Monday, November 14, 2011

Kind Words = Kind Students

Today in English 11 we were to go over a section from To Kill a Mockingbird, where words and actions speak volumes. I can never seem to make the students understand how powerful their own words and actions truley are.. until I came across this lesson:

The teacher gave each student two clean crisp sheets of paper. She then instructed the class to crumble up one piece of paper, toss it around, get angry with it, and stomp on it.
After which, she told the students to return to their seats (with their crumpled piece of paper), flatten it out on the top of their desks, making it as flat and perfect as they can, using tape, staples and glue.

When all the students had done their best to iron out the paper the teacher picked up the paper on the first classmates desk, held it up so the entire class could see it and said:

"If this piece of paper had been another person, and you had done all those things to him or her, by making them feel less than perfect (through your words or actions), these are the scars you would leave. That person would never be the same, no matter how many times you tell them you are sorry, no matter how many times you try to smooth things out..."

Upon finishing the excersie I asked the students to take the clean sheet of paper and write a letter to ANYONE in the class they personally thought was having a tough day, week, life and share with them some positive words. A student asked how he was to know if anyone was having any issues and I simply said that everyone has a story to tell, and their own battles everyday.

I would like to be the first to tell you, I began to tear up as I walked around the room and was able to read what the students were writing to strangers. They were able to sign their name OR leave it blank. I am giving the letters out tomorrow and I am floored by the amount of support students will share when given the opportunity.

I took some of the crumpled papers and hung them in the front of the classroom- our goal this week is to be more kind and supportive- we point to the papers when words become mean or hurtful.

Kindness is the language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see. ~Mark Twain

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