A Teacher’s Lesson on Gratitude Supports an Ill Student

Quote - One Of The Most Important Things We Adults Can Do For Young Children Is To Model The Kind Of Person We Would Like Them To Be.

I’ve used several of your Ripple Kindness suggestions here in my room in the middle school where I work. Recently we’ve had a student diagnosed with bone cancer. This student is a very popular student, very conscientious about their studies, and comes from a fantastic family.

One particular day some of my students were being unkind to others and just complaining about how they hated school, hated being here, weren’t going to do their classwork, etc., so I decided it’d be a great time for a little “lesson” on gratitude and being kind.

I posted a sign on the boards in my room that said “One single gesture of kindness can change someone’s day for the better”. I began talking about our student that I mentioned in the beginning. The students were very willing to talk about feelings etc., and I stressed to them that this particular student WANTS to be here at school, that they LOVED being at school and always did their work etc., but that the cancer and the treatments are prohibiting them from being able to be at school at this time. I tried to show them how understanding and empathy and positive words can turn our bad day into a good day if WE just let it.

Teach Students To Be Thankful With These Gratitude Activities, Posters, Worksheets, Coloring Pages And Gratitude Cube.

So… I proceeded to explain a little project I wanted to do with EACH of my groups during the day. I said, “I want you to be thinking of ONE kind, positive word that starts with the first letter of your first name. I’ll start it with a G for Glenda and my word is great, or glad.” I told them that if they needed think time, I’d give them 5 minutes to think of a nice word to share. I reminded them at this time that I would write down ALL the words they gave me, and that I’d do a “wordel” online to include all of their responses and I’d print several styles and colors of this wordel and we’d choose 2 styles they liked the best and I’d frame it and we’d give it to this student who had the cancer. I reminded them the word could describe how they feel about that student, as well.

Glendas Blue Wordel

I told them that we were having a benefit basketball game event the following week, and I’d frame our wordel and set it out on the table to be taken home by this student’s family. I said “maybe they’d put it on the student’s nightstand where they could look at all these words of love and kindness from peers and maybe it’ll lift the student’s spirits when days weren’t very good.

Glendas Wordel

This project was fabulous. It took the focus off their negative attitudes and turned it into a positive as everyone began sharing their “word”. Repetitions were ok, and if they couldn’t think of a good word, we’d look one up online! It was amazing to discuss the words they’d chosen to describe their classmate. They chose a beautiful bright wordel and I framed it and yes I had it sitting on the table at the donation desk for everyone to see!

That little act of kindness helped some of these other students turn their day around for the better.

This was a great experience and lesson on gratitude. I wish they’d be more mindful of how their unkind acts and words affect their peers, but this middle school age is sometimes very difficult to bring the concept of kindness to! Thank you for this site. I’ve shared it with several of my colleagues as well.

Have a beautiful day.

Glenda Crosby

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