Kindness Rocks

Third grade studies rocks and minerals in science.  Ms. Hicks, 3rd grade Spectrum teacher, is always dreaming up ways to extend and enrich the study.  We have collaborated together many times, and I always love leaping into something new.  In the past, we’ve Skyped with a jewelry studio and designed our own jewelry.  We’ve thought about climbing wall design and how the hardness of different rocks and minerals would support the design. Students even 3D printed prototypes of their climbing walls.  This year we once again worked together to add a new layer to this science unit.

I’ve been watching lots of people getting involved in kindness rock projects locally and globally. The idea of these projects is to spread words of inspiration in the world through randomly placed rocks and inspire people to create good in the world.

Our local Athens Rock Project

I’ve found a few of these rocks myself and know that it gives you a bright moment in your day just to know that someone cared enough to create a piece of art intended for good.

Be light in a dark world #rockpoetry #rock #paintedrocks

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Gretchen Thomas, UGA instructor, and I have been brainstorming the idea of weaving this project into makerspace, but we held off this semester.  I passed the idea on to Ms. Hicks and we decided to give it a trial run.

We started by showing images of rocks and asking students if they had ever found a rock like these.  I was surprised at how many stories were already in our small group of 15 kids.  From a rock in a stream to a rock in the park, students had stories of words and images they had found on rocks.

Then we watched this video to consider the meaning of a project like this.

We also read an excerpt from If You Find a Rock by Peggy Christian and Everybody Needs a Rock by Byrd Baylor. These books helped us think beyond a rock just being a rock but instead a symbol of something else.

Starting our rock project today with some 3rd graders #kindness #kindnessrocks #rock

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At tables, students used an index card to plan out their rock.  We wanted them to really take their time in planning so that they chose their words with purpose, so Ms. Hicks and I conferenced with students as they worked. They chose a word or phrase, wrote a short explanation of their choice, and sketched a design for their art.  Students also selected a rock. All of this took one class session.

In the next session, students used paint pens and paint to design their rock.  Most started by getting the word(s) onto the rock and then worked on design. If they finished early, they helped one another fan portions of rocks to get them dry enough to keep painting on.

Kindness rocks in progress #choosekind #rocks #kindnessrocks

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My wonderful computer technician, Allie, added layers of Mod Podge onto the rocks before our 3rd session. Here’s where this project is taking a different turn that many of the kindness rock projects.  We don’t really want to be random.  We want the person who finds our rock to know a bit more about it.

In our 3rd session, we used Flipgrid to record videos to tell the story of our rock.  Students talked about the reason they chose their word and even why they designed it the way they did.  We also brainstormed what someone would need to know in order to get to the video we recorded.

I took this brainstormed and turned it into an information card to put with our rocks.

Instead of randomly placing the rocks, we are putting them all in one container. We’ve talked with Avid Bookshop in Five Points and will be placing this container somewhere outside the shop.  Our hope is that people will select a rock, take an information card, watch the accompanying video, and hopefully leave a response video to the student.

It’s all a big experiment, and I’ve tried to be very open with students about that from the beginning.  Anything could happen.  We of course want every rock to be taken and for every person to leave a response, but we also know that might not happen.  Whatever happens, we’ll know that our rocks have gone into the world and caused at least one person to pause for just a moment and think about kindness.

Before our rocks go to Avid, we’re making a few more.  If your’e in the area, keep your eyes open in Five Points for a clear acrylic container near Avid Bookshop sometime this week!

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Add Your Voice to the Kindness Week Flipgrid

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Each week leading up to World Read Aloud Day (February 24th) we want to join our voices around the world to celebrate one of the strengths of reading aloud.  During the week of January 24-31, we celebrate how reading shows us examples of kindness in the world.

LitWorld 7 Strengths

We have created a Flipgrid for you to share your responses to the following question:

What kindness role models have you met through reading?

