By James David Mancini February 2011 I remember as a young boy I was living in a poor suburban neighborhood as a foster child. Lost in the system of child services and forced to spend lots of time alone. I would often wander the different neighborhoods on my own and offer to help rake a yard, mow a lawn, or wash some walls in exchange for some pocket money just to buy some school clothes or candy. I will never forget this one time I knocked on the door of this elderly woman and asked if she needed her leaves raked in the yard. She asked why I was not in school and I showed her my torn pants and the soles of my shoes, which were worn and no longer keeping my feet warm and protected. She allowed me to work in the yard for pretty much that entire day, feeding ... Read Full Story >>
As a part of my Pay it Foward project revolution, I'm starting the 29 day giving challenge...again! I've done this in the summer, but this time is different because I'm also doing it with some friends from school and some friends here at KindSpring ;) Today, as my first gift, I believe I have given the gift of encouragement and cheer. Looking back , when I had first done this challenge, normally I would think, " What kind of gift is that?" Looking back at that experience now, I realize that these simple gestures mean a lot more then one thinks they do :) Today, some of my friends were a bit gloomy, perhaps because of the weather, some because their schedules got changed (it's a new term for us now at school). There was this one frind from school that had recently gone through a break-up that I didnt know of, ... Read Full Story >>
Ethan is six and three quarters and Emily just turned seven, and they are best friends. Their pre-school teacher, Kathleen Albert, has been teaching them about kindness. So, for their graduation project, Ethan and Emily decided to raise money to help feed hungry people by collecting cans. When they were done, they had raised 5,304 dollars for the San Francisco Food Bank - enough money for 15,912 meals!
Happy weekend, RAOKtivists! It's Kindness Ninja Saturday!! My sweet class of 23 second graders absolutely love sneaking out of our classroom and performing acts of kindness. We call ourselves the Kindness Classroom and we are Kindness Ninjas! The Kindness Ninjas' favorite RAOK was hiding bottles of bubbles around the playgrounds.
The past two Fridays, the Kindness Ninjas have made positive post-it notes for their friends as well as for some anonymous recipients. A big ninja snuck around after school and put some of these on teachers' classroom doors!
So....take it from the Kindness Ninjas...
Be kind. Be nice. Be sweet. And, never forget that together we can be the change we wish to see in the world!
My friend went on a field trip with her grandchild's class. Many of the students have little material wealth. Although she also struggles with making ends meet, she bought each of them a dinosaur coin.
Her idea was that they could always remember this trip, and that each child would have something to take home. What a kind person.
Today, a friend of mine was being picked on for always wearing the same sweater so I told the bully to stop, and he eventually did. Also, the class was being really rude to our teacher, so I told the teacher that no matter what, I was so appreciative that he was our teacher.
I just believe that it's nice to let people know how special they are and that they should never let themselves get down, because it's nice to know that you're appreciated for being just who you are. <3 (:
There are a few people who have passed through my life who I say I would never be able to repay. One of them who left the most impact was my art teacher Mr. Cataldo.
I went to a very rough middle school and that is a difficult age to be in an unsafe environment. I was bullied and mistreated on a regular basis. Perhaps the other students could see the victim in me, but all of that changed the day that I came into art class.
Mr. Cataldo let every student of his know that this was a safe zone and no bullying or bad behavior could happen on his watch. He fostered a good environment for learning and growing. It was only an hour a day, but it saved my life at the time. So thanks, Mr.C for giving me a little haven of peace in an otherwise dark and disturbing middle school experience. I think about you often!
Today's gratitude challenge encouraged me to think about something I take for granted and then to express gratitude for it by writing a story. Every day, the first things I do - and a large percentage of the rest of the things I do throughout the day - depend on my ability to read. Some decades ago , I joined 40 other six-year-olds as a member of the first township-wide first grade – the previous year, first graders in the township had still attended one-room schools, but the Baby Boom had reached even that rural corner of central Pennsylvania. Sprawling in comparison to the previous schools, the new building had a separate classroom for each grade. First grade had been assigned to a veteran teacher from one of the one-room schools named Mrs. Noel. I don’t know how she did it, but Mrs. Noel taught most of us the basics of reading. In ... Read Full Story >>
Last school year I held a teaching position working with 3rd to 5th grade boys with severe autism. It was a very challenging year due to a 2 hour per day commute on top of a rewarding yet exhausting day each day.
