Interested and inspired to ensure my students are growing in the classroom as lifelong learners and people, I made sincere efforts to integrate social emotional learning and mindfulness into my everyday classroom.
After reading Carol McCloud’s story Have You Filled a Bucket Today? I took this seemingly large concept book and broke it down into simpler words.
Each of us holds an invisible bucket; it carries our thoughts and happiness. When people say mean things or disappoint us they empty our bucket. The only way to refill our bucket is by other people (or ourselves) giving affirmations, kindness, warmth, or quality time.
So we filled buckets.
Every student made either a paper bucket or paper envelope. They wrote as many notes as they could, giving thanks and affirmations to their classmates. I wrote a note for every single student, every single friend. The smiles, glee, and intentionality put into every picture, word, and note was outstanding. My students not only felt joy receiving affirmations, but they also internalized the love you receive when you give.
Building off of this project we took it a step further with a community project in mind. Kindness rocks. Every student brought a rock from home and over the course of two weeks we wrote affirmations and words of encouragement on the rocks (one side in English, the other side in Chinese).
My favorite rock was written by one of my third graders who is often unmotivated in class or is often transitioning in and out of trouble. Out of every rock his was the most thoughtful and original. His words will stick with me forever:
You are great! Come on! We will be with you!
Check out Hu Pu’s entire Kindness Rock Project and see the incredible things these kids can do.
If I have learned anything this year, it is that the possibilities are endless for your students and classroom.
Author: Sarah Regn