“Kindness matters! It can turn a person’s whole day around, and when you work and learn with people who are kind, the day is simply brighter and more productive,” said Connie Lund, a fifth grade teacher at Freedom.

With this in mind, Lund’s 5th graders participated in a “Kindness Retreat.” The students spent time thinking about how kindness can improve behavior and attitudes toward one another, and in turn, create a more pleasant, productive learning environment.

 To start the day, students were tasked with “branding” their classroom by creating a technology based presentation that they developed as teams. The teams used comic life, google slides, and other web based tools to create their classroom ad campaigns. The “brands” were presented to the whole class, then voted on.  A final classroom brand; the City of “Lundun” was overwhelmingly decided on. Teams then participated in escape challenges that require team work and trust. Finally, the students were paired up and asked to create flip grid videos sharing kind qualities about their partner. 

 Overall, the students learned that when they are mindful they can always find a way to be kind, and being kind feels good. Some student comments after the retreat include: 

- “I loved today because I felt happy all day long.” 

- “Today I learned that I can find something kind to say about everyone, even if they are not my close friend.” 

- “Seeing other people’s smiles makes me smile.” 

- “I like it when we all get a long and no one is upset.”  

Lunch said, “Everyone involved felt it was a successful day, with students showing more tolerance, respect and kindness toward each other.”