World Kindness Day Giveaway #smallactbigimpact

I don’t know about you, but I think if ever there was a time for a little extra kindness, this is IT! Kindness boosts our connection to one another, helps soothe our anxiety, and brings about a sense of psychological safety. Let’s mobilize kindness and make a big impact, together, one small act at a time!

-Morgane Michael

This year, I’ve decided to do an open-ended Kindness Invitation, that can be adapted for use in the primary, middle-school, high-school, or even hybrid classes. Educators can choose a quick and easy approach, or opt for an in-depth kindness inquiry.

It’s going to be a 5-day event centred around #worldkindnessday, starting Friday, November 13th. Please follow me over on Instagram to join in the challenge and feel free to invite your friends!

How to Participate in the Challenge

  1. Follow me on Instagram! Morgane Michael @smallactbigimpact. If you don’t have social media, feel free to do your own challenges using the links in this blog post and share your activities with me via email.
  2. Invite your students to accept the invitation. They can use the Kindness Pledge and initiate as official Kindness Ninjas (from @joysofkinder) or they can simply join the challenge.
  3. Read the daily challenges to your students-comment, tag others to join, use the hashtag #smallactbigimpact and don’t forget to tag me in your comments/photos/examples (make sure your posts are public so I can see)!
  4. Participate in all 5 challenges (tagging me and linking the hashtag, too) and you’ll enter to win a prizes at the end of the challenge! I’ll choose a winner by the end of November.
  5. Spread the love and kindness to your school, workplace and community!

The 5 Day Challenge (a sneaky-peek for you planners out there;)

Day One

Day Two

Day Three

Day Four

Day Five

Allie Apels and the Kindness Ninjas

I recently had the amazing Allie Apels of @joysofkinder on my podcast to discuss the transformative power of her brainchild “Kindness Ninjas” Social Emotional Learning (SEL) program in her kindergarten class (#kindnessninjas).

Essentially, a few years ago, when Allie was faced with one of the most challenging groups of children she had ever taught, she and her teaching partner (yes, there were two teachers allocated to one class due to the high level of needs), came up with a brilliant way to encourage the development of a kind and supportive classroom. They introduced a kindness ambassador: the kindness ninja. Every day, leading up to Christmas break, Allie and her class would be greeted by the kindness ninja who would leave them notes and various random acts of kindness missions.

She explained that the experience was completely transformative. The class came together as a team and that year wound up becoming one of Allie’s favourite years as a teacher.

Kindness Ninjas Inquiry Workbook and Teacher Guide

The amazing Rebecca Bathurst-Hunt (author of Inquiry Mindset) and Allie Apels teamed together in the spring of 2020 to bring to life an amazing Kindness Ninjas Inquiry Handbook. The link to the booklet and teacher guide can be found here. This is a terrific accompaniment to this 5-Day World Kindness Day giveaway!

Here’s a look back to our 15-Day Kindness Challenge last fall, 2019. There are a ton a wonderful ideas there that you could incorporate into this 5-day invitation.

For extra links to some of the pre-recorded Kindness Ninjas videos for inspiration, HERE’s A DIRECT LINK TO THE YOUTUBE VIDEOS-in FRENCH & ENGLISH 

21-Day Kindness: The Physically-Distanced Edition

When Covid-19 first caused many of us around the world to go into lockdown and to run our classrooms from our couches, it occurred to me that the 21-Day Kindness Challenge would need a little Covid-friendly revamp. So…I created 21-Days of Kindness, choice-board-style.

There is an awesome list of challenges for kindness to others, kindness to the world, and kindness to self. Take a look, some of the ideas could work well for the 5-day invitation.

The Letter Every Teacher Should Write in June

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The Letter Every Teacher Should Write in June

Five years ago at the end of each school-year in the busy month of June, I started the practice of writing a letter to myself.  Like a ritual, I would seal the letter and place it in the left-hand drawer of my desk on the last day of school.  At the end of September, during the beginning of the following school year, a time when the lighthearted novelty of freshly sharpened pencils, crisp and clean notebooks, and excitement to ignite passion in the hearts of our students seems to melt like a brightly-coloured rainbow popsicle on a hot sunny day into thick greyish soup of overwhelm, lack of sleep, and a thorough sense of imposter syndrome, I would allow myself to pry open the letter. I would read each word slowly, with intention, allowing the message to sink into my skeptical spirit… reminding it that, yes, these students would get to where they needed to go. I just had to meet them where they were.

Patience. Time. Faith.

That was all I needed to keep in my mind over the coming months in order to stay afloat.

