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‘Kindness is the answer’

Northview — They wrote the book on kindness, but you’ll have to wait a while to get the full story. Days after their published softcover work, “The Answer Is Kindness” was added to North Oakview Elementary library shelves, the lone copy had already been checked out and had a lengthy hold list.

“I didn’t expect my whole class to put it on hold,” marveled fourth-grader Tyree Mitchell, one of seven students in grades 1 to 4 in resource teacher Krysta King’s classroom who contributed.

Tyree wrote about his dad’s kindness when he had open-heart surgery in second grade. “He prepared me and calmed me down,” Tyree said. He didn’t have room to write about his mom’s acts of kindness, but he’s open to it if he gets around to writing Volume II.

“Another book? Another process?” he wondered aloud. “Sounds like a lot of fun.”

Luke Krauss pointed with pride to the conspicuous periods at the end of his sentences in the book. He’s become known in his class for the punctuation mark. (“We call him the period police,” King said.)

An anonymous donation enabled each student who contributed to receive a copy of the book, which students worked on for about two weeks. 

Kindness Through Conjunctions

The project grew out of the school’s adoption this year of “Kind, Reliable, and Safe” as expectations for staff and students on the district’s theme of belonging.

“I thought it would be a perfect opportunity to really dig into what kindness looks like and feels like with students,” King said. Not only that, “using conjunctions was my favorite part of the project because it allowed a truly academically heavy skill to be completely entangled with something that is so connected to students: relationships with others.”  

To that end, King’s students practiced skills based on “The Writing Revolution” related to cause and effect writing — because, but, and so — “to see the relationship of our actions and other’s actions to being kind … and simply having conversations about when, where, how and why kindness happens all around us.”

Read more from Northview: 
Want a book? Take a book
Elementary buildings welcome author

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Morgan Jarema
Morgan Jarema
Morgan Jarema is a reporter and copy editor, covering Northview. She is a Grand Rapids native and a product of Grand Rapids Public Schools, including Brookside and West Leonard elementaries, City Middle/High School and Ottawa Hills. She found her tribe in journalism in 1997 and has never wanted to do anything but write. For 15 years she was a freelance journalist for The Grand Rapids Press, covering local schools and government, religion, business, home & garden and lifestyles. She and her husband, John, think even those without kiddos should be invested in their local schools and made to feel a part of them. Read Morgan's full bio


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