At Anne Hathaway Public School (AHPS) this month, three teachers decided to read the same powerful novel to their classes.
Wonder, a novel written by RJ Palacio, is a story that follows Auggie Pullman, a boy who was born with a severe facial deformity. Auggie has been homeschooled his whole life, but enters a mainstream school in the fifth grade. The beginning of the school year was extremely tough for Auggie as he was called names and stared at, but as the year went on, his peers got to know him for who he is rather than for what he looks like, and he ends up making many lifelong friends. The main idea of this book is quite simple: when given the choice between being right or being kind, choose kind.
“We wanted to take the message of choosing ‘kind’ to our entire school, as well as the Stratford community, especially leading up to the holidays”, explains teacher Jordan Tucker.
AHPS held a Choose Kind Campaign for the month of December where they collected mitts, hats, and scarves that would be donated to Stratford’s House of Blessing – an organization who help many struggling families in the Stratford region. When the items were brought in, they were displayed on a Christmas tree in the foyer of the school. Each time a student brought in an item, they were awarded with a kindness coupon. Students were also awarded kindness coupons when they were being kind to their peers and teachers. As a way to recognize the kindness that students displayed during the campaign, one student’s coupon from each class was chosen and they were awarded with a small prize and deemed their class’ kindness representative.
“AHPS had such a positive vibe during the month of December,” adds Tucker, “and it was all because of Palacio’s one simple message: ‘If every person made it a rule that wherever you are, whenever you can, you will try to act a little kinder than is necessary – the world really would be a better place.'”