We hope you will share this Flipgrid with other educators, students, and families around the world and record your responses which can last up to 90 seconds.  Wouldn’t this be a great way to practice some informational writing in classrooms?  Wouldn’t you love to hear stories from the families that you serve?  Aren’t you curious about the perspectives on this question from around the world?  Let’s join our voices and contribute responses all week long.  Can we show our own kindness by contributing our voice?

http://flipgrid.com/#527147e0

In addition, you might also consider coming up with your own posts in response to this week’s theme on your own blog or site.  You might write a post about a fictional character who has been a model of kindness and post on your blog or other social media. Better yet, have your students write these reflections and share them with you.  You and your students might perform random acts of kindness during the week and take photographs to post to Instagram or other social media. You might create a special display of kindness related books in your classroom or library.. Whatever additional ways you choose to celebrate “Kindness Week”, please tag your posts with #wrad16 and #kindnessweek as well as mention @litworldsays (Twitter) and @litworld (Instagram, Facebook).

I know two of the stories we will read during Friendship Week are If You Plant a Seed by Kadir Nelson and Each Kindness by Jacqueline Woodson, but we will read many other kindness stories during the week as well.

It’s not too late to share your schedule for World Read Aloud Week on our shared Google Doc and find someone to connect with around the world.

Let’s share how we show kindness as well as find kindness in our global community.

WRAD16

Let’s All Connect for LitWorld’s World Read Aloud Day 2016

It’s time for us all to start making plans and building excitement for Litworld‘s World Read Aloud Day 2016.  This year, World Read Aloud Day takes place on February 24, 2016, but many of us will celebrate the entire week of February 22-26 and into the next week for Read Across America.  We also have an exciting addition this year called the “7 strengths” of reading aloud, which will give us an opportunity to connect our voices leading up to the official World Read Aloud Day.

WRAD map

World Read Aloud Day “calls global attention to the importance of reading aloud and sharing stories.”  When we connect our students through Skype, Google Hangouts, or other web tools, they experience the power of the read aloud and realize that they are connected with a bigger world that is both the same and different from them.

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Shannon McClintock Miller and I invite you to start posting your schedules on our shared Google Doc.

WRAD 16 Doc

http://tinyurl.com/wrad16

When you share your schedule, be sure to include:

  • Your name
  • Your contact info such as social media, Skype, and/or email
  • Your role
  • Your school and grade levels
  • Your location
  • List your time zone when posting your available dates and times

After you post your own schedule, take a look at the other schedules and sign up on someone’s schedule to connect your students.  We’ve found that it doesn’t matter if same grade levels connect with one another. Often times, an older grade can read aloud to a younger grade or younger grades can find parts of a books that they can read aloud to an older grade.  There’s not just one way to connect.  Part of the fun is meeting new friends, planning your read alouds, and seeing what magical things happen during your connection that you weren’t even expecting.

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We have many ideas from previous years on our blogs.  You can read more about World Read Aloud Day 2015 on Expect the Miraculous and The Library Voice.  Litworld also has several resources for you to use in your planning and connections including:

Litworld WRAD16

Each week leading up to World Read Aloud Day, we will be focusing on one of the 7 strengths of reading aloud.  Wouldn’t it be fun to hear voices from around the world reflecting on these strengths as we await our real-time connections?  We’ve made a series of Flipgrids that anyone can add to.  We hope you will all will reflect on these questions with your students, teachers, and families and have them all respond on a Flipgrid.  All you need is a computer with a webcam or a free app on a tablet.  We’ll be sharing more posts about these strengths and questions later, but for now, here is a list of the strengths and the links to the Flipgrids.

LitWorld 7 StrengthsWe have an opportunity now more than ever before to connect our voices around the world leading up to World Read Aloud Day and throughout WRAD week.  We hope you will take advantage of all of these tools to show our students and the world that reading aloud makes us strong and connected.  Please let us know if you have any questions along the way.  Happy connecting!

Andy Plemmons @plemmonsa

Shannon McClintock Miller @shannonmmiller