Joyful Thursdays #46

What brings you joy, makes you happy, gives you peace? Here are some photos, quotes, and thoughts that make me joyful.


Joyful Thursdays #46


Here are three things that make me happy and bring me joy:


1) Christmas cards- bought, addressed, and sent: Check!

2) I actually got to talk to a group of students, and adults, about their ‘Kindness and Compassion Club’ – usually called the KC Club. I shared some Goodness Gorilla stories with them about sharing kindnesses with others. They are so excited to be organizing ways of helping….a possible Penny Challenge in the works:)

3) Saw the James Bond movie, Skyfall…it was impressive! If you like action and surprises, give it a shot! Lots of fun!


Happy Parenting!

D and C


to my students…

I’d like to let all of my students…many of whom are now my friends…know what a privilege it was to have been your teacher!


You learned so many things, not only academic – but social and emotional, too. You have had so much growth over the years:

Not only math, but the ability to solve problems that will improve our world…

Not only English, but the will to write intelligently – even if only on FaceBook and blogs…

Not only reading, but the joy of learning – hopefully, reading those chapter books have led to reading for both knowledge and pleasure…

reading for knowledge and pleasure...

In all other ways – I hope you have learned to be kind and honest. I hope you love to help others and delight in giving what you can. Compassion, respect, belief in others, and wonder in the world around us…I hope you have them all!

so important!

Thank you for allowing me to be a part of your journey! Best wishes in all that you do,

Mrs. F.  :-)

Kids Who Care

The idea that kids are capable of an incredible empathy for others can sometimes seem like a ‘pie-in-the-sky’, Pollyanna, view of how the world actually works. But kids are so open to a plan of helping those who need it that all it takes is some encouragement from the people around them. Today, I’ll show you one of the most beautiful projects our school ever undertook….and, because of what has been happening with tornadoes and floods lately, could be an important project for other people to try.   Just a thought…:))


For Make a Difference Day in 2005, right after Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans, our school decided to have a Kid Caring about Kids Backpack Project. We asked people to donate money, items, time…whatever they could. At the same time we also held a new and used book drive. We collected school supplies, hygiene items, and things for babies. We bought 450 backpacks and filled them with these supplies:

one of the 6 tables filled with supplies

our 450 filled backpacks

our 1200 books, organized by age level

The kids then filled a trailer and our SUV which son Chad and I drove to New Orleans. We left on a Thursday after school, took Friday off because we needed to arrive at our NO school before they got out for the weekend, drove and drove(from Michigan), and arrived about 2 hours before the end of the school day:

some of the devastation we saw

the health dept. allowed this school to reopen 3 months ahead of schedule because the school families did so much of the clean up themselves

When we got the the school, the children all came out to greet us:)  We helped pass backpacks out to them and enjoyed spending time in the classrooms.

kids choosing their backpacks

spending time with great kids

wearing beads received from our new friends

So, you may ask, why are you showing us this now?? I believe kids do what they know…if they know that they can and should help those in need…they will!! Hopefully you can come up with a helping project that your kids can be proud to be a part of…whether through a school group, church or scout group, or even just as a family of compassionate people. There is need everywhere. Find where you can be of help – and go for it!!


Happy Parenting!

D and C





Helping Kids Succeed

There are many avenues to help kids succeed both in school and in life.

*They need to explore many opportunities at school:

music/drama, Science Olympiad, physical fitness of any kind, safety patrol and/or service squad

All of these activities can enhance kids’ knowledge and their ability to get along with others.

*They also need to explore opportunities outside of school:

maybe your 'soccer kids' might say this to you:)

taking care of/ training the dog teaches responsibility

how many things will your child try...

Find what your kids like to do and have them follow-through on it…

There will be chances for you to teach effort, determination, responsibility, and other wonderful traits with any and all out-of-school activities you choose to do.

*…and then…what about all those opportunities for your kids to take part in “caring for others” activities??  Helping them learn to want to help others can not be overemphasized! No matter how bad your life may seem at times, there are  always others whose lives are worse. Encourage your children to donate their time, their love, and their hands to making someone else’s life better!

