Saturday, April 14, 2012

Erasing Meanness

When my kids came back from spring break this week, they were greeted with shampooed carpets, new collaboration desk clusters, fully stocked common desks, rotated book titles, and one less fish. I forgot to bring back Skittles, our classroom fish, who was still sitting on the entertainment center at home.

It was very much a fresh start for everyone after the winter grind that brought long streaks of indoor recess, multiple rounds of state and district testing, and a consistent escalation of what my kids call "drama." I call it meanness.

For the two weeks or so before spring break, there was a noticeable increase in student counseling , calls from concerned parents, and tears in the 6th grade. Student factions were constantly shifting their allegiances, leaving what were once friends, literally and figuratively standing out in the cold. The evidence and impact of rumor mongering, which causes emotional pain and hurt feelings, had increased. To me, the meanness was starting to erode away some of the classroom community that we had worked so hard to build together over the last eight months.


Monday, as the kids began sleepily doing their morning work and listening to welcome back announcements, I started to clean the main whiteboard. The task  got their attention, because it is something that they have never seen me do before. Tasks like those don't take place when kids are supposed to be learning. I removed all of the 'stuff' from what is normally our main board for instruction. All the magnets, signs, attendance sticks, etc were taken away or placed on the auxiliary board. I used the 'special' overpriced whiteboard spray and some rags to achieve a perfectly white surface. Nothing.

Just before lunch I showed the kids a short video on how to subtly stand up for someone who is being treated mean or bullied. I tried to not sound old while offering them suggestions on how to verbalize  a "stop it" message to someone choosing to be mean.

The following morning I had written, just one word on the board. mean. I then shared some more videos on how bullying happens and how it continues. The lessons were short, focused and sometimes intense. I didn't want to lecture, I wanted to inform. I wanted the kids to make the connection between the words and actions they choose and how those choices impact others.

Wednesday morning, as the kids entered the room, they immediately noticed that the big board was filled with meanness. Mean words, actions, and descriptors filled the space. I choose to write the words in black and blue, to symbolically represent the physical harm that meanness can rise too. After answering the most frequently asked question of "how long did that take you?", they began to notice the breadth of the words. Many of the words the kids didn't know, like avarice, scorn, and nefarious. However, when placed alongside more familiar words like mean, taunt, and pain, the variety of words helped them understand that there is more than one way to describe unkindness.

On Thursday, even-though it took me over an hour  to put the words up just the day before, I erased a bunch of them and created a space to write 'How do you want to be remembered?' smack dab in the middle of all the meanness. I shared my personal story of some events and people from my childhood that I still remembered. Life events that still bring me pain when I recall them. It was difficult at times to tell the stories, but I think my emotions helped land the message that the pain caused by others can last.

Friday we were visiting the middle school that my 6th graders will be attending next year, and with it, a glimpse of another new start. Before we left we watched a powerful video of a young boy who was changing schools and was afraid that he would continue to be bullied and called names. The video message ends with him making a decision to keep fighting for who he is and a recognition that he matters.

Once the video was complete, I silently walked to the board filled with mean words and characteristics, erased one of them, and replaced it with Love. I wanted to give them an opportunity to define themselves, while at the same time realize that they were in charge of their choices and legacy. I handed my marker to one of my students and asked them to help me erase meanness and replace it with a word of kindness or a word that they wanted to be remembered by. Over the next few minutes, as the rainbow of dry erase markers were passed around,  the words on the board began to represent their aspirations. I was so proud of these young people and the respect that they were giving the process. They sat quietly and watched their classmates slowly transform the black and blue board into one of color and hope. It was an amazing and touching experience.
We then headed off to their new school for a morning of  tours and lunch. We had a blast seeing all of the resources and activities that will be part of of their academic lives in 7th and 8th grade. When we returned I shared the activity with my science and math sections. Powerful moments were created each time. We began to see how we can change the world with just a little kindness.  Our world prism widened as we began to realize what we could become.

During dismissal procedures, when my kids returned to gather their things and head home, they noticed that all of the harmful words weren't gone. Still visible were words such as envy and detest, but then a powerful observation was made. Yes there was meanness still present. Sadly, we can never get rid of it all, but kindness and caring can overwhelm the unkind. When we looked at the colored words of kindness that now represented our 6th grade, you barely noticed the words of pain.

We literally "Erased Meanness" and replaced it with kindness.

Update May 2013 : The reply I gave to a reader's request.

