Delaware News

Conger Elementary classrooms have fun paying it forward

Students finding new ways to be nice to each other

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Classrooms at Conger Elementary School are proudly displaying signs that read: "You Got Paid."

Principal Josh Page said he was looking for ways to teach the students the concept of "random acts of kindness."

"You Got Paid" means one classroom at Conger chose to "pay it forward" by making a nice gesture or creating something for a fellow class.

Sherene Gardner, Conger guidance counselor, said the school is constantly brainstorming ways to teach students why it is important to be nice to other people.

"Elementary school students don't always understand concepts like random acts of kindness, so we need to put it into action for them," she said.

Gardner got an idea from a trick-or-treat night in her neighborhood, during which people would leave candy at a house with a sign that said, "You got booed."

She said she thought it would be a great way for students to do something nice for their fellow classmates and instill the values of the school.

The fourth-grade leadership council introduced the idea with a short play performed for the kindergarten class, then gave handmade bookmarks to kindergartners.

Some of the other ways the classes have "paid it forward" include making buttons, reading a book to a class and making paper fortune tellers with math facts instead of fortunes.

Gardner has been reading the book I Like Your Buttons to students. The book also teaches the lesson of paying it forward.

In the book, a student compliments a teacher, and the teacher turns around and does something nice for a janitor. The book shows how acts of kindness spread from one person to another.

"There are so many negative things happening in the world that we don't have control over," Gardner said," but we do have control over being nice to others and having a positive attitude."

The fourth-grade leadership council shared the initiative with Delaware school board members earlier this month.

The students made Valentine's Day cards for board members and encouraged them to "pay it forward."

Students have enjoyed brainstorming nice things they can do for each other as part of the initiative, Gardner said.

"The students are learning how much fun it is to be nice to each other," she said. "These things help people have a nicer day, and we want to have a kinder world."

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