Thursday, November 20, 2014

Poetry, Kindness and NCTE

I’m off to the annual conference of the National Council of Teachers of English and looking forward to presenting (twice!). My first session is “Sharing Random Books of Kindness: The Power of Story” alongside Eileen SpinelliJerry Spinelli, and Janet Wong.

We’ll be talking about all kinds of books related to the theme of kindness—including poetry, of course. Here are some of the resources I’ve gathered on our topic.


Ferrucci, Piero. 2007. The Power of Kindness: The Unexpected Benefits of Leading a Compassionate Life. Tarcher.
Goldman, Carrie. 2012. Bullied: What Every Parent, Teacher, and Kid Needs to Know About Ending the Cycle of Fear. HarperOne.
Laminack, Lester and Wadsworth, Reba. 2012. Bullying Hurts: Teaching Kindness Through Read Alouds and Guided Conversations. Heinemann.
Mah, Ronald. 2013. Getting Beyond Bullying and Exclusion, PreK-5: Empowering Children in Inclusive Classrooms. Skyhorse Publishing.
Pearson, Ferial. 2014. Secret Kindness Agents: How Small Acts of Kindness Really Can Change the World. WriteLife.
Rice, Judith Ann. 2013. The Kindness Curriculum: Stop Bullying Before It Starts. Redleaf Press.
Rue, Nancy. 2014. So Not Okay: An Honest Look at Bullying from the Bystander (Mean Girl Makeover series). Nelson.

And there are some excellent web resources on teaching kindness and compassion too.


Go here.

“Make Caring Common” Tool Kits for Educators
More here.

For schools, homes, communities; check it our here.

Tools for educators, students, parents, advocates; look here.

Movement, documentary and school program focused on girls; details here.

U.S. Dept. of Education Office of Safe Schools and Healthy Students; look here.

"More than Just Books: Librarians as a Source of Support for Cyberbullied Young Adults: by Abigail L. Phillips; click here.

Of course, we'll be sharing kindness-themed poems from The Poetry Friday Anthology (K-5) and The Poetry Friday Anthology for Middle School, an NCTE Poetry Notable Book, including these two.

I’ll also be participating in the annual “Master Class” coordinated by the Children’s Literature Assembly of NCTE (such a great organization). That session is focused entirely on poetry! I'll post more details about that tomorrow. 

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Posting by Sylvia M. Vardell © 2014. All rights reserved.

1 comment:

skanny17 said...


Many years ago I stumbled on this idea for Class Rules. (Of course we have to have procedural rules in addition). But I called them "The Three Keys For Success" #1. Be Nice, Kind is better.
#2. Work Hard.
#3. Help others, everyone is better.

Kids remember them. I gave examples of how you could do 2 of three and really not be a success in life. As a teacher if you advocate kind, you have to be kind. I would then explain how as the adult in the room I could not let them play all day as much as they might want to do that, since it was my job to teach and theirs to learn. I used this in 5th grade for over 10 years and gr. 3 for 13. I also included my "Golden Nugget" sayings, too. Things I learned from my mother (or glommed onto as I grew and taught) that I felt were apt and important advice for life. Always talked about how I would teach them what they needed to know and more. Kids respect honesty and integrity. I also told them my "rules" needed to be followed every second of every minute of every hour 24/7. I also talked about "slipping or messing up" and how an honest apology and a correction in direction would put you back on track, but you had to walk the talk!! So wishing I could be at your session. I never had great luck with "gimmicks" because the teacher needs to be real and compassionate and strong and prepared, smart and open, while covering all and relating to all kinds of folks. Not an easy task to accomplish, but this worked for me. Children learn what they live, so a kind classroom environment really makes a difference. However, there has to be some kind of consequence for those who might choose to ignore the rules. Though, I ended up with very few discipline issues. (That's not to say things were perfect, but the atmosphere was set and kids got it.) It's a mindset, a lifestyle, a culture and important to be kind. And also find joy in the day and the learning. That's why poetry is/was the heart of my classroom in the later years of my career. Bravo to you and your presenters!
Janet F.