Thanks for reading, I appreciate it. And yes it was an amazingly powerful lesson and one that I hope they never forget. I've never included the specific videos that I used in this post, because I picked them out specifically for my kids to address some of the things that I was seeing in my classroom. I guess I didn't want the lesson to be copied verbatim if another educator wanted to use the idea. I would rather have them tailor it to their classroom. I see know that that may have been shortsighted. I used a variety of sources and clips and have included them in my October Post "Charles Adler Show" here

The word list I use to create the whiteboard is available here in this Google Doc

Update August 23, 2014 - Launch of EraseMeanness.org ! I started a non-profit organization to spread the lesson of Erasing Meanness beyond this post. Kids really respond to this lesson and it is something that they remember. I like that. 


Join us by visiting our site. EraseMeanness.org
Follow us on Twitter or https://twitter.com/EraseMeanness and Pinterest

Update August 13th, 2015 - New materials for 2015's Worldwide Erase Meanness Day posted at http://www.erasemeanness.org/join-the-movement.html Join us and kids around the world as we try and make the world a kinder place.


Follow me on Twitter @YourKidsTeacher

107 comments:

  1. WOW! What an inspirational activity and post! As a fifth grade teacher, I can really relate. I especially appreciate how respectfully you did this. I will be passing it on.

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    1. Thanks so much for the kind words and thanks for sharing. I wanted the kids to 'own' their words and actions. The transformation of the board helped me do that, without being overbearing. They 'got it'.

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  2. Your sequence is a great balance of not preaching this delicate issue. Educators are so often 'evangelizing' the bully issue (included) and I am afraid I many times fail to reach the powerful moments where students 'get it'. Great work Eric.

    I have been planning a unit connecting bullying statistic's with my math class and your model is a great intro. I'll let you know.

    Cheers,
    Paul Kelba

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    1. Thanks. I'm glad that balance came through in the post. I think, especially on this issue, that kids will turn adults off if the message is too 'preachy'. The moments that we had in the classroom were very powerful and didn't need me shoving the point down their throats. I stood back and let them learn from each other.

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  3. Wow, very powerful! I'm thinking I'd like to take this activity down to the level of my second graders. Thanks for sharing this valuable experience!

    Sally from ElementaryMatters

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    1. Thanks for the kind words. Powerful is an apt word for what we experienced. I think the kids will remember what occurred for a long time.

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  4. Making meanness visible was a very powerful lesson and strategy. Thank you for sharing.

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  5. Wow. Very moved by this. Start to finish ... you ... your kids ... open, honest, and daring to look reality square in the face. May I ask what videos you shared? I, too, noticed the "drama mean" in the weeks preceding Spring break. Would like to start fresh as we move toward end of year. Again,amazing. My thanks! I will be following on Twitter from today on! @onehopefulheart Barb

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  6. Great lesson. Could you share the video you showed to the kids

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  7. Hi! My name is Latisha Moening. I am representing Lakeville, MN for the year of 2013 and will be running for Mrs.Minnesota International March 2013. My platform is Anti-Bullying. I am trying to connect with the schools in my area and am looking for shorter activity ideas to do with some of these groups that I want to work with. I found your blog through the Nerdy, Nerdy, Nerdy Blog post. I ABSOLUTELY loved this blog, "Erasing Meanness". I would appreciate any advice or information you offer! Thank you for your time!

    Latisha R. Moening
    Mrs. Lakeville 2013
    http://www.facebook.com/MrsLakeville2013

    PS I, too, would love to know where I could get a hold of those videos you were showing the kids! :-D

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  8. WOW this is such an amazing and powerful lesson!!! I am sure your students will remember it forever!!

    Could you share the videos you used??? Thanks a ton!!!

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  9. Thanks for reading, I appreciate it. And yes it was an amazingly powerful lesson and one that I hope they never forget. I've never included the specific videos that I used in this post, because I picked them out specifically for my kids to address some of the things that I was seeing in my classroom. I guess I didn't want the lesson to be copied verbatim if another educator wanted to use the idea. I would rather have them tailor it to their classroom. I see know that that may have been shortsighted. I used a variety of sources and clips and have included them in my October Post "Charles Adler Show" http://www.yourkidsteacher.com/2012/10/charles-adler-show-discussion-on.html

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  10. Powerful lessons...thanks for sharing. I am going to forward this to our bullying prevention committees and counselors. I hope your students take those lessons with them and remember them in the moment... Well done, you.

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    1. Thank you. I have just been amazed at how an idea that I came up with while out on a training ride has helped so many. Thanks for reading, your encouragement and kind words.

