Grant Spotlight – The Great Kindness Challenge
The Great Kindness Challenge
GRANT AUTHOR, SCHOOL, IMPACT & FUNDING
Kara Bonin – Merrillville Intermediate School – 950+ Gr. 5 & 6 students – $553.17
Round 32 for Spring 2018; implemented in Fall 2018
Every month, we create activities and projects to promote kindness, respect, empathy, and unity throughout the building. Our PBIS team, along with our Student Council and STAND club collaborate to create these themes and projects together, and staff members including the PBIS team, the Therapeutic Counselor and Social Worker, create monthly lessons focused on the theme. Students are also able to write “Acts of Kindness” that are announced on morning announcements.
Research shows that kindness is learned not just be talking about or thinking about it, but by feeling kindness so we can reproduce that emotion and feeling to others by sharing kindness. The feel-good experience also produces endorphins in the brain that are associated with pleasure, social connection and trust. When our brains are in this state, our students can learn better and concentrate more on schoolwork. This project will also help to teach relationships and meaningful connections with other human beings. By doing this, our peer acceptance will likely increase leading to a reduction in bullying and behavior referrals. Finally, being intentional in focusing on kindness, we will continue to develop happy, confident, well-rounded individuals who will be able to collaborate, cooperate, and accept differences in other human beings. These skills are needed for our children as they become adults to help change our world.
We have been working hard to create a Culture of Kindness at MIS. So far, we have demonstrated 5,775 acts of kindness since the inception of the program. Every month we set a goal as a school. We celebrate every month with the “Act of Kindness MVP” award. When a staff member recognizes our students demonstrating acts of kindness, the students are given a Kindness Coin. The coin is turned in for an entry into a drawing. Students and teams have been recognized for their acts of kindness with rewards and prizes. Every month, we draw one name for 5th grade and one for 6th grade as our MVP. That student receives a trophy, and they have their picture on our Kindness Wall of Pride.
Grant Spotlight Archives
Using “Crazy Traits” kits, purchased via a Merrillville Education Foundation grant, students developed a model for how probability influences genetic variation. They discovered how genetically diverse the population can be even with just 14 traits.
Approximately 100 families attended and participated in a variety of STEM activities. The purpose of the program was to introduce our parents to the engineering process and the new Makerspace Room at MIS.
The new Robotics Club expanded to two teams for competition in 2018. These students will be exposed to a CAD program donated to all first teams to develop their robot virtually before they start building one.