Ella and her kind, compassionate heart

Today, Ella’s class did an activity during social studies.  I am going to use Colette’s description of the exercise in order to explain it…

Hello Parents,

Today in the Octopus classroom, as part of our Social Studies unit, Jasmin Hoo, our fantastic diversity director came in to lead an activity. She began by asking Ms. Kay to leave the room and then gave the Octopuses one simple direction. The direction was for the students to form a circle and then when Ms. Kay was asked to return, they were not to let her into the circle no matter what. They were told that they could do this in any way as long as they were still being safe with their bodies.

What followed was challenging to witness, but provided what we feel was a powerful learning opportunity. As Ms. Kay walked around and attempted to join the circle by asking students, many of our Octopuses began to laugh. Several students began to taunt her by chanting “Excluded, excluded” and pointing at her. Other students moved their bodies aside and told Ms. Kay that she could come over, but quickly moved their bodies back to block her when she would come over. Most of our students laughed and joined in on a variety of taunts. A few of our students did not laugh, but remained silent. When Ms. Kay asked those students if she could join their circle, they avoided eye contact with her but whispered “No” or shook their heads. As the activity progressed and Ms. Kay began to express frustration, sadness and finally resignation, those students and a few others began to look down at the floor and to show increasing discomfort. Then entire activity lasted for about five minutes before Jasmin and I stopped the activity and asked the group to reconvene.



Ella was one of the kids who was very upset – she remained silent – did not make eye contact.  She did tell Kay “no” when she asked to get into the circle but  Ella told me, “I thought we were playing a game and it turned out to be mean and I didn’t like it”.

The octopus class is working on bullying, being an advocate, being a good friend, how to take care of yourself etc.  This activity really shook Ella.

Later on during the day at free time, she sat down and wrote this card for Kay.

note.jpgWhat a love!

3 Responses to “Ella and her kind, compassionate heart”

  1. Grandma says:

    How beautiful! I love it! And Ella, so much!

  2. AJ says:

    Wow. That is really beautiful. I love how attuned Ella is and how she took an additional step to address Ms. Kay. She is a special girl.
    Love you

  3. Auntie Pie says:

    Ella, you bring tears of joy and hope to my eyes. Your heartfelt response to meanness and exclusion is beautiful. It IS soooo hard to watch someone hurting another person. But you took action. You wrote a note with care and compassion and gave that person love and support. What a gift!
    WE love you,
    Aunt P and Uncle Michael

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