In recent years, the media has illuminated the increasing incidents of bullying taking place in schools and the harsh psychological consequences that can ensue. The Middle School Kindness Challenge is a great avenue to teach students in-depth about kindness and positive choices. We particularly liked that it would be a multi-step, ongoing curriculum that would be consistently reinforced. It also helped that our entire district chose to pursue the Kindness Challenge.
At New Haven, our mascot is the Bulldogs, so the MSKC committee (composed of teachers, administrators, and staff) used the play on words to create the theme of, “Prints of Kindness” to encourage everyone to always leave a footprint of kindness with everyone you interact with. The technology students worked together to create a video demonstrating the “ripple effect” of kindness taking place throughout our school. This video earned over 6,000 “likes” and was viewed about 3,000 times, earning the school special recognition by the school board. Watch it here!
The challenge had a noticeable positive effect on many of our students.
One student, Amirah, really took the Kindness Challenge to a whole new level…she truly strives to make difference every day. She wants to be a helper any way she can. She took it to heart so much that she made a list during the challenge where she numbered a piece of paper from 1-20 and had a goal to fill her page up with kind things she had done. I think she exceeded her 20 kind acts and was very proud of herself. She earned recognition and a t shirt for her kindness.
I observed another student picking up little bits of trash as he walked to the entrance following after-school tutoring. When we met at the stairs I thanked him for helping take care of the school. He responded with, “That’s OK. We should all take care of each other. Just because we have custodians to clean the halls doesn’t mean we should leave them messes.”
A student donated $150 of her birthday and Christmas money to support a school fundraiser for Riley Children’s Hospital. She felt compelled to donate and felt it was the right thing to do for those in need (Kaylee T., 6th grade).
We had a special needs student to take it upon themselves to greet & introduce themselves to a district level administrator as they entered the building.The Middle School Kindness Challenge is an intentional and purposeful way to both teach and model what kindness looks like as children and adults. Students do not always get taught soft skills, such as kindness, at home; this is our opportunity to teach them this valuable life skill. The challenge has created a more positive environment at our school, therefore we have seen a decrease in our discipline office referrals, students are more conscious of their behavior and how they are treating others.