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  11. Magnificent. I love the idea that your kids lived with these words all week long. It's easy to look the other way and ignore bullying and unkind words. Using words to bring the reality of "meanness" front and center is so powerful. Thanks

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    1. Thank you, The words took front and center for the week. I wanted to surround them with words that can hurt and then show them how they can make a difference. Thanks for reading.

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  12. This is really good. So well done. I have been sharing the idea with lots of people (credit to you of course). Thanks so much!

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    1. Thanks for reading and for sharing. The response to this post has been overwhelming. I'm glad it has helped more than just my kids. Feels great.

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  13. I stumbled upon this post via Pinterest. Although I am not a school teacher, I have 5 children, all school-aged. Thank you for sharing this experience. I hope you don't mind, but I plan on doing something similar with my kids in the home. They tend to get on each others' nerves and hurtful words are said. I love the concept of how to get them to own their identity.
    Thank you again.

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    1. Thanks so much for reading, I'm glad you liked it. By all means use the parts of the lesson that help. The key is to make it meaningful for the kids.

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  14. Wow, I love this! We did a kindness challenge around Valentine's Day and I was so touched by how kind 7th grades can be.

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    1. They have it in them, but by that age so many of them have started to build up walls that prevents it from showing. Thanks for reading.

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  15. Wow! I love this idea! Thank you for sharing!

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    1. I, too, have been dealing with middle school meanness this year. I tried your idea as part of our Peacemakers class, which we do with all of our middle schoolers once a week. They got it. I really think they got it! Thank you!

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    2. Middle schoolers, to quote Forest Gump, "is whole 'nother country." I'm glad the idea helped. Thanks for reading and for continuing to help your kids "get it' Awesome!

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  16. Eric,
    I wanted to add something to your program, mostly in dealing with adults that we have all run into, both in person and on line when the subject of bullying comes up. They love to say "back in my day everybody was bullied at one time or another but kids were taught to fight back, toughen up, deal with it. They will often tell us that the problem today is simply the "big deal" we make of it that helps to make the victims of bullying...well feel like victims. But I tell them they are very very wrong and you can share this story when you run into these folks in the future.
    I was in grade school in the 60s in a very small town where everyone knows everyone. There were a number of kids, probably about 10 or so per class that would be singled out. Mostly they were the very poor of our town. Had few clothes, which could often be dirty or heaven forbid not in style. Kids would touch them and then run and touch someone else and say "you have (______insert kid's name here) germs." Kids would put an X on their hand with a marker and claim they were vaccinated against ______germs. These kids were never picked for a team, never included, and made fun of constantly. While in 6th grade, one day at school the administration and some strangers came to our class and announced that one of our classmates had died. The strangers were there to counsel any kids that took it hard or needed to talk. I wanted to scream at the top of my lungs that they should be there to counsel the kids responsible for this kids life because at only 11 years old, he had hung himself. His Mother found him in his bedroom. I would never forget him ever and the fact that I knew we were all responsible for his death whether we participated or sat back quietly just thankful it wasn't us that day. I would later realize that out of that group of about 10 kids, not one of them ever graduated. They dropped out of school very young and ended up with meanial labor jobs and they too struggled with life.
    So whenever some older person tries to relay to you that bullying was no big deal in the "good ole days" it is a lie. It has hurt, damaged, and killed people for as long as it has existed. It was never OK and never will be. The last thing any of our kids need is to live with the guilt for a lifetime of knowing you played a part in the horrible and senseless death of another child. It never ever leaves you!

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    1. You're absolutely right, it never really leaves you. I'm a grown man with a family and a career and the pain of my youth is still there when I recall the years I was in someone's target area.

      Thank you so much for sharing your story. It certainly adds to the urgency of giving kids tools to stop or significantly mitigating bullying at a younger and younger age.

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  17. I love the way you symbolically used kindness to overwhelm meanness. It seem that it is so much easier for humans to access our angry, mean and selfish side, but it only ever leads to hurt and pain not just to others but also to ourselves. Punishing those that perpetrate the bullying might have an immediate effect by protecting the victim from the bullier but it doesn't really teach the bullier or the surrounding children much - it just teaches them what they already know which is that they shouldn't do it. A lesson that allows them to express their love and kindness gives them the opportunity to access that part of themselves without being embarrassed - something that is often difficult for a lot of people but particularly for children of that age. I'm really impressed with your lesson here. I hope a lot of teachers in this country read this blog and follow your example. Filling the world with kindness is One thing we are All capable of doing and it is a great lesson to learn at any age.

