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Kindness Is a Kite String: The Uplifting Power of Empathy

Kindness is a Kite String by Michelle Schaub is a must have for National Poetry Month. Read on to find out why.

Figurative language is a powerful writing tool and Kindnes Is a Kite String flows with similes and metaphors. Sure, you could hand out a boring worksheet that drills the differences between similes and metaphors but that’s not going to instill a love of lyrical language in your students. Instead, lead them to love language by sharing lyrical books like Kindness Is a Kite String.

When I shared Kindness Is a Kite String with my class the first time, I was still teaching in a hybrid model. On a remote Wednesday, I had my students draw a T-chart on paper. Each spread in the book compares the abstract noun, kindness, to a concrete event or object using a simile or metaphor. Students had to decide if the comparison was a simile or a metaphor and record it in the correct column of the T-chart.

Now, all twenty of us are back in the classroom five days a week. It’s a strange feeling to be doing September community building activities in April, but community building activities dovetail wonderfully with Michelle’s book. To start off our second week back together, I read Kindness Is a Kite String to my class. The next day for morning work, they had to add their own simile or metaphor about kindness to chart paper and it had to be different from a simile or a metaphor than any other simile or metaphor on the chart paper. The following day during morning work, each student wrote their simile or metaphor on a sentence strip. By the end of the week we had a classroom kite which we had all signed with a twenty-sentence-strip-long, kindness kite string bordering our classroom.

Unfortunately although the pandemic changed some aspects of education, it did not change society’s addiction to assessment. Kindness Is a Kite String is a fun way to make sure when your students are tested, they’ll know the difference between a simile and a metaphor and hopefully the memory of the shared read aloud will bring back positive memories and ease the stress of taking the test.

Looking for more ways to incorporate poetry into your classroom this month? Michelle has a wonderful blog called Poetry Boost. This month each one of her posts features a different poet reading from their work.

If you’d like to find out more about Michelle and her work, be sure to check out my interview with her on Chalk + Ink: The Podcast for Teachers Who Write and Writers Who Teach.

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