Day 1: A Clean Slate
We watched 2 videos depicting how easily words can hurt. The kids sat, speechless for once, listening to and reading words they have said or have had said to them. There were a few teary eyes and a bold confession by one boy who said, "I'm guilty of that". His sad eyes behind his cute glasses made my heart swell. I commended him for his bravery and honesty.
Day 2: One Word
Written in red, dead center on that incredibly clean whiteboard. It was not easy to ignore as the fifth graders gathered together once again. We teachers each shared a story of mean kids we remembered from school. The remarkable thing was we could each recall the names of the kids who were mean to us some 20, 30 and 40 years ago!
We watched another short clip and ended the session with a discussion about meanness. What does it mean? How do we show it? How does it feel? We could see this little discussion starting to sink in.
Day 3: Black and Blue
Jerk. You can't sit here. You suck. Ugly. Stupid. Loser.
Over 100 black and blue words surrounded meanness. These were words and phrases we heard our students say over the course of the year. They were hard to look at...all day long. The children were astounded by all the hurtful words they've said.
Day 4: Toothpaste
When posed with the question "What does this toothpaste activity have to do hurtful words?", we heard several different responses. One little girl spoke up and said, "The toothpaste is like the unkind words spilling out of your mouth, once they are out there you can't get them back in, the hurting can't be stopped." Nailed It!
Day 5: How Do You Want To Be Remembered?
The picture below is by far my most favorite. I not only love the girls at the board, I love the two in the foreground, clearly thinking about the week we've shared.