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    1. Thank you so much. I really think that the message that good can overpower unkindness or meanness is something that everyone can do. "Even" kids. Especially the adults charged with giving those kids the tools to deal with such a tough and meaningful issue. Thanks for your kind words and your hope.

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  18. Eric, I had a tough time in what they use to call, Jr. High School. It was 7-9 grade. I almost flunked 7th grade but made it up in summer school. I did the same thing in 8th grade but this time my parents said no summer school. So the second time around my friends were now in 9th grade. When we met in the hallway ,it was Hey, Gordon you dummy you nah nah nah nah. I felt terrible. Through a series of events I ended up in a private school in North Georgia. No one knew of my academic background. In high school one day my english teacher told me in front of the whole class, Gordon if you ever think of going to college forget it , you will never make it. But in spite of that pronouncement, I was elected to a leadership position in High school. What a change that made for me. I realized that my Jr. high friends and the english teacher were wrong and I was going to prove it. Well I graduated from high school and applied to a small college in North Georgia. They accepted me. I graduated after 5 years of study with a BS degree. I had a lot of failures but people accepted me. After marriage, I went on to Graduate study and finished with a MA from a school in California. A change of schools and acceptance of new friends were a life savior for me. I think if I had stayed in my home situation with all the bullying, I probably would have end up a dummy and no future. Gordon

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    1. Good for you! What a great story of perseverance. Thanks for sharing. I think your story helps to demonstrate that people and their kindness can make a huge difference.

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    2. Dear Gordon,
      I applaud you as well. It sickens me that a TEACHER said that to you. I would have loved if you had gone back, and lovingly told her that her words did hurt, but you were able to overcome.

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  19. Wow, you are truly an inspiration to us all. I saw this link posted by a friend in Atlanta, and have shared it with my daughter's teachers here in Australia. I think every child would truly succeed in life if they had teachers as inspiring as you.

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    1. Thanks for your kinds words. This lesson was based on a simple idea married with a simple but tangible way to land the message. Delivered subtly. I don't know if I'm inspiring to every child. I'm just not that good yet, but I'm trying my best.

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  20. This is wonderful! I saw it on Pinterest and will try to find a way to use it with our girl scout troop next year. In the meantime, I'm sending the link to my kids' school in hopes that they may use it. So happy you shared this.

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    1. Thanks for reading, sharing, and the nice words. It's a lesson that can be modified for any grade level. Feel free to have the school contact me if they have any questions.

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  21. I am a 5th grade teacher and will be using the lesson from now on! Thank you so much for the great idea. Can you share what videos you played?
    Heather

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    1. Thanks so much for reading and using the lesson. We just finished our Erasing Meanness week. As for the resources, please see my May 2013 update at the bottom of the post or the Charles Adler Radio Show post for videos I have used and other resources.

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  22. Thank you for sharing this lesson. I am having a similar issue of meanness creeping into my grade 7 classroom and disrupting the community we previously had. I had been plucking out videos and activities for them when I stumbled across this post. I believe my students will respond to your white board activity. Thank you for the inspiration!

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  23. Wow - how powerful. Notice that the folks who shared their own stories of pain are still so full of hurt that they need to stay "anonymous" so many years later... that just breaks my heart and I'm sending you all a big hug. Eric, I also wanted to say what a great idea it was to approach the issue in the way you did, rather than to punish the kids or yell at them, etc. Letting them see and learn for themselves was the best thing to do - kudos to you.
    Peace.

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  24. Beautiful lesson! Strong and powerful!

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  25. Eric,

    This is such a powerful post. It has me breathless. I can relate as a teacher and as a parent of middle school children. I am certain you have positively impacted the students in your class. I wish all teachers could spend more time teaching how to solve problems and be kind.

    Thanks for sharing.

    Peace!

