Fifth-grade students at the Kenneth L. Rutherford learned about the concept of “community” during a series of visits with Director of Equity Tiffany Hall. Last week, Ms. Hall visited each classroom to get students thinking about how their words matter, and how they, as the oldest students in KLR, can help create a school community built upon kindness and respect.
To begin each visit, she passed out post-it notes and asked students to write down one word that summarized how they would like to feel each day when they come to school and invited students to stick their post-its on a board. Volunteers read out some of the answers: happy, brave, motivated, excited.
The class then watched a video from RocketKids that outlined all the various ways that people can show respect to one another: accepting people as they are, listening to what others have to say, treating others as you would want to be treated.
After watching the video, students broke up into small groups to discuss ways they could put being respectful to one another into practice. Some of the examples they brainstormed included being a good friend, giving someone a compliment, saying “please” and “thank you,” and putting down the phone and taking the time to listen to one another.
Ms. Hall closed the session by reading a poem entitled “Instructions on Listening to the Trees,” by Mahogany L. Browne. In the poem, the author describes a community in nature – how the sun, the water and the tree’s roots all play an important role in helping a tree grow. Just as a tree needs all of these elements to thrive, human beings need the support of a caring community to grow.
“The purpose of these visits was for students to learn how to communicate and respect the perspectives of their peers,” Ms. Hall said. “We are part of a wonderful and diverse community, and the words we say and use matter; they affect how we grow.”