This week Sizer 7th graders participated in Kindness Day, a thought-provoking activity that speaks directly to the school’s motto of THINK, CARE, ACT. The teachers guided students through group discussions around the different ways that kindness is present in the world and in our community.
However, kindness is only the second half of the equation. Two weeks ago advisories worked on an activity called “Pyramid of Hate,” prompting them to think critically about the not-so-kind things that occur in life. The students were given papers with words on them describing hateful actions – ranging from bullying to genocide – and were tasked to arrange the actions on the floor in order of how hateful they were. Through peer-led discussion, the classes voted and offered their own opinions about which actions belonged at the top or bottom of the pyramid. Some of the terms were confusing and unknown to the group, such as arson or desecration, but many of the cards held familiar acts that students have seen even in their own communities.
This week’s Kindness Day was a contrast to the Pyramid of Hate activity. This time around, students were given sticky notes and asked to write down their own actions of kindness. Then the groups formed their actions into a pyramid, discussing which showed the most kindness and deserved to be at the top of the pile. Students brainstormed a variety of actions including donating money or clothes to charity, holding the door open, helping a friend with homework, making someone laugh, adopting a puppy, volunteering a food bank, and giving a hug. In the group share-out students read their favorite kindness words, and were asked to choose two actions that they could commit to doing over the course of the year. In addition, teachers and staff shared stories of kindness that have stayed with them, and how they seek to show kindness in their lives.
I was so impressed with how creative, eloquent, and thoughtful the students were during these discussions. Students are not only challenged to grow academically but also think about how their thoughts and actions can positively influence the people around them.
What act of kindness will you commit to today?