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  26. Thank you, Eric. You are clearly an extraordinary teacher and person. Your students, school community, and others with whom you have shared your inspiring message are better for having had the opportunity. I am an elementary school art teacher (K-6) and also see the pain, isolation, and trauma that young and "old" children experience and/or inflict on each other. In our school, sixth graders, too, seem to have a similarly abrupt transformation. Please know that your students WILL remember this experience and it absolutely made a positive and lasting impression. As a specialist, I have had the opportunity to know and teach every child in my school, actually the whole town, ages 5-18. I see the influence of one classroom teacher on a group of 20 or so kids. Many of us are able to suppress the "drama' in our classrooms with extrinsic rewards and other methods so everyone can get right back to work. But unless students are moved to think differently about themselves and others the meanness continues. Thank you for moving me to rethink some of my own strategies. Best regards, Shannon

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    1. Thank you for your extraordinary words of encourangement and appreciation on this post. I appreciate them a great deal. Having the kids think differently about their actions towards others and how those actions have long term effects is the purpose of this lesson. I'm glad that our experience has contributed to your learning as well. Thanks

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  27. This is AWESOME. I teach elementary emotional support and will be doing this as one of our social skills lessons! Thank you for sharing!

    Brandi
    apeachfortheteach.blogspot.com

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    1. Thanks! That is great that you are sharing the lesson. I think that the act of replacing something mean and replacing it with a kind word, "sticks" with the kids.

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  28. WOW! Thanks for this POWERFUL lesson idea!!!

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    1. Powerful is a word many people have chosen to describe the experience. I don't have any substitute for the activity. Powerful for me as well.

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  29. I am a college student with an Early Childhood Education major. I am also an advocate against bullying. I LOVE this article and idea! I hope to be sharing with other teachers and sharing your blog post on my own blog! Thank you so much :)

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    1. Thank you for your kinds words, I'm glad the idea will help you and your future students. Best of luck in your teaching pursuit. Teaching is a challenging endeavor to be sure, but when you can make a difference, all worth it.

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  30. Eric - if every teacher in our country took your approach imagine what the kids in our classrooms could do!

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    1. I'm just one of many. We're out there. If we help take part of the fear out of there lives, there's nothing stopping these kids.

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  31. Absolutely amazing posted this up on https://www.facebook.com/PLAYSMARTLTD I hope those who see it use it. What a lasting powerful impact this would have on the kids.

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    1. Thanks so much. Thanks for sharing. I hope the positive impact lasts as well.

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  32. I used this lesson with my students here in Sweden along with this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vmQ8nM7b6XQ

    Even though English isn't their first language they were able to still understand the impact of the lesson and they were able to participate. It was great to see them walk up and erase the hurtful words and replace them with words that they knew were more kind.

    Thank you for the idea and the impact will live on with my kids.

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  33. Thanks so much for letting me know that this message has reached so far. I am really appreciative. I hope for the best of fortune to you and your students.

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  34. I am a youth pastor in africa and have been dealing with some bullying in our group. this is a great activity idea to help cut out meanness and encourage kindness. thank you for sharing.

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    1. Thank you so much for sharing, I am also glad you were insightful on challengeng others to tailor the lesson to their context.

      Great job!

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  36. Thanks so much for sharing this! I have a group of 6th graders about to leave for a junior high, and I have one class period that is in desperate need of team building. So glad I found your post!

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    1. Thanks for reading and trying it in your classroom. I hope it helps your students make some meaningful connections to their choices.

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  37. Hey! This lesson sounds great. I am a student teacher and I am going to adapt this lesson for my classroom. I am going to use polleverywhere.com, a website that allows students to text in their responses and they will show up in a word cloud like what you have created on the whiteboard, but will be totally anonymous.

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    1. Neat idea! I love seeing other teachers adopt and adapt this classroom culture changing experience. Thanks

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  38. Could you email the links to your videos? I love this idea. Nbrewer@nbschools.net

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  39. Would love to know the videos you used?

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    1. The videos and some other resources are listed in this post. Thanks for reading! http://www.yourkidsteacher.com/2012/10/charles-adler-show-discussion-on.html

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  40. Beautiful. Students remember moments. I imagine this is something they will remember forever!

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  41. I just published a book on bullying called A BUG AND A WISH - Hopefully it will help teach this concept to younger kids. Search the title on Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

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  42. This is so great! Strong, powerful, positive!
    Thank you for sharing. I'm going to use this in my 8th form!

    Kind regards from the Netherlands,

    Marieke

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    1. Great to hear! and thank you! I hope your kids understand the importance of erasing the meanness in their lives. All my best!

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  43. You are the teacher I strive to be. I imagine you being remembered fondly by many as the teacher who believed that kindness is in everyone of us. I will use this activity with my 7th graders for sure! Peace ~ Evelyn

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    1. Thank you for your kind words. I'm trying. And I do believe that everyone has kindness in them. We just have to find ways to bring it out more. Please tell me how the lesson goes with your 7th graders.

