Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Slice of Life - Kid President

I love participating in Slice of Life, started by Two Writing Teachers and writing a story, reflection, or musing at least once a week.
     Kid President helped me out today with Quick Writes for my fifth and sixth graders.  In fifth grade, I will be starting a September literacy contract in which we will be reading and writing around the theme topic, empathy.  Our building's first quarter 5th grade theme topic is diversity, so teaching empathy is a perfect introduction to appreciating diversity.  Today we wrote a Quick Write inspired by one of Kid President's recent videos to introduce the idea of treating others kindly and appreciating life.  It's produced as a letter to a newborn baby.  I love it because of the idea "We're glad you're here."  I also love the idea of thinking about life and how it can be awesome AND difficult.  If you haven't seen it, you're in for a treat:
     I was so pleased when I asked students to write their Quick Writes specifically to one of our teacher's brand new baby that they all started writing immediately!  They loved the video (none of them had seen it before).
They had a lot to say.  Here are some snippets of advice and descriptions of life and people:
- "Just remember, you will meet people of all shapes, sizes, and colors.  But we are all human beings.  Don't let anyone put you down."
- "If you are mean to someone and apologize, they will probably forgive you.  If they don't forgive you, you should try to make it up to them."
- "You can do a lot of stuff, so always enjoy the moment because it is going to be gone fast."
-  "It is a challenging but fun and amazing place."
- "When you think people are having a bad day, pat them on the back and say, "Do you want to play?" and that will probably make him feel a lot better.  Be nice out there.
- "Welcome to the world!  We're glad to be with you now.It's good to be human for better or for worse.  Some days you will get a new high score, and some day you will get the all time low.  But either way you have to keep your chin up and keep on living and acting awesome because you are.  You are the best thing your mom ever made."
And just because I thought it was hilarious...
- "Don't put too many things in your mouth."
We'll be revising and writing finals to give as a gift to Baby Brayden.
     In sixth grade, our theme topic will be social injustice.  Our #ReadWalkWater project will be coming up after reading A Long Walk to Water by Linda Sue Park.  I got them ready today by thinking about Heroes.  Again, Kid President...

The sixth graders thought about these questions:
1. What is a hero?
2. Who is your hero and why?
3. What is not okay with you? (I love that question as a catalyst for change!)
4. What can you do about that?
5. What do you have? (You already have it!)
6. Who are you going to bring with you?
     I loved reading about what matters to sixth graders and how they define heroes.  These were great ways to kick off writing and thinking in my classroom today.


  1. Holly, such fun writing prompts. I can't wait to share this post with my niece, a 4th grade teacher. Such wisdom from your young students. Especially love the next to the last one...whether you get the new high score or the all time low "...keep on living and acting awesome because you are. You are the best thing your mom ever made." :)

    1. I teared up when I read the line, "You are the best thing your mom ever made." ;-)

  2. What a fascinating post. I had heard Kid President some time ago...but found myself captivated while watching him. Such a wise young man. Your students also showed wisdom in their thoughts...and of course, you showed the same in presenting such an assignment to them. Jackie http://familytrove.blogspot.com/2014/08/distractions-while-writing.html

    1. He is such a phenomenon. What talent! Great for so many things in the classroom.

  3. I love both of these ideas for writing prompts. Kid President is always so inspiring. I love the idea of having the students write to a newborn baby of a staff member. That makes it so much more personal and meaningful for them. Sounds like you are off to a great start.

  4. Both beautiful ideas, Holly. I love that you're furthering the first one because of the new baby in your school-much more authentic. And really, the other one too, because of your water walk, makes them more inspired to write something from the heart. Great stuff!

  5. Another technology frustration is that YouTube is being blocked this year. I am hoping they will unblock it, but the focus has been getting email. Nevertheless, if it is unblocked, I want to steal this idea. Kid President is amazingly clever and so fun to watch. You will have a great year having started off thinking and writing about important things.