Appreciation, Gratitude, Kindness……
I am so grateful for many things that I thought I would begin to share the importance of how showing appreciation, gratitude and being kind is important and vital not only as a teacher, as an educator, but as a person. Through our own ability to display gratitude and kindness we are able to make connections, show appreciation towards others which gives a feeling of confidence and comfort.
When I think about gratitude and appreciation and how important these ideas are, I am also thinking about how can I begin to model and support these ideas. I want to encourage my students to also begin to see the value in having gratitude and being able to appreciate acts of kindness throughout our busy days together. I think it can happen so easily, yet I am reminding myself how important it is to share this idea and feeling with my students so they in turn become and display how being grateful can encourage others, offer connections and give recognition to others.
I remember one of my students learning how to use a new app to create and design patterns. The student was nervous about asking for help, yet really wanted to explore this new app. I watched as another student walked over with an iPad, sat down and began working alongside this student to show how the app worked and within a few minutes this student was off and running! The smiles exchanged were beautiful as well as the conversation. “Thank you”, I didn’t know what to do”. The student who offered to help just said; “I got stuck too.” I recognized both students in sharing how collaborative and kind they were being. Then I have an opportunity to highlight what happened and have the students share how it made them feel and introduce the word gratitude. This now becomes a special word in our classroom and everyone wants to be able to not only use the word, but explore opportunities with others as well. Think of a place in your classroom where you can display important/special words that you want to your students to use.
During a read aloud time one of my students was trying to find a place to sit and be comfortable. Another child offered his place and gave me a thumbs up! I smiled. Later the student came up to me and asked me if I noticed that he gave his seat up. I said I did and he thought that he should share that with the class because he was being kind. Right away my students are beginning to explore and experience what it means to help someone out, share something you are comfortable with, be a mentor, a friend. This is how we begin to model and explore appreciation, gratitude and kindness.
When I offer opportunities for my students to share through role playing and talking about the kind deeds they notice, we then create a special place in our classroom to post the important words we use. Appreciation, kindness, gratitude now become part of our oral language as well. This helps to begin to establish a culture of learning, connections, collaboration and also where children will take risks and try new things.
School is starting soon for many of us and I am so #grateful for how social media, blogging and other digital tools have helped connect, engage, challenged my thinking as well as offered opportunities to be inspired. I have made many friends thanks to social media who have supported me and collaborated in many different ways. I am grateful and humbled by the time and energy that others give so freely. Working alongside others enriches learning for me.
I strive to model and offer invitations to my students, their families, friends and colleagues who, like me, are also trying to make a difference, one idea, one kind gesture at a time. This is at the heart of our work.