Our school today participated in Kids Against Hunger. The students raised nearly $4000 which was used by the organization to buy food supplies. Families came to the gym today and packed enough food for 11,000 people to have a meal. Check out what that looked like:

big truck came and was unloaded

kids got ready and learned what to do

filling and weighing the bags, very precise

lots of help on a beautiful Saturday morning

from empty bags, to full bags, to packed up boxes, to travel all over the world!!

Kids Against Hunger was a great experience for the families that attended!

There are so many ways your kids can learn to help.  Need ideas?? Let me know and I’ll add a list of them in a future post!

Our kids’ success is always what we want, so go for it!!


Happy Parenting!

D and C



Teaching Kindness through the Goodness Gorillas

    How important is it for children to learn kindness? Well, I would consider that to be one of the most important things to teach kids. They don’t come with automatic kindness built in, so it’s up to parents and teachers to help them learn how it feels to put someone else first.
    My school has always been concerned with finding ways to help others, both in the school and out. We started children’s book drives in 2000 in which parents and kids brought in new and used children’s books, packed them up in grade level boxes, and delivered them to different schools in Detroit. Over the years we collected over 30,000 books and encouraged other schools in our district to collect another 40,000.
     In the fall of 2001, we decided to hold a Penny Challenge to raise money for the Red Cross. We, as one small elementary school(size about 500 kids), in a middle class suburban area, raised $5000!!!  We have held a Penny Challenge every year since then with the money going to The Salvation Army, Leukemia Society, St. Jude, Leader Dogs for the Blind, and many other organizations. We have raised nearly $30,000 even though our Michigan economy has been in the tank for many of those years. We have a climate of helping others.

this year the penny challenge is going on right now :)

every morning kids count money from each classroom’s jar
      In 2002 we started the Goodness Gorillas, a club composed of every student in the school, dedicated to the idea of helping others in any way possible including just through random acts of kindness. A parent gave me this book and a plate of cupcakes for no reason, and after reading the book we began our Goodness Gorillas, which continues today:
perfect book for encouraging kindness

     Even though the Penny Challenge is usually our biggest and favorite event each year, it is definitely not all that we do. We take part in Toys for Tots, canned food drives, give stuffed animals to hospitals, donate clothing to a domestic abuse shelter, do mitten trees and spaghetti dinners. We bought 500 pounds of beans and had the students divide them into one quart bags to deliver to a neighboring soup kitchen.We often do Jump Rope for Heart and have done a 3 mile walk in the neighborhood to raise money for the Multiple Sclerosis Society for many years. 

    Does it matter what you do??  No, but the kids should know what it’s about and how they are helping others…get them involved in choosing the activity and in working on it.  One year we donated 75 wheelchairs to children in other countries  through the Wheelchair Foundation as a Christmas fundraiser. We received individual packets from the Foundation with pictures of each child in the wheelchair that he received….choked up quite a few people. We have collected diapers for a pregnancy center,  made a Twin Towers of toilet paper to give to a rescue mission, and donated 500 new and used towels to a shelter.
     After Hurricane Katrina, we collected 450 new backpacks and filled them with school supplies and hygiene items. Chad and I filled a trailer and the back of our SUV with the backpacks and 1000 books and drove them to a school in New Orleans. What an amazing opportunity…to see the looks on the faces of those children! We took bunches of pictures that we shared with our school later.
    We have Spirit Weeks if a family of a student or staff member is in special need. The kids bring in money for wearing a hat on Monday, bringing in pop ( a northern term!) on Tuesday, having a snack on Wednesday, wearing shades on Thursday, and having an extra recess on Friday. It is an easy way to collect a bit of money to make someone’s life a little easier.

this is our Goodness Gorilla trophy case

     One school trying to make a difference – CAN!!!  One family trying to make a difference – CAN!!!   One individual trying to make a difference – CAN!!!

See if you can find a way to help your children make a difference; they will become better people because of it :)

Happy Parenting!
D and C