digital learning day, my class will be posting comments to this blog.  However, we need your help!  If you click on our page entitled “Your Stories”, we invite you to share a story about a random act of kindness.  It should be short and “kid friendly”, as my 1st and 2nd grade students will be reading them and responding to each of them.

Think about all of the people in your life, and about the times someone said or did something that gave you the pure feeling of kindness.  Or, take a moment to reflect on and acknowledge a random act of kindness that you’ve done.  Tell us about it. We need to gain experience evaluating the acts of kindness in life.

We can’t wait to hear your stories!

I’ve recently read the book Random Acts of Kindness by Kingma and Markova.  The foreword, in particular, resonated with me as I found that there was a critical piece to our kindness study that my students and I were seemingly missing.  Daphne Rose Kingma wrote, “The practice of kindness is the daily, friendly, homely caring form of love.  It is both humble…and exalted…Kindness is love with hands and hearts and mind.  It is both whimsical…and deeply touching…And its miraculous nature is such that the more acts of kindness we offer, the more of them we have to give, for acts of kindness are always drawn from the endless well of love.”

Likewise, in her introduction, Dawna Markova tells of speaking at workshops where she asked others to tell and write about random acts of kindness in their lives.  She found that while people were enthusiastic in sharing the stories of kindness that others had done for them, when she asked to consider the other side–the random acts of kindness they had performed in their lives, the room became silent as if people were afraid to breathe.   She observes, “I don’t believe this paralysis is due to compassion fatigue or lack of caring.  I believe we are trained to notice only deficits, only where we are stuck, only how we are suffering.  We are trained to believe we don’t matter and that we cannot make a difference.”

But we can.

Markova continues, “If violence and aggression are part of our human nature, then the opposite must also be true.  We just forget.  We are reminded many times a day of the darkest shadows we can cast.  We need also to reminded of the brilliant light we are capable of igniting.”

And all of that got me thinking.  As adults, we have been trained to acknowledge our counterparts, give applause to those around us, bow gratefully but give credit where credit is due.  Thus, we struggle to recognize our own good deeds.  However, children are nearly opposite.  They are proud, brilliant, unadulterated, and rarely hesitate to accept praise and appreciation. They often take the credit given to their colleagues, or try to “one up” their peers.  In fact, younger children are still struggling with the concept of reality and are likely to take on a story that is not even theirs.

My struggle with our lessons of kindness involved genuineness and sincerity.  In order for my students to experience the power of kindness, they first needed to complete an act of kindness that was truly an act of their own.  Not an example given during our class discussions, not something that their classmate did, and not something that their teacher read to them in a book…a genuine act of kindness performed on their own accord.  The lessons about kindness we have yet to complete are based on their ability to do such.

So, students were instructed to do something over their weekend that involved putting another first.  They were asked to complete an act of kindness that was unsolicited and unrewarded.  Something small, but memorable.  Something that, as one student worded it, “Makes your own heart smile.”

Here is their work:

My random act of kindness was Kimi dropped her stuff and I helpt her.  -Alysse

My random act of kindness was when someone opened the door for me and it was happy because I was caring a big pile of books.  –Delisha

Kindness is loving and family.  –Madison

I read a book to my little sister.  She loved it and she appreciated it.  – Lilly

My random act of kindness was at the grocery store.  I got a cart for my dad.  He said, “Thank you.”  -Brady

My random act of kindness was cleaning the dishes. – Ryan

My random act of kindness was opening the door for Malcomn in class today.  – Hope

My random act of kindness was helping my cat feel special. – Phaedra

My random act of kindness was when I found my mom’s credit card by the dryer set. –Malcomn

I did my mom’s bed without being asked.  I made my mom breakfast without being asked.  I did the dishes for her without being asked.  I did my bed without being asked. –Amari

My random act of kindness was opening the door for people.  It was for my mom and somebody, too.  It was at the bank.  It was on last Saturday.  My mom said “thank you” and the other smiled. –Nathan

When I helped my mom and dad watch the new baby while they cleaned the house.  I put her to sleep and sang a song to her.  I love her so much. –Michael

My random act of kindness was washing the dishes.  My dad was in his room and so was my brother, Alex.  It was just my mom and me.  She took a break and I did the dishes.  I said, “Don’t do the dishes.  I’ll do them.” –Ananda

My random act of kindness as making somebody have their heart feel good. –Elliot

My random act of kindness was making someone feel better. –Jadon

My random act of kindness was helping my mom clean the dishes.  –Heaven

My random act of kindness is writing notes to everybody.  I love writing to my friends most.  –Averie

You can make someone smile.  You can make them a Valentine card. –Damaj

My random act of kindness was carrying groceries for my mom.  –Ka’Lani

My random act of kindness was taking care of a turtle.  –Justin

My random act of kindness was helping my mommy with the dishes and washing and putting them in the dish washer and putting them away.  -Samantha

Ok.  So we realize that an update on our blog is far past due.  But we are prepared to tell you why.  Our 1st grade class has grown into a 1st/2nd grade combination class and we now have 4 new 2nd grade students who have joined our academic community.  Getting new students comfortable, acclimated, and used to our daily routines means many new changes for our classroom.  Now that we have refined and focused our day to day instruction and our most recent assessments, we have recently began to discuss our service learning project and our Random Acts of Kindness blog on a daily basis again.

Let us tell you what we have discussed and realized over the past few weeks.  We have come to the realization that our initial endeavor of posting a daily random act of kindness every day through the entire year of 2013 was a noble and exciting goal, but that it is a goal that is moderately too difficult to attain.  Therefore, we have a new plan!

As we continue to have conversations about kindness, Mrs. Jackson recognized that we need a little more practice understanding kindness.  Being that we are only 6, 7, and 8 years old, we understand kindness as a way that we treat others.  Mrs. Jackson is working on helping us learn the FEELING of kindness…the POWER of kindness…and what it means to RECOGNIZE when kindness occurs.

Our most recent lesson will be posted soon.  Stay tuned!

Random Acts of Kindness

Our Purpose

My 1st grade students created this blog with the intent to post a daily “random act of kindness”. Every day, beginning January 1, 2013 for one full year, we will post a new act of kindness that you can do for others. My students will write and reflect on the ways in which they complete various acts of kindness, and will also read and respond to your posts as you share and reflect on your kind acts. So, follow us, share your stories, and remember to pass it on!
“Remember there’s no such thing as a small act of kindness. Every act creates a ripple with no logical end.” Scott Adams