Kindness: Pass It On!
Two novels have changed everything in my class this year. We started the year reading Because of Mr. Terupt (by Rob Buyea) and Fish in a Tree (by Lynda Hunt Mulally) as a way to answer the question, “What does the way you treat people tell others about you?” My students analyzed these texts and came up with this year’s theme. Kindness: Pass it On!
One of the most important goals for our school this year is to improve the Social Emotional Learning skills of our students. A kindness theme seems to be just the right focus. Having the kids read about regular kids who change as a result of the kindness of others is a powerful tool. These novels provide just that – the opportunity to talk about the impact that our actions can have on others.
The discussions and writings about these novels proved that these kids get it. They realize the power they have and how they can use that for good or bad. The characters in these novels provide good role models for what to do as well as what not to do. During the novel study, my students wrote about the characters and how they did or did not show kindness. They analyzed how actions show the true character and that it’s not what you say, but what you do. I hope they remember these lessons as they go forward.
There are so many fabulous novels fifth graders can read, but novels with an important message like these teach so much more than reading. It’s important for teachers at every level to choose novels wisely. We can make such an impact on our students with the right materials. Why not choose books that teach the importance of kindness? It might make a real difference.