Visitors to Dunaway Elementary School cannot help but notice all of the red posters on the walls as they walk through the halls.
The posters include photographs of 100 fifth-grade students and their teaching team and are the end result of the project the classes did in conjunction with Waxahachie ISD’s Random Acts of Kindness Week celebration.
A closer examination of the posters will show comments such as “You are a great friend,” “You are great. Your smile is cool and you always make me laugh,” “You are a great person” and “You are fun to be around.”
The comments are what students wrote to their classmates and teachers as they learned what kind words mean for other’s self-esteem.
Hundreds of comments were written by the fifth-graders as they learned life lessons from their teachers Lily Hall, Jerald Zimmerman, Sharleen Andersen, Cheryl Langley and Kareece McKie.
Hall explained another aspect of the project that had an impact on the students.
“I used my infamous George lesson as I taught the students what positive comments were and how to give them to someone,” she said.
A drawing of a stick face of George, a “new student” in the class was introduced to the students, who were instructed by Hall to make as many negative comments as they could about the new student.
Each negative comment was written on the piece of paper and, as they were given, the teacher began crumbling up the paper with each statement. The students were asked how George must be feeling with all of the negative statements said about him.
Once the negative comments were made, the students were asked to make as many positive comments as they could about George and if they thought he was feeling better now that nice things had been said.
“The students responded that George is feeling better now that nice things haveÂ/ been said about him. I explained to the students that even though George is better, he is not as he was before,” Hall said. “As I began to straighten out the paper-George, with all the negative comments about him, I explained that the paper will never be like it was and that George will never be the same because the comments have left creases in him that are not going away.”
Hall, who has taught at Dunaway for 20 years, pulled out a poster that was given to her when she began teaching on the campus. The poster has many positive comments from her coworkers and is something she said she’s very proud of and treasures greatly.
Members of the teaching team hopes the posters made during the project will be treasured by the students when they take them home. The posters were laminated for students to keep after the project.
“This project was accepted overwhelmingly by the students,” Hall said. “Our objective was to teach the students the power of the spoken word. We wanted them to understand how easy it is to be nice to someone and what a difference it can make.
“We also wanted to show them how hurtful words can be and how they remain long after they are said,” Hall said.