- Lindsay Weiner
Building a School Community that Rocks
Updated: Apr 7, 2021
Whether your child’s school is beginning in a remote, hybrid or full-time model, all kids and teachers will be experiencing physical distancing, which makes it challenging to establish relationships and build a sense of community, two important pillars of the foundation that allows learning to take place. Thankfully, there are many strategies and activities that can bring our students closer together as a community, even when they are physically apart. If you are local to the community of Westport, please consider having your students take part in Westport Rocks, or (if you are further afield) you can take part more broadly in The Kindness Rocks Project.
Painting a rock and leaving it as a gift for someone else to find has an almost uncanny way of fostering conversations about how children are feeling and helping them empathize and think about others. The activity is ideal for all ages and abilities and can be geared accordingly.
Here are just a few ideas of ways to introduce it and build upon it in your classroom/learning pod this year.
· For young children, remember that hunting for rocks can be especially fun. Talk about the process: What makes a rock special to you? And, how will you know when you find that special rock?
· Young children can be encouraged to paint their rocks freely either with a brush or with their fingers. Other fun tools include a feather and pencil erasers. Remember, there is no one way to paint a rock.
· Older children can be encouraged to plan and think artistically about how they want the rock to look and a picture, word, phrase, or quote that is meaningful for them which they choose to share.
· Let the children hide them outside for their classmates to find or, if you’re in a school setting, leave them for another class to find—helping connect children from one class to another.
· Consider recording children’s words (especially young children) as they are painting the rock. Why are they painting it? Who do they hope will find it? What do they want the person to know when they find it and perhaps most importantly, how do they hope it will make someone else feel?
· For related book ideas to help expand this activity check out the following books:
Finally, for more information please visit WestportRocks.com, and if your school, classroom, or learning pod uses any of these ideas, please let us know by tagging @westportrocks. We’d love to hear from you!