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“Courage. Kindness. Friendship. Character. These are the qualities that define us as human beings and propel us, on occasion, to greatness” – R.J. Palacio, Wonder
On Courage & Kindness
How can we encourage kindness in the classroom? Well, that’s not the easiest of questions to answer, I find! Here are a couple of ideas that I’ve come across in my search. Now, I haven’t tried these yet, but if you have, please comment and tell us how it went!
- Respect Recognition Wall – I wish I could find the link where I heard about this one (somewhere on Pinterest!). A teacher had large charts stuck on the wall, with quotes about respect. Then, she had a second poster with blank sticky notes on it. It read:
- “I saw ______________ demonstrating the principle of respect by _________”
- It’s basically a way to recognize students for their efforts at being kind and respectful. How cool is that?
- Kindness Apps – Did you know that there are apps to encourage people to be kind? One, in particular, is quite popular. It’s called TBH (To be honest) and allows teens to answer polls about their friends anonymous. The content is positive (e.g. Who makes you laugh the hardest? Who is most likely to be the president?) etc., and you are notified when you or a friend has been tagged. Net Nanny has a great article about how it works.
What Is Strength of Character?
In my view, strength of character is the ability to overcome incredibly difficult circumstances with a positive spirit. Now, that’s a tough guiding principle to follow. It always helps me to look up to heroes who I hear about on TED Talks, in articles, movies or books. When all the odds are against you, and you never give up – that’s strength.
If you want to read a bit more about that, read my post on becoming the person who can reach your goal, no matter how difficult it is. I love using examples I find in real life in my lesson plans, too. (Stay tuned for my Teachers Pay Teachers store, which will be out later this year. I plan to have lesson plans on diversity and strength using real-life examples!)
Strong Character Examples:
If you’ve been following my blog for any length of time, you may have heard me mention Turia Pitt, the extreme marathon runner/model who was caught in a grass fire and burned more than half of her body. They told her she would never walk again, yet about a year ago, she did the Ironman.
Toughness and resilience in situations like these is (in my view), absolutely incredible. You can read my post on other strong characters here.
Wonder: August Pullman
The amount of mental strength the character in the book/movie Wonder has is phenomenal. In case you haven’t seen the trailer, the film is about a young boy born with a disfigured face. When his mother decides he needs to face the real world and go to school rather than always enrolling in high school, he rises to the challenge.
Stronger: Jeff Bauman
Another movie I watched about mental strength was one I saw yesterday starring Jake Gyllenhaal. It’s called Stronger. (Yes, the holidays involved a bit of indulging in iTunes rentals and cinema tickets!).
Jeff Bauman was standing at the finish line, cheering for his girlfriend in the 2013 Boston Marathon when the bombs went off. As he was standing right next to the bomber, he lost both legs in the explosion. The film documents his recovery and the incredible strength he needed to have to continue on with his life.
Either one of these films would make for a great high school film study! (In my upcoming TpT store, I’ll have a section on film study lesson plans, so stay tuned!).
Have a lovely and productive Monday!
P.S. The photo for today’s post (and poster!) is one I took in Salou, a small town in Catalonia, Spain
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