Kindness Project

The Kindness Wall Projects

One project that has taken me a lot of work this year is my Kindness Wall projects. I wanted to implement one at both the middle school and the high school where I work. I wanted the walls to be spaces where students could go to find words that might inspire or give them a boost for the day. They would be able to take these words with them and have them as a reminder.

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To begin the project, I ran it by the media specialists at each school, and acquired a space for my project. That was really the easy part. All loved the idea, and were happy to include it in the windows. The hard part would be the actual design of the space.

I began by scouring websites for quotes that were positive and inspirational. I would write down the ones I liked best, so I’d have easy access to them at any time. On the middle school’s Facebook page, I asked our families to provide quotes they really enjoyed. Our high school page was very busy, so I nixed the idea here. I received a lot of ideas from the middle school families, and added those to my already written quotes. In the end I stopped at 111 quotes, knowing I’d have enough to start. Just spending time copying them down made me feel better myself.

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Once I had some quotes, the next step was working on the letters for the wall and information pages. I called the middle school wall “Kindness to Go”, while the high school wall was “Motivation to Go”. Some of the library aides assisted with the naming of that one. I made the letters for the middle school wall, and the library aides did the high school one.

The hardest part of putting the wall together was writing up all of the sticky notes that needed to be posted. It took me a couple of days to write down enough for the middle school wall so that it had a good number. I got assistance at the high school with some of the work, so that did help. Some notes are simply text in ink, others have words that stand out with Sharpie, and some have doodles or drawings. There’s no rhyme or reason to how it was done. If a quote seemed like it would benefit from one of those things, then I did it.

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The walls at each school are up and running, and staff are invited to contribute. Students can leave their ideas with the library media specialists and they will be placed up after being approved. We are trying to avoid students using the wall for harmful intent while still giving them the opportunity to play a role as well.

I plan to keep updating and adding to the wall as the year goes on. I’m not sure if I will make any changes to the project for second semester. I want to see how it runs for this semester first.

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Kindness: Behind the Scenes

It has been a couple of weeks now since I began embarking on my road to kindness. It is not easy to do at times, and there is work involved, but it is a labor of love for the ripples that may be created, but unseen.

Every week, I make it my goal to send a card to 5 staff at each of my schools. I do the cards for the HS on Sunday night, and I do the MS cards on Monday night. At this point, it takes me at least a 1/2 hour for each set. I concoct a note, and then I add something to the top section of the card. Once it was jokes about the eclipse. Another time it was kindness quotes. Currently I also include scratch ‘n sniff stickers as well. I need to get more stickers soon.

The high school also happens to send out faculty and staff birthdays each day in the announcements, so I know exactly who is having a birthday. I have plenty of blank cards that I have been using to send birthday cards to these folks; I enjoy creating something unique and special for each one. I create a birthday saying and draw a picture to go with it in the card.

Sometimes, I hear back from staff members after they receive the card. Most of the time, I don’t, and that’s okay. It is one thing I quickly learned to accept. The point of the project was to spread kindness, not be recognized for every little bit of it. Sometimes, things are just left unsaid, and all I can hope was that the card was a bright spot in that person’s day. When I do hear back, I’m often amazed at how the cards make a difference sometimes. One staff member told me it helped give her the boost she needed to face her students on the first day (she was new to teaching), and another told me she’d just had a bad day and really needed the words in that card to boost her spirits.

I am enjoying the little differences these cards are making. I enjoy putting them together for staff, and the extra time is worth it if it makes someone’s day a little brighter. They have helped pave the way for my FlucoGram project, which is coming up in September, and I’m eager to work on that with students. That update will come near the end of the month, hopefully!

Embarking Toward Kindness

This year, I have decided to try some different in how I interact with people. A fellow colleague, Tamara Letter, has inspired me with her work with kindness and her own students. I wanted to do my own work with kindness, and though I feel as though I am bumbling along, I feel like I am starting to make a difference, even if it is a small one. I’m finding my way along, so a lot of what I do is trial and error as I come up with different ideas.

My first act was designing the FlucoGram program. I have everything set to roll with this pretty much, and the school will purchase the supplies I need. Once a month during lunch shifts, students and teachers will be able to visit my table. They will be able to fill out 1 card for another teacher or student. I’ll take the cards collected and sort through them to be delivered. Teachers will also be made aware that if there is a student they know of who could use some kind thoughts to let me know and we can send a FlucoGram to them at any point in the year.

While I was designing the FlucoGram program, I also planned to really get new staff at both of my schools off on the right foot. I had already been asked by my high school principal to keep in close contact with his new teachers via email, so I decided to do the same with the new middle school teachers. However, I knew that I wanted to do more, and so ended up writing a welcome card to each new staff member. I had bought some scratch ‘n sniff stickers and put those inside as well. I placed them in each teacher’s mailbox.

What was funny was that I did hear back from those teachers. Not every teacher, of course, but some of them. They were grateful for the kind words. One teacher even told me that she was worried and doubting herself as the year started, and then she received my card and the words just spoke to her. What had seemed like just words to me made a powerful impact on her. That made me smile. Doing this is not about receiving thank yous or accolades, but it is about making others feel good, making them smile. That’s all I care about, whether they tell me about it or not.

Because of this bright start, I’m going to pick some staff members from each school every week and write them a small card. I have plenty of extras, and I want to make them smile as well. I have a list of staff from each school, so I can easily track this and try not to miss anyone. It will be a lofty goal, as I have almost 100 teachers alone at the high school. No one said it was going to be easy though.

I do have another plan for my Kindness Project, but I’m not going to share it just yet until I get it rolling at both schools. It will be in the media center, and both library media specialists have approved the idea. I just need to get things rolling with it first because I want to have some images to share as well.

I hope to have more ideas and inspiration throughout the year. I just want to try new things and make my schools a little bit brighter for the teachers and staff. It’s hard work, but it’s fun and it’s rewarding, and that’s what matters most.