Our Year 7 & 8 curriculum this year includes the opportunity for tamariki to take part in 'Community Impact Projects', and passion projects. One of these projects engages the tamariki in enhancing wellbeing in their community. Last term they devised and designed a mindfulness colouring in project/competition that they then promoted amongst cluster schools. They went out to businesses asking for prizes and were, on their own admissions, overwhelmed with the support they received, and were able to support improved wellbeing.
Their teacher Miss Birtch wanted to share some great learning and community interactions. Last week she had some of the Year 7/8's writing letters of appreciation to someone special in their lives. They were expressing their gratitude to help improve someone else's wellbeing and to show kindness.
Miss Birtch writes:
"Students wrote to a variety of people including Mums, Dads, other whānau members, teachers, friends, coaches etc. Students got to choose to share their actual letter on their blog, print them off to take home or email straight to their person, and then post a reflection about the task.
"It was great to see friends lighting up receiving kind messages and students running up to us to say that "Mum responded!!" or "Mum commented back!" within the time frame of the lesson."
This is a link to Saia's blog. He posted his letter on his blog, and guess what? Mum responded. I suspect you can imagine Saia's delight.
Engagement was high and these students brightened the day for a lot of people showing once more, and in a very different context, the power of 'Learn Create Share'. Students were writing, they were thinking critically, they were reflecting on gratitude which we know is strongly connected to wellbeing. For some this was via blogs, for others it was via email, or paper copies. The sharing of their thinking and their feelings was the important thing, and for some the technology enabled this in ways that might not have been easily accessible otherwise.
This is a condition of the human heart, and powerful determinant of our wellbeing. Of course that said, technology was never required to say thank you.