During the application process, Caleb had to list his community service, share grade reports, and write an essay. I feel strongly that kids should do their own writing (it's the teacher in me!) I asked him some questions to get him thinking and helped with typing, but these words are 100% his. I love how his voice shines through in it! Below is what he wrote.
“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you will go.” --Dr. Seuss
Share something that you learned from reading. What were you reading and what was the lesson learned?
The book Wonder by R.J. Polacio is a story that our whole fifth grade class read. It’s about a boy named Auggie with Treacher-Collins Syndrome. Children with this syndrome are born without cheekbones, which affects many areas of their face. Auggie has facial deformities and has had 27 surgeries to help him hear, see, breathe without a trach, and eat without a feeding tube.
Because Auggie looks different from other kids, he is teased, bullied, and left out. However, by the end of the book, Auggie has taught the students in his school what it means to show kindness to others.
Auggie has an English teacher named Mr. Browne who shares a precept every month with the class. The first precept is, “If you have a choice between being right and being kind, choose kind.” This precept has challenged me to “choose kind” in my life.
There is a student in my class who makes it hard to “choose kind” because he has not been very nice to me. Recently, I have decided to “choose kind” by continuing to be a friend to him even when he isn’t to me. Since I began to intentionally “choose kind,” I’ve noticed that he hasn’t been picking on me. We even got along well when we were working together on an assignment. By “choosing kind,” I might even be making a new friend!
My best friends were creating a club that would exclude others, and it made me feel like they were doing the same thing that other kids were doing to us! I was really upset and after talking with my mom, I went back the next day and talked to my friends about Wonder. I reminded them that Mr. Browne’s first precept is to “choose kind,” and I told them that I didn’t think having this exclusive club was a way to “choose kind.” Thankfully, my friends understood what I was saying and realized that this was not a very good idea. We decided not to form the club. Now, we just play together and with whoever is around.
Reading Wonder has encouraged me to speak up for students who may be different from others and anyone who is being bullied or left out. Some students in my school with special needs joined us for P.E. last year and sometimes made noises to show that they were excited or happy. Some students would try to mimic these noises and make fun of the students with special needs. I would always tell them to stop, but they wouldn’t listen. Now, I can refer to Wonder and remind them to “choose kind.” Since my sister Abby has Cerebrocostomandibular Syndrome and also looks different from other kids, I hope that Wonder encourages them to “choose kind” to Abby and others like her.
Wonder has really impacted my life and the way I think about others. I know I will remember the lesson I learned from Auggie and Mr. Browne for a very long time!