Earlier this month, Arrowhead Elementary worked on a school-wide project called "Kindness Connects Us." The goal of the project was to celebrate acts of kindness that happen every day. Teachers and students worked together to nominate each other for kindness 'links' which were then connected to create chains in each classroom. On June 13th, a school assembly was held to combine all of the links-- creating a giant chain that gave a visible representation of how far their kind acts had reached. Arrowhead Elementary PTA provided Otter Pops and organized a group of parent volunteers to help pass those out and assist during a special celebratory all-school recess.
The Kindness Connects Us project was created by Arrowhead staff as a way to positively reinforce the ongoing work of Multi-Tiered System of Supports (MTSS) and Positive Behavioral Interventions & Supports (PBIS)-- the district-wide framework being used to improve school climate and provide integrated supports for improving social, emotional and academic outcomes for all students. The result of collaboration by Arrowhead's MTSS/PBIS and Equity & Diversity teams, Kindness Connects Us worked to build on the theme of Kindness that the school had been focusing on throughout the year. They also coordinated with Arrowhead PTA to help spread the word to families and organize the culminating celebration-- turning it into a wonderful opportunity for family and community engagement as well.
The project was kicked off by having each student create an "Identity Link" to show kindness to ourselves and to celebrate their individual and unique identities. Each class picked from one of three identity link options. Teacher Jessica-Lynn Tompkins (also a project organizer) described this first step, "The identity links are included in our kindness chain to ensure that everyone (staff and student) had a link right away and to symbolize that even though we are different, we are one community."
For two weeks, teachers gave out kindness links that included the student's name and a place to mark if they were kind to themselves, to others, or to the school. Each class had a goal of 100 links. Students received links at recess, in their classrooms, and could even nominate peers for links during class meetings. Every student in school wrote messages of how to demonstrate kindness throughout their daily lives. Then they ended the project with an all-school assembly where they connected all of the links and enjoyed some music. Together, the links of paper formed a gigantic chain across the school’s campus! The day of celebration was capped off with a special all-school recess and sweet treats from Arrowhead PTA.
This Kindness Connects Us project involved the entire school community and offered an incredible visual reminder of the power of kindness and how kindness can connect us all.
Many thanks to Arrowhead PTA co-President Kristie Johnson and Arrowhead teacher Jessica-Lynn Tompkins for sharing information about Kindness Connects Us with Council (and for providing some wonderful photos!). We hope that Arrowhead Elementary's project can serve as an inspiration for more collaborative community efforts in our schools!