Teaching Kindness to Reduce Bullying

Why Teaching Kindness in Schools Is Essential to Reduce Bullying

This morning, I came across this Edutopia blog post that ties nicely with our 6th grade class meeting from yesterday based on How Full Is Your Bucket and the children’s version, Have You Filled a Bucket Today.  The lesson was a great success!


Here are the resources we used.

How full is your bucket

water drops

Kid President’s 20 Things We Should Say More Often

Fill Your Bucket-children’s song


16 Conversation Starters with Struggling Students-from ASCD

16 Conversation Starters with Struggling Students

Knowing exactly what to say to students who are struggling is sometimes difficult.  I found this list of conversation starters by ASCD and will keep the suggestions in mind while working with kids.  Maybe the right question will make the difference.


1.  I may not know the best way to help, but give me a hint at where to start.

2.  How can we connect the work/lesson with information that you are already comfortable?

3.  If you were the teacher, how would you want the material explained?

4.  What would make the work more doable?

5.  What can I do to make it hard for you to “not succeed”?

6.  Describe one question that you have about…

7.  Tell me one classmate that you could turn to for help?

8.  Needing help is natural.  Can you think of anyone or anything that never needs help?

9.  What happened the last time you needed help with something?

10.  The last time I needed help was…

11.  Sometimes effort and performance do not match.  Would you agree or disagree with this?

12.  Talking about it may help.  How will waiting help us move closer to a solution?

13.  Let’s wait to talk.  When will you be ready to talk about it?

14.  On a scale of 1-10, how frustrated are you with…

14.  I have tried to help you by…, what else do you need from me?

15.  I may need assistance with getting you back on track.  Do you mind if I get a little back-up?

16.  We will work together.  Let’s keep a record of our effort.  How should we do that?

Writing in the Middle School-Thoughts and Ideas

I tell parents every year at open house that the art of teaching is creating lessons that are so engaging for students that the students are willing to complete the task even if they don’t like what they are doing.  Writing is a great example of this.  Many students do not enjoy writing because it takes a long time, it requires them to think, it doesn’t have A right answer,there are many rules, etc.  However, there aren’t many skills more important for them to learn, so I am always on the lookout for good writing prompts and for resources that can be turned into meaningful, engaging writing prompts.

Here are some my most recent finds and ideas.

What My Childhood Tasted Like informative using an article as a text companion–designed around a lesson from Write Like This by Kelly Gallagher

Two People Meet in Heaven practice writing dialogue

28 Writing Prompts for Middle School  found on Twitter

Two Sentence Horror Stories Great for Halloween

Break Up Conversation Not a new lesson, but the kids enjoy practicing writing dialogue on this lesson.

Southern Journal The Quill and the Mule An article that provides Southern students with the reason they need to write a story that contains a dead mule.  My students have a blast with this.

The Porch Article An article that provides the prompt, “The _____ is the soul of the ____.”  The cafeteria is the soul of the school.  Home plate is the home of the field.


2 Sentence Horror Stories

As I am planning for Halloween in my middle school language arts class, I remembered 2 Sentence Horror Stories.  I pulled up the directions to make sure that I thought this would be a good activity for this years’ classes.  I can’t wait to see what they come up with.

Two Sentence Horror Stories  Here is my presentation.