Student Spirals of Inquiry Reflections on Kindness Focus at McKay

Students Reflections on our School-Wide Focus on "Lifting Each Other Up Through Kindness"

In February, as our school-wide focus on Kindness came to a close, Mr. Hurst interviewed groups of 3  students from each of our 10 classes - and he asked them three key "Spirals Of Inquiry" scanning questions. Below is a sample of some of the answers to these questions from McKay students that were showcased in the Kindness Focus Movie that was shared at the Kindness Focus Assembly over Zoom: 

1) Can you tell me something or describe something that you enjoyed as we learned about how to be kind?

  • Sharing things - umbrellas and markers
  • Asking nice things
  • I think the friendship flowers were pretty cool - it felt good to be kind to others
  • Making someone feel good about themselves because of what you said to them
  • Sharing positive thoughts to others so they could see how others actually think about them
  • Helping someone makes me feel good inside
  • It gives you confidence because of what they tell you about your strengths
  • You can help someone up if they fall
  • You can lift someone up by helping them 
  • Even little things can make someones day - even if you think it is nothing it isn't - it really helps someone feel better
  • I liked receiving the friendship flowers because 
  • I was happy when people wrote nice things about me and I think that goes also for the whole class
  • It is kinda nice to receive compliments
  • Saying thank you and you're welcome If you see someone feeling sad outside you can ask. them to play and it can help them feel better
    • The Kindness Song, the life vest and the Kindness boomerang

2) Why do you think it is important to learn about kindness

  • Because we want to fill peoples buckets
  • It makes others feel happy
  • Because it makes McKay a better place
  • Because it makes everyone happy and there's peace and all - and there's no arguments and more friends
  • McKay. will become a happier community - a healthy community
  • It's like boomerang of kindness - if you throw it right the acts of kindness will come back to you because if you are kind, then kindness come back to you even stronger
  • So kindness spreads everywhere and everyone will be nice and feel good
  • Focusing on the positive changes how we treat one another
  • So people don't bully each other and make others depressed
  • Everyone has the right to be treated equally
  • Because, when you show negative negative comes back to you, and when you show kindness, kindness wiill come back
  • Because, when you show someone kindness, someone will be kind to you too
  • If people are kind to each other at McKay, it might spread around the world
  • Because it helps people feel better and then there's no problems
  • If everyone is kind, then everyone is happy
  • we get to show each other that we care about each other
  • it teaches you that everyone has something about them that is special and good
  • It helps us to put ourselves in others shoes
  • I learned that if you don't understand something, try to look at it as others might do - everybody looks at things in different views and in different ways
  • Because everyone is unique and they do things differently
  • The Kindness jar taught us to always be kind and every time you are kind it can grow and spread and that's a good thing
  • When kindness spreads it makes people believe they are part of something together 
  • When people are kind to teacher it is like an even exchange
  • It makes everyone try to fill each others buckets
  • The flowers because I got to tell my friends what I liked about them
  • It felt so good to say nice things and it made me feel proud
  • Helping people and building and playing with them
  • Probably because if we didn't learn about being kind there would be more bullying and mean things happening
  • It's gonna be good - because everyone will learn how to be kind

2) What are your / our next steps as a learner / learners about kindness?

  • We can improve in our actions and even look back at your actions if they are not good
  • I helped someone in class and it made me feel happy
  • I think we need to help people with kindness more 
  • We need to be kind every day at school
  • I think we should learn more about empathy and understand better how other people feel
  • I have been trying to be kinder but I need to do it more consistently 
  • Maybe make sure everyone is included and has something to do at recess and lunch
  • Being more inclusive with others because someone might be feeling really sad and it could make a difference
  • If you don't want to be sad, then help someone else to not be sad
  • To end bullying
  • Tell a teacher more often if someone is being mean
  • Be kind and do the right thing so there are not bullies
  • Think about McKay CARES
  • Telling an adult helps the teachers can contribute to stop the bullying so the kids don't have to deal with it by themselves

Scanning the evidence 

Some common themes emerged when asking students to reflect on the Focus on Lifitng Each Other Up Through Kindness:

  1. To be kind to everyone even outside of school
  2. Our students noticed a positive impact on daily life at McKay, in their own lives and upon the lives of others and believed it was important to learn how to be kind to others within our community
  3. They believed that being kind to someone created a more positive culture where one act of kindness by somone leads to more acts of kindness by others - the concept of kindness spreading and social responsibility growing was mentioned over and over by our students 
  4. Many students believe that this focus on kindness should not just be a special event. They believed that being kind to one another, and developing a stronger sense of empathy fo one another, should be a school-wide focus all of the time. That is, we need to think about how we can make a positive difference in the lives of others each and every day.
  5. Strong understand of this focus and a need for us to build / develop a stronger sense of empathy in our community
  6. Students seem to understand that there is a need to decrease and / or eliminate bullying at McKay - and that our focus on kindness can help

Our Next Steps...

Our staff also reflected on the individual and collective experiences within our community throughout the kindness focus, and reviewed the input from their students  on the impact of this school-wide initiative. They agreed with our students regarding the need for a more consistent and comprehensive school-wide focus on kindness and empathy - and a stronger and more integrated emphasis on the development of the three personal and social core competencies each and every day. These competencies include:

  • Personal Awareness and Responsibility 
  • Positive Personal and Cultural Identity 
  • Social Awareness and Responsibility 

To that end, our staff will build upon our strengths as a community and the positives from this experience and:

  • Our Staff will work together to explore ways to promote, teach, encourage, foster, acknowledge, recognize, and celebrate kindness, to prevent bullying, and to develop deeper levels of empathy and pro-social actions at McKay.
  • Utilize Professional Development opportunities to develop a greater understanding of teaching and learning within these core competencies
  • Work collaboratively to develop a consistent and cohesive plan to make McKay (which is already a great place to call home) an even kinder and more supportive learning community for all.

We are proud of our school, but we know that we can all do more to make daily life at McKay more positive for the students, staff and families. 

As described in our actions blog that highlighted our focus on kindness, and also connecting to our year-long focus on Truth and Reconciliation, which includes lessons and experiences this year that were designed to teach our children the untold stories of Indigenous culture - in many ways, we are working to build upon McKay's considerable strengths as an inclusive learning place.

We are striving to deepen our commitment to make our school a place where all students feel safe, secure, connected and valued as important members of our community. We look forward to more conversations, more exploration and learning, and more actions within this important part of our curriculum -  to make McKay a more inclusive, kind and supportive home for all of our learners.  

Updated: Tuesday, April 12, 2022