When I read Each Kindness by Jacqueline Woodson for the first time, it made me not only want to share it with everyone I knew, but also make me want to do something nice for others. This pushed me to think more carefully about how everything affects those around me and I have been happy to begin sharing on here my kindness journey beginning with my "Open Thank You Letter".
If you have not read Each Kindness, let me share the GoodReads's summary with you: Each kindness makes the world a little better. Chloe and her friends won't play with the new girl, Maya. Maya is different--she wears hand-me-downs and plays with old-fashioned toys. Every time Maya tries to join Chloe and her gang, they reject her. Eventually, Maya plays alone, and then stops coming to school altogether. When Chloe's teacher gives a lesson about how even small acts of kindness can change the world, Chloe is stung by the lost opportunity for friendship, and thinks about how much better it could have been if she'd shown a little kindness toward Maya.
Today, I wanted to share with you what I did with my classes when it came to sharing Each Kindness with them. First, I will say that it affected them as much as it affected me. After reading, we had a great conversation about how the book connected to their lives and what it meant to them. This conversation moved to how Chloe's actions affected Maya including inferences of Maya's feelings that were not shared in the book. The insight that my students had were very deep and I believe it made them look at some of the choices they make in their daily lives.
We then moved on to talk about how Chloe could have changed things. How could she have made Maya feel welcome?
Following this discussion, I had the students make an oath to do a kind act that day- something they normally wouldn't do and recorded them on as a poster to share.
The next day we shared the kindness we did:
Only through discussions and books like this, that students will think more about their choices and how it affects those around them. Since this book read aloud and discussion, my students have brought up Each Kindness often and have made connections to their lives as well as other books. Each Kindness is a book that can make the world a better place, but only if it is shared.