Altmar-Parish-Williamstown sixth grade students are working to erase the epidemic of meanness in schools.
As a community-building activity, Roy Trumble and Matt Frost’s APW sixth grade classes participated in a world-wide campaign entitled “Erase Meanness.”
The five-day lesson consisted of videos and collaborative discussion involving topics such as bullying, empathy and tolerance.
On the first day, Frost’s class filled a white board with words they considered to be mean; Trumble’s class utilized a smart board.
“This is a powerful visual for sixth-graders and has been an emotional experience for my students,” said Frost.
The last day of the project involved a time of reflection on everything the student’s had learned and how they can apply that knowledge to their everyday lives.
Then, taking turns, the students erased a “meanness” word from the white board and replaced it with a word that they wanted to be remembered by.
These words filled the board: respectful, uplifting, loyal, positive, loving, honorable, joyful, inspiring, passionate, kind, helpful, responsible and benevolent.
“It feels good to erase meanness,” said student Jesse Kinney.
Frost pointed out that adding all of the positive words to the board did not completely erase all of the words of meanness.
However, he explained that even one act of kindness goes a long way.
“Each of you can make a difference,” said Frost. “Acts of kindness spread like wildfire. We want to be a part of a safe learning environment where we are willing to take risks.”
Each student completed a certificate in which they pledged to erase meanness by demonstrating positive characteristics that they want to be remembered for.
They also signed a banner that will be displayed in the classroom throughout the year.