On April 16th we celebrate World Voice Day. I will be honest with you and admit that I had never heard about this day until several months ago, but as I learned more about the history of this day and its mission, I felt it was important to share more about it with our blog readers!
Established in Brazil as a national day of recognition, World Voice Day dates back to 1999. Since that time, however, the day has grown to a global celebration. It was established as a day of awareness and appreciation of the human voice with a mission to maintain healthy habits to preserve it. The official World Voice Day website describes the day as a “celebration of the human voice as a unique asset to mankind.” As I digested that statement and re-read it over and over, I began thinking more about the true power of our voices, beyond just the physical ability to communicate (which of course is something never to take for granted). Then, I read on to the focus of this year’s celebration—“Be Kind With Your Voice.” YES! YES! YES!
So, how do we teach students to be kind with their voices? If you’ve kept up with my writing on this blog, you know I have a passion for SEL (social and emotional learning), and I think World Voice Day is a parallel cause. Stuck on where to start? Read on… here are some tips for how to begin to promote kindness through student voice:
- It starts with YOU!
Hold yourself to the same standard and practice what you preach. Little eyes and minds are always watching, so show your students what kindness truly looks like—to colleagues, strangers, parents, and classmates.
- Create a way for students to give others positive “shout-outs.”
Maybe an anonymous shout-out box, maybe a bulletin board designated for sticky notes with positive affirmations, the sky is the limit… make it work for you and your students.
- Have students write in a kindness/gratitude journal or blog.
I think with a little creativity this could work in most any type of classroom. Integrate your content into the writing somehow and have this activity part of a warm-up or exit ticket. You’ll be amazed at how some students will express themselves through writing.
- Anytime you can – share stories of kindness through your content.
If you see any instructional material, article, book, etc. with an undertone of kindness, utilize that in class! Reading is a powerful way for kids to learn without direct teaching.
- Team up with your special education teachers and your classes.
As a school administrator, some of the most memorable lessons I observed were watching my classes team up with my autism class on a weekly basis. You would be amazed at some of the things these students would do together and the life lessons learned were greater than any nugget of content we could ever teach.
I would love to hear your ideas! Let me know how you plan to celebrate World Voice Day and how you and your students spread kindness through voice all year long!