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  44. Wow. This is absolutely incredible. If I teach my students anything this year, I want it to be how to care for one another. Any thoughts on how to adapt this for 1st grade?

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    1. Thanks so much. That is a great learning goal!

      One of the videos you can show 1st graders that helps them 'get it' is the 'Lifevest Inside - Kindness Boomerang' A couple of the 1st grade teachers in my building used it this year on Erase Meanness Day. The video does a great job of illustrating kindness' ripple effect. You might also find some resources or ideas on EraseMeanness.org's Pinterest page.

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    2. This is great, thanks!

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  45. I am not a student, teacher, mother or carer....I am just an average woman and I would think this would be a very good thing for adults to experience also

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    1. Thank you. I agree. We all could use a little more kindness and would benefit from asking ourselves "how do we want to be remembered?"

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  46. I read this with tears in my eyes. What a fantastically effective teaching tool. I am a Girl Scout leader with 19 girls in 5th and 6th grades. We talk about bullying at least twice a year, and the girls always know someone who is on one side or the other of bullying. I just keep talking to them about being strong and advocating when they see someone being targeted. I wish my girls could see your lesson. I will try to figure out a way to approximate it in a troop meeting setting.

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    1. Thank you! I really don't believe that girls are meaner than boys, but I do think they need more adult support at the 5th/6th grade age. I hope you can find a way to make the lesson tangible for you girls. I have a lot of organizations and resources listed on Erase Meanness' Pinterest and website. Hopefully you can find something there that can help you out. http://www.pinterest.com/EraseMeanness/ and http://www.erasemeanness.org

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  47. I was searching for a new idea to teach kindness to young kids & I was blown away by your lesson. This is so wonderful & powerful. What a great idea. I hope you don't mind if I share it with my little ones.

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  48. Hi!
    Love this lesson. Found it on Pinterest. Was wondering if anyone has tried it at the beginning of a school year to set the tone??? I teach seventh grade.
    Thanks! :)
    Susan

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    1. Yes, some people have used it in the beginning for just that. A good idea. Join us for Erase Meanness Pledge Day 9/16 http://www.erasemeanness.org/join-the-movement.html

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  49. I have retired,about one year, and as you can see I can't help but look at teaching tips still. I so wish I had this lesson to help me in my room- "Speak kind words and receive kind echoes." was our motto from day 1. That also included the little voice in their heads.
    I will tell you that I will be passing this on to my team of inspired younger teachers in hopes that it will help them and today's students. Many thanks.

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  50. I have retired,about one year, and as you can see I can't help but look at teaching tips still. I so wish I had this lesson to help me in my room- "Speak kind words and receive kind echoes." was our motto from day 1. That also included the little voice in their heads.
    I will tell you that I will be passing this on to my team of inspired younger teachers in hopes that it will help them and today's students. Many thanks.

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  51. I love these ideas, I think they work perfectly well with young learners. I am actually thinking of using some of them while teaching my own kids. I will let you know how it works with them. Thanks for sharing.

    kids schools

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    1. Thanks! And yes, please share how your kids make the world a little kinder. #EraseMeanness

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  52. This is one of the best lessons that I have every heard of. Thank you for sharing. Imagine all of the thousands of kids that it will affect in the future from other teachers sharing it. If you wrote it up and shared it on https://www.teacherspayteachers.com, I would buy it. You students are very, very lucky to have you.

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    1. Thank you very much. Through erasemeanness.org we've reached the thousands you refer to and with the last event (EraseMeanness Pledge Day 9/16/15) we had 30,000 on six continents! The sharing and adaptation of the lesson has been very inspiring for me. It's nice to think the lesson has monetary value, but for me, the lesson should always remain free.

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  53. This activity is amazing! Thank you for sharing...

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  54. Came across this while looking for some acitivty ideas for "Diversity Week" with my students. Love the idea. Thanks for sharing!

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  55. I am interested in the videos you used to front load this powerful activity!!??

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  56. Just came across this and I cannot thank you enough! I teach 14 fifth graders and another teacher teaches 15 fifth graders. The two classes do not get along at all. I have a student that has been labeled the bully and has been the class bully since Kindergarten. I started teaching this class in January so I have not been around these students for as long as others have. I may be rethinking my Monday morning schedule to do this. I have tried everything to get the classes to get along but things still pop up. One class says this and the other class says that. Trying to teach my class that it's how they respond to actions of the other class that matters. Not to be mean back, fight back, yell back, etc. Thank you for writing this and praying it goes well when I do it.

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