Kindness Boomerang

“It’s important to me to teach my class not just to be good students, but to be good people,” said second grade teacher Bridget Runkle.
“I want to get across the idea that it’s important to do the right thing when no one is looking. At the second-grade age,” she continued, “there’s a big temptation for kids to say, ‘I just did the right thing! Look at me!’”
Before Valentine’s Day this year, Assistant Head of School and Head of Lower School Christina Simonds sent out a list of websites that focused on empathy.
For Runkle’s students, part of following that imperative involved making and delivering cards for the residents of Conestoga View nursing home. When Valentine’s Day rolled around, Runkle found a novel way to engage the clever young minds in her charge, asking them, “We’re so kind to each other on this day, but what about every other day?”
She had found the Kindness Boomerang on one of the websites that Simonds had sent, Life Vest Inside, and she got the idea to film a second-grade version, with the help of auteur Dave Kapferer behind the camera and her own students cranking out premises like an army of Hollywood screenwriters.
Once the class whittled their much larger list down to the 18 best ideas, the writer/actors and Kapferer took just 90 minutes to film the material, which he then edited into the finished video. The only production hiccups came when the students’ dramatic verve got the best of them.
For example, “Sophie dove out of her chair with a bit too much excitement a few times, because she also dove out of the frame,” said Runkle. Overall, however, she and fellow second-grade teacher Tony Hernandez sang the students’ praises, during, but especially after filming.
“I think we’ve seen a higher level of empathy, and understanding of what empathy means from the students,” said Hernandez.
“And I think we’ll continue too, as well.”

Does your school do something similar?

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