Wednesday, May 1, 2013

We are "Choosing Kind" at Van Meter....and Making a Difference with R.J. Palacio and Patricia Polacco

Choose Kind....Make a Difference. 

This is what we are doing within our library and school at Van Meter.  It is starting with our fourth graders and it is going to spread around our entire school community.  

Two weeks ago the fourth graders and I created a virtual poem entitled "Choose Kind" with our friends in Vermont.  We used Padlet and thought of all kinds of wonderful ways to show kindness.  They loved the connection with our friends in Cally Flickinger's library and loved seeing the poem that we all created with these kind thoughts. 

When we visited the Choose Kind Tumblr, we saw a beautiful video that Josh Mika created for the Naperville Reads event this year.  In the video his students tell us how they will choose kindness, what they can do to make a difference in the lives of others.  

Today we started creating our own message. 
I started out the time with them by reading the first four chapters of Wonder by R.J. Palacio.  

Wonder is inspiring, transforming and gives one so many honest reasons to choose kind.  The little people could have listened to me read to them all day.....they loved the book and couldn't wait for their teachers to continue to read it in their classroom. 
They brought their white boards and wrote their "Choose Kind" messages on them.
They took this very, very seriously.  All of them knew that their message of kindness will make a difference in the lives of others.
I then took each child outside and took their picture in front of the school.

The really powerful thing....

The students were sharing their messages to #ChooseKind.
While we were taking the pictures outside, I also started another activity that tied into our theme for the day.  

Last weekend I had the honor of attending the Patricia Polacco Skype Professional Development Workshop at Mackin Education Resources in Minnesota.  What a wonderful event!  She is one of our favorites at Van Meter....and has been one of mine forever.  It was such a special day for me to be involved in this event and to meet Patricia.  

After hearing her personal story and thoughts about what is happening within schools and among children, families, teachers, and the world I was moved to bring her words back to Van Meter.  
I introduced Patricia's new book Bully to the 4th graders. 

London did a great job reading Bully to our class.  This is one book that every library, classroom. school, and family should have and share....The message is one that focuses around cyber bullying within schools and among young people.  
 London, you say it all.

Smile :) 

What a simple, yet powerful way to make a difference.  We are so excited to put all of Van Meter's messages together.

Thank you R.J. and Patricia for the little extra inspiration you have given us through the messages in your beautiful books.  We can't wait to share our message with you too.


  1. VERY well written Shannon Miller...thank you for all the wonderful work you do with the kids, and the teachings you share. We are blessed in Van Meter to have you.

    1. Thank you....I love working with the kids at Van Meter. :) I am the lucky one.

  2. Excellent! What a wonderful project.