Kindness Blossoms at Leighton Elementary School

OSWEGO – Born from a classroom discussion about character, Leighton Elementary School sixth graders began spreading acts of kindness through their writing.

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Leighton sixth graders recently displayed kindness by sharing why they are thankful for Leighton staff members.

Sixth grade teacher Kate Bowman said her classroom community has become tight-knit since she has implemented strategies for students to use which promote the practice of social skills, as well as emotional and academic lessons.

Since Leighton staff members attended a Responsive Classroom training last summer, Bowman said she and her colleagues have implemented Morning Meetings where those practices are explored daily.

Because of these efforts, Bowman said, classrooms throughout the building have become stronger units.

“Our students are more caring and empathetic and are much more intentional about being kind,” she said.

Upon further discussion about kindness, sixth grade students recently decided to spread kindness with heartfelt, written messages displayed on colored paper light bulbs.

Spreading kindness

Bowman said the social skills lessons, combined with hearing about Oswego City School District Superintendent Dr. Dean Goewey’s “Leaders in Literacy” initiative about kindness, kicked off the sixth grade acts of kindness written campaign.

One note about Leighton nurse Jennifer Sharkey was: “You’re always so caring and you treat any student who walks into your office with care,” while the following was written about Leighton physical education teacher Frederick Donabella: “You always try to keep kids fit and active. You (find) a way to make games fun and make gym fun.”

Acts of kindness have spread throughout the building, with the creation of a kindness heart in the fifth grade hallway.

While students in fifth grade teacher Jamie Turtura’s classroom created the heart to promote kindness and began filling the heart with positive messages to others, all students and staff members have been invited to add their own message to the heart to show that Leighton is a kind place.