Rebecca Gieselmann started the CMDS Kindness Counts program as a way of further developing kindness qualities in the students.
Kindness Counts Week, scheduled for Feb. 11-14, is filled with grade-level guidance lessons and planned classroom activities, all geared toward “choosing kindness.” This year, Guidance Counselor Gieselmann and the other teachers at CMDS are asking 1st-6th Graders to become Undercover Agents of Kindness.
PK Teacher Priscilla Bland shared the “undercover” idea with Gieselmann, but it originated from Justin Parmenter, a 7th Grade teacher at Waddell Language Academy in Charlotte, N.C.
“A few years ago, researchers at the University of Wisconsin set out to answer the question, “Can compassion be learned?” They wanted to see whether practicing the mindset of caring would lead to more caring behavior, and the results of their study were very promising. After practicing compassion towards friends, strangers, and even people they’d had conflict with, participants showed increased activity in the region of the brain associated with empathy and understanding. Just like learning to write the letters of the alphabet or using the quadratic formula, it was regular opportunities to practice the skill that made it more likely participants would successfully use the skill on their own.”
With that information in mind, Parmenter created this project to give his students the opportunity to practice compassion.
UNDERCOVER AGENT OF KINDNESS
YOUR MISSION IS TO PERFORM AN UNEXPECTED ACT OF KINDNESS FOR THE CLASSMATE WHOSE NAME YOU HAVE DRAWN. BE SURE YOUR ACT OF KINDNESS IS BIG ENOUGH FOR YOUR CLASSMATE TO NOTICE AND DOESN’T COST $$. ALSO, REMEMBER TO KEEP YOUR MISSION A SECRET UNTIL YOU ARE READY TO DO THE ACT!
Gieselmann decided to take Parmenter’s activity and put it to practice at CMDS.
“As we at CMDS continue to teach kindness and empathy to our students, I thought this activity would be helpful and, hopefully, would create an even kinder atmosphere among our students,” she says.
These are the instructions she gave the teachers.
- Have students draw names by class or by grade. Make sure that they do NOT tell whose name they drew.
- Give students one week to accomplish their act of kindness. When they accomplish their act of kindness they can reveal their identity.
- Have students do some reflective writing on this experience.
After the activity is complete, we’ll share some of the students’ reflective writing samples here.
Heart Blitz Plans for 2019
As part of Kindness Counts Week, the Student Leadership Team is sponsoring the 3rd annual CMDS Heart Blitz on Valentine’s Day. This is a day set aside to “Love Thy Neighbor” and spread kindness throughout Memphis. All grade levels are taking part in this year’s Heart Blitz. Here’s a few ways our students are spreading love and kindness on Valentine’s Day.
- 2K– Making cards for deployed service men and women. Associate Head of School Teena Maginn’s son Tim currently is deployed in Hawaii, so 2K’s cards will be sent to his platoon.
- PK – Making and delivering cards (and cookies) to church and maintenance staff.
- JK – Making cards and delivering cookies to the First Responders in our school’s district.
- SK – Working with their 6th grade buddies to make cards for Kirby Pines Retirement Home residents.
- 1st – Making cards for St. Jude.
- 2nd – Making cards for deployed service men and women. Second Grade Teacher Christi Morris will send the cards to her daughter-in-law Patricia’s platoon in Afghanistan.
- 3rd – Delivering cookies to our neighbors on Grove Park and in Laurelwood Shopping Center.
- 4th – Making “Love Thy Neighbor,” “We Love Memphis,” “Choose 901” and “CMDS Loves You” banners. They will post them around the campus and hold them at the Poplar and Grove Park intersection, reminding Memphians to spread love!
- 5th – Visiting the Memory Care Patients at Trezevant Manor, taking them cards and cookies.
- 6th – Visiting Kirby Pines Assisted Living and performing a chapel program for the residents. They will also deliver their SK buddies’ cards.
Christ Methodist Day School opened its doors in 1958 to 75 kindergarten students. Since then, CMDS has stayed true to its Christian elementary school roots while continuing to thrive as one of the best private schools in Memphis. Come see why we are the primary choice for so many Memphis families.