In case you’ve missed it, Mark Barnes launched a pretty fabulous education app this month. Hack Learning puts solutions to some of our greatest classroom challenges right in the palm of our hands, and the best news is that the app is completely free.
When you download Hack Learning, be sure to take advantage of my little giveaway as well: The Teach Kindness Project: 52 Ways to Make a Colleague’s Day. I was delighted when Mark invited me to publish this text through him and even happier when he made it the giveaway for his launch.
I hope you’ll add this little book to your summer reading list, and more importantly, I hope it inspires you to start a kindness movement inside of your school next year.
An Excerpt from The Teach Kindness Movement:
Everyone seems to be fighting for or against some version of reform these days. Yet, few seem to consider the unintended consequences of their actions or how the choices they make might influence their greater systems. Battle lines are drawn. Territories are claimed. Every day, we’re sinking our heels deeper into the ground we stand on.
We’re all fighting important battles, and I don’t know about you, but I’m exhausted.
I spend an awful lot of time strategic planning, problem solving, and facilitating conflict resolution anymore. So when Mark Barnes invited me to write a book about kindness, my heart soared a bit. I knew that this project would be a welcome diversion at the end of a merciless winter. I would devote some time to thinking about my favorite people, how they inspire me, and all of the wonderful things that human beings could be doing to spread joy instead of waging war against each other.
A book about kindness: simple, right?
Well, not so much.
Perpetuating a kind culture requires far more than any kindness project leader could ever engineer. When Mark tapped me for this project, I wasn’t really interested in brainstorming lists of nice things that people could do for one another. There are plenty of places where interested readers can access that sort of information. But, I also know that lasting change is often the result of small, slow, incremental shifts in behavior. They allow us to realize progress over time, until activities that once felt unfamiliar become deeply ingrained habits that we no longer feel the need to orchestrate.
How many times have you participated in a project that ended up changing your life? I’ve had this experience a few times. These are the projects that never ended. They simply wove themselves into the fabric of my days until it was impossible to distinguish them from the other threads of my life.
Making a Serious Commitment to Kindness
Books like these may seem like fluff, but I know the power of kindness movements and the influence that successful efforts have had on my own mental health and energy. I also know that making someone else’s day is always far more rewarding for me than it is for any benefactor. When my world seems harsh and cruel, there is no better therapy than practicing kindness with great intention. This isn’t as simple as it seems though.
Rather than providing readers a set of kind acts to draw inspiration from, I tried to inspire some very serious thinking about true kindness: what it is, what it isn’t, and what kinds of efforts seem to make a lasting difference. I hope you’ll read the book, share your review, and contribute to this conversation by using the #TeachKindness hashtag on Twitter. You can chat with me there as well.
Come help me perpetuate a different kind of reform effort. Add this book to your summer reading list, and make serious commitment to kindness next school year.