March SOLC–Day 9
A huge thank you to Anna, Beth, Betsy, Deb, Kathleen, Lisa, Lanny, Melanie, and Stacey for all that they do to create a supportive community of writers and a safe, welcoming space to write, learn, share and grow.
I feel very fortunate to work in a K-8 school that truly values school climate. We’ve done a lot of work to create a caring, supportive, safe environment for students, and we’ve even extended this work to address bus communities with the Peaceful Bus program. Three times a year bus groups gather and older students partner up with younger students. The bus groups work in these partnerships to identify ongoing issues and possible solutions, participate in team building activities,and work on building their bus community. It’s heart warming to hear the coaching that goes on and the gentle, kind ways that the older students support their younger partners.
Yesterday’s Peaceful Bus meeting was run by the middle school students as part of our Anti-Bullying Week activities. First, partners worked on answering a series of questions about bullying. Kids chatted and wrote together. “Would it be a adult or an adult?” a sixth grader asked me as I wandered by. I referred him to his second grade partner who, when he asked, correctly suggested, “An adult.”
I overheard an 8th grade boy softly encouraging his Kindergarten partner, “That’s a great strategy. Can you think of another one?”
After this, students were asked to write down a compliment for their partner. Here are a few of them for you to enjoy:
“You have really pretty hair!”
“You are caring about other people.”
“You’re awesome and nice.”
“I like your boots.”
“You are smart. You are tall.”
“You’re a good friend.”
“I like your shirt and you have good handwriting.
“You stand up for people.”
“I like your shoes. I like your eyes. I think you’re really nice. Have a nice day!”
“You make me feel happy and safe.”
Our last Peaceful Bus meeting of the school year concluded shortly after this activity and I walked back to my classroom. Once again I was reminded of why I love working in a K-8 school and especially in this particular school. Building community isn’t just paid lip service, it’s something we work on consciously and consistently. So, to borrow a few lines from student compliments, to my co-workers and my students I say, “Thanks! You are caring about other people! You make me feel happy and safe!”