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Gratitude and Kindness

February 6, 2018


"Spread love everywhere you go.  Let no one come to you without leaving happier"   

~Mother Teresa~

Counselors bring strengths and gifts that are unique to school settings.  We are the facilitators of connection, we build communities of belonging and more than anything, we teach the "how" in relationships. This past January was packed with exciting lessons and projects with the counseling program's primary focus on ways we can express kindness and gratitude to others within and outside of our school community.



 This great book, "Ordinary Mary's Extraordinary Deed" by Emily Pearson

was a great lead in to our campus-wide focus on Act of Kindness and our SSES 2018 Kindness Challenge event.  Our K-2 students learned about how even a little girl like Mary can make a difference in the world by her simple acts of kindness. 




I then handed out the Great Kindness Challenge sheets to pump up the kids to try out some everyday kind acts.  Each class then got started on our kindness chain that is making it's way across our campus and overflowing into the hallways.  Next time you are on campus, take a peek at all of those wonderful things that your kids have been writing about. We have been overwhelmed and touched by the kind gifts of time, words and actions of so many of our children!  Here is the link to the school challenge if you want to read more about this annual national project! click: GREAT KINDNESS CHALLENGE SCHOOL EDITION


While we were launching this fun project one of our talented new teachers, Ms. Maci Johnson, started sending out amazing videos to help support Social and Emotional Learning at SSES.  She calls it "Think about it Thursday" and we have all benefited from watching these videos with our students as we talk about kindness, compassion and how we can all make our world a better place to be.


In grades 3-5, we read the book "The Invisible Boy" by Trudy Ludwig



In this book, our main character, Brian, feels invisible and no one seems to notice or include him in their activities.  One day Justin, a new boy, comes to the school and demonstrates how the smallest acts of kindness and seeing Brian for his unique gifts help him to no longer feel invisible.  This book really generated some good conversations about everyday struggles the kids face.  I then did an activity that asked the student to "stand up if..."  I started with a couple of easy questions so that students could understand how to play the game like "stand up if you have a cat" and "stand up if you've ever eaten pizza."  Of course, everyone laughed then I followed with the harder ones like, "stand up if you've ever felt lonely" and "stand up if you've ever felt left out."  I end with a really tough question "stand up if you have ever left someone else out."  You could have heard a pin drop.  The children were surprisingly honest about this and many powerful conversations ensued about how we make amends and how we can take responsibility and repair relationships. If any parents are reading this blog, here is an article written by Trudy Ludwig for parents on helping if our children feel invisible <Huff Post article>


All of the 3-5 care classes ended with gratitude circles where the kids were able to share something that they were grateful for in their lives.  Some shared gratitude about families, some about friendship, others about their faith or their loving teachers.  Such a touching activity where the classroom communities bonded with each other and smiles abound.  This is one part of my job that I absolutely love facilitating.  I am grateful to be in this amazing school district at this incredible time with this talented staff.  



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