One of my instructional aides wrote me a beautiful card telling me how much he thought of me as a person and a teacher. He complimented me immensely by telling me that I was one of the best teacher's he had ever worked with. I felt honored and humbled and that compliment makes my heart glow even today.
As a graduate student, I picked up a job as a dance instructor at a community college. It was my first legit teaching job. My second semester there, I had a mother and daughter enroll in my jazz class. The daughter had a mild case of cerebral palsy and was on a pharmaceutical cocktail to help her. Some of the medication was for her medical condition. Some was psychopharmaceuticals to deal with the side of effects of the medication for her medical condition. She dealt with a lot of anxiety and sleeping difficulties. Her mother attended the jazz class as her care giver and to assist her with her special needs. The daughter was a delightful young woman in her early twenties and she was in a special programme that was set to help her gain her independence and live on her own. So she often missed my class but this was ... Read Full Story >>
I enjoy watching the video from the compliment guys with their positive and thoughtful dispositions! Personally I am careful however about complimenting only how people look . I have a little girl in my class who always tells me I am beautiful. Which I am not! It is an automatic kind if thing she is doing. I try to tell her it is how I act towards her that is really important. I really try to get the children to accept and honor the differences in themselves and others. Throughout the year I make a big outline of each of their bodies. We give compliments like you are compassionate, thoughtful, hilarious, artistic, fun loving etc. we cover the whole area of these bodies with words. I hope the picture hangs in each child's bedroom and fills their soul.. No matter what they hear anywhere else. The kids then make a book for ... Read Full Story >>
There was a wonderful nun when I was a junior in high school. Her name was Sr. Clare Lentz. I often wonder what she would be doing today. She is probably only ten or so years older than I am! She was a very kind person. Her kindness has always stayed with me. Here is what happened. I was in her trigonometry class. I was not a stellar student because I was not that interested in working too hard, but I did get B's and Cs and would have been mortified to fail anything. I failed one of the trigonometry tests. Really failed - a 30% or something worse. She had just passed the papers back and walked by me, smiled and whispered quietly - "Don't worry - you just mixed up sine and cosine - no big deal. You will do fine next time." That made me feel so much better! I have ... Read Full Story >>
Today we had a new teacher join us. Sadly, the previous teacher has left on a mental health leave. As a seasoned teacher(I like that better than old), I forget how scared new beginnings can be.
This morning I left a flower, stickers for the kids and a small note saying "Stay calm and have a great first day" on her desk. Throughout the day I checked in on her and offered to help her any way I can (Of course she had a tech question and I had not idea what to do..but I knew people who did).
It is a lovely feeling to mentor someone and share some wisdom. Looking forward to helping this new teacher in any way I can!
There is always inspiration just around the corner! A little girl in my class has been away all week, so the kids made her a book of things she loves to cheer her up (lots of dinosaurs). I put together a little care package for her.
When I went at lunch today to drop off our parcel, I had to go down the stairs to a basement apartment. When I got there, this beautiful message was chalked on the wall beside the door. It was made by the little girl's mom. It makesme want to have an inspiring message by my door because I sure walked away with a big smile on my face after seeing it!
I teach at a middle school where we really focus on kindness and service being our over-riding culture. We have a Wheel of Kindness we spin each week to challenge the kids to commit kind acts, and we hold assemblies that recognize our students who are committing acts of service locally and globally. Well this week I was reminded again how special middle school kids are. I follow many of my students on Instagram so I can keep up on their lives away from school as well as look for any cyber bullying. On Monday evening, I received a direct message from a boy who had someone write a very mean message in his locker. He took a picture of it and sent it to me asking for help. I assured him that this is not what we are all about at our school and asked him to meet me at ... Read Full Story >>
I still will never forget a girl student sitting at the back of the classroom. Having failed the college entrance exams and changed schools two times, she couldn’t smile naturally. Every day she would sit at the desk, staring into textbooks and exercises, motionless and heavy-hearted. The desperate loneliness she radiated almost stopped me from teaching. Of course, she had no friends in this fiercely competitive class. Every time I stepped into the classroom, I welcomed everyone. Of course, when I said something to her casually, she reluctantly answered with a stiff, shaky, and sheepish smile. Life is harder for senior students. Hardly does a day go by without endless exercises or tests. Every time when the scores came out, her score wouldn't be the first or second but last. Dark clouds always flashed in her eyes. When I invited her to the teacher's office, we never talked about studies or ... Read Full Story >>