Fostering kindness with technology
Allison Kline
July 13, 2017

For better or for worse, the internet influences children’s lives. For some, it is like second nature.

Tamara Letter and her fourth-grade class have decided to use technology in kind and creative ways, for the better.

Letter, an integrated technology resource teacher in Hanover County, Va., illustrates the virtue of kindness to students at Mechanicsville Elementary School by using technology as a vehicle to develop social-emotional skills.

A recent winner of the Editor’s Choice Content Award for her blog post “When ordinary is extraordinary”, Letter began her Kindness Passion Project as an elementary-school initiative aimed to demonstrate kindness through human experience.

A message of kindness

“When Ordinary is Extraordinary“ details a class project in which students were given $10 and instructed to spend it creatively on somebody to show appreciation.

The process included students collaborating via Google Classroom and Google Docs, researching item costs and recording individual experiences that later would be used for a visual presentation during the Kindness Fair.

Students were encouraged to record their daily thoughts and feelings about the experience on the online database.

Technology, a familiar platform to students, helps foster excitement and retains engagement, Letter explained during a recent Education Talk Radio interview.

All individual student projects and commentary were published through a public running blog, accessible through the Mechanicsville Elementary school website, alongside a post that detailed the week’s progressive lesson plan.

A meaningful message

Letter emphasized during the interview that each child, despite their young age, must always make their voice heard. She illustrated this point by sharing the blog and website on Twitter, Facebook and other social media, and encouraged students and parents to follow her lead.

Letter advises teachers to teach lessons on life virtues by creating experiences to learn alongside the students rather than simply instructing from the top down.

Concerted efforts in kindness can also be used with higher education groups, as it is an ageless concept and cultivates the people that students are going to become, she said.

“I think these shared experiences are the moments for these students that they’re going to remember forever as they get older and they look back about what mattered in school and in education,” she said.

Listen to the full Education Talk Radio interview and check out “When Ordinary is Extraordinary” to find more ways to teach kindness in the classroom.

Allison Kline is an editorial intern at SmartBrief.

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