Throughout most of my career, I have had the pleasure of teaching Grade One, one of the most incredibly rewarding age-groups to teach because of the nature of exponential, near-explosive growth and learning that occurs in such a short period of time.

Like little jumping jellybeans, pint-size bodies file into the classroom in September,

eyes and hearts wide-open to the possibility of learning,

passionate about their beliefs,

sure-footed about their perspectives of the world,

filled with a desire be their authentic selves,

some students filled with trepidation,

others eager to show off their strengths,

certain children combative and oppositional,

other kids quiet and observing,

most are not yet able to

read,

write,

or do math.

There’s truly nothing like it!

It’s exhilarating.

It’s also incredibly exhausting.

But most of all, teaching Grade One (or any grade) can seem insurmountable in September.

The magic of the learning and deep growth that occurs within the soul of each child seems impossible to the rational teacher’s mind at the beginning of the year.

And so, the letter served to remind my “September-Self” that according to my “June-Self”…it would all work out.

No matter how long you’ve been teaching, the beginning of the year can seem tough. Why not take a moment now, in June, to reflect on how far your students have come, you have come together on your journey?

I urge you to jot it down on paper, pop it into an envelope and open that gift of insight and wisdom in September. It’ll alleviate some stress and create a sense of certainty for the future.

I guarantee, it’s the kindest thing you can do for yourself.

 

Hating People Close-Up is Nearly Impossible

Hating People Close-Up is Nearly Impossible

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It was a hectic Saturday morning. Everyone seemed in a rush to attack the ‘to-do’ list so the true ‘weekend’ could commence. There would be causalities. It was inevitable.

Grey drizzle hung low in the air, immediately dampening everything in its path. With soggy urgency, people raced from the warm comfort of their cars to the refuge of grocery and home improvement stores, lists in hand.

My friend was waiting in the McDonald’s drive-through line-up when it happened.  As he placed his order, he saw a woman on a moped cautiously turning right from the busy throughway to join the line-up. Suddenly, a man driving an enormous truck hurried through the entrance of the parking lot, cutting her off and almost causing her to lose control of the moped as he found his place in line behind my friend’s vehicle.

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The woman managed to regain her composure but was visibly shaken. She yanked her moped’s handles in the direction of his truck and pulled-up next to his window with a jolt. Screaming profanities up at him through the driver’s side window, she leaned over, and standing up, started knocking and smacking at his window, urging him to engage. And engage, he did. Back against a wall, he rolled down his window and declared war. Within moments, both were hurling ferocious insults at one-another and the name-calling was gaining momentum. Passers-by were staring and rubber-necking, but no one dared step-in to intervene.

My friend, who had been watching their conflict escalate through his rear-view mirror as he waited, felt helpless. What could he do? He had to do something. This couldn’t go on like this! It could get ugly, fast.

Perhaps, he could shame these two into submission. Pressing the button, started to lower his driver-side window, adrenaline kicking in as he prepared to jump into the fray. Abruptly, he realized that adding another angry, righteous voice to the conflict would surely worsen the situation. Quickly, he raised the window again. Now, feeling even more powerless than before.

He began thinking about the two people arguing behind him. The woman had felt legitimately threatened. Devastating accidents happen all the time. The man had been careless. It could have cost her.

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Then, my friend turned his attention to the driver of the truck. He had been inconsiderate and reckless. He could have caused catastrophic damage. But, he likely didn’t set out with the intention to hurt anybody that morning. His intent had not been to hurt. It almost never is. The momentary haste and lack of empathy had caused him to err. And now, instead of humbly owning his mistake and offering a sincere apology, he allowed his fight instinct to kick-in. Now, in a threatened state, he was out for the win.

It’s hard to hate people close-up.* Most of us don’t like to zoom in on our adversaries. When we do, we risk seeing things from their side. We risk losing. It feels much safer to take a side and fight for the win. It happens all the time. We demonize people, through-and-through. Black and white is easier. Good versus evil. It’s not easy to allow and train ourselves to see the grey area. There’s too much at stake.

It feels risky to be generous with our assumptions. When bad things happen or when people hurt us, it’s so easy to over-generalize our experience. One might create a frame of reference around the experience. It becomes easier to assume that the entire world is filled with hurtful people, that everyone is deliberately out to get us, and that we can only rely on ourselves. One can easily lose touch with the inherent, imperfect beauty of humanity.

It was time for my friend to pay for his cappuccino and muffin. Still behind him, the two continued their struggle. Although he would be incapable of solving their conflict directly, he realized he could still have a positive impact. He paid for his order. Then, glancing back, he paid for their orders, too.

*Source: Braving the Wilderness Brené Brown and Peanuts (Shultz)