I spent most of my weekend last week glued to the television awaiting updates on the tragedy that occurred Saturday. Late Sunday, though, I began to transfer thought as to how to approach the events at school with students. I read some articles and many of the television channels broadcasted segments on how to speak with children about tragic events, but I still felt unprepared.
When I arrived at work Monday morning, I saw a sign that said "Mural Work Day THIS Thursday!" I was reminded about a project already going on at our school with the Ben's Bells Project. We began working with them in September to dedicate the year to focus on Kindness.
As colleagues, we worked collaboratively on creating lessons on kindness. We used Systems Thinking to build models with students on ways to contribute to kindness as well as ways people can decrease the kindness around us. When talking with students, they can express how they have the power to increase the stock of kindness.
As a community working with Ben's Bells, we continue to work on creating a 500 square foot mosaic mural in the school community garden. This past Thursday, parents at the school hosted a fabulous work day event. With the guidance of Ben's Bells volunteers, families worked together to break tile and mirror, create tile letters spelling words like acceptance, love, and friendship, and others worked together to draw the mural outline on the wall. Most of the tiles being used have been created by students and families working with our art program, but we also received generous donations from local businesses as they wanted to contribute to the spread of kindness in Tucson.
Last Monday morning at our whole school assembly, we devoted ourselves to continue to focus on kindness even though there was much sadness around. Many students came focused on Saturday's events, but then were able to concentrate on how to contribute to good in the world.
The event on Thursday brought our school community together. How are you spreading kindness in your classroom? Community?