Tuesday, February 16, 2016

My baby just-a wrote me a letter...

“Remember there’s no such thing as a small act of kindness. 
Every act creates a ripple with no logical end.” 

– Scott Adams

Love letter left in a book for a random stranger.

That's Amore

There are a few things 7th graders do not want to hear a few days before Valentine's Day. This may be near the top of a 13 year old's list... "Tomorrow we will be writing love letters and I'm picking who you're writing to."

More Than Words

My daily warm-ups come from an awesome resource created by Luke Neff. I use his writing prompts, or variation of them, each day as my students enter the room. The prompts are very engaging and often very thought-provoking. As students entered my room I had Love Letters in The Sand by Pat Boone playing and this prompt on the board:

I started with this idea and looked into it a bit further. I discovered this awesome TED talk by Hannah Brencher and this site detailing how to write love letters to strangers.

That's The Way Love Goes

As a college student in the '90s I used to check my mailbox weekly looking for a letter from home. I recently came across letters that my grandmother had written me and it was amazing the flood of emotions that came back to me after reading her letters written in a beautiful cursive writing. It was as if I could hear her talking to me. I shared this with my class as I told them they would be writing their letters by hand. 

I gave the class somewhat vague directions in hopes that I would get some really creative and clever approaches to this task. They were to write about a struggle that they've gone through and to explain how they overcame it and got through it. They were to offer words of encouragement. They were also to remain completely anonymous.When they finished writing, they were to address the envelope and seal it. I told my class they could share their responses with me if they chose. Kids were excited by this and some even asked if they could write for the person reading their letter to write a letter to someone (aka. Pay It Forward). Some of my students chose to share what they wrote with me and I was beyond words when I read their letters. My kids never cease to amaze me - I was humbled and inspired by my kids.

February Love

Early in the morning I posted a message to my classroom Facebook page looking for parent volunteers and the response was overwhelming. 

The parents who volunteered, along with their child, would be secretly leaving the letters at various locations around town over the Valentine's Day Weekend. I asked them to be sure to leave the letters in locations that people would find them - supermarkets, coffee-shops, library, car windshields, etc.

One of my students leaving a "love letter" in the bean section of the supermarket.

Ain't Got Time to Take a Fast Train...

It's a fast paced world with instant connections and contact with our friends and loved ones anytime we want it. This may sound odd coming from a teacher who loves social media and instant feedback, but some days I want things to just slow down. I want my kids to realize it's good to do this. That's why we took a day in February, slowed down, and wrote love letters to strangers.

Our fast paced world needs more small acts of kindness like this. My kids will never know who they helped or how they helped them, but I hope that their letters will make others feel like their "lonely days are gone".