When planning for the first few days of school, our main goal is to set a tone for respect and love for one another. We want our students to get to know each other, enjoy their classroom (and teacher), have fun learning, while also understanding expectations for rules & procedures. One lesson we love to teach is how to be a “heart healer”. We read the book Chrysanthemum by Kevin Henkes. In the story Chrysanthemum is excited about school until she gets teased about her name. We cut out a large paper heart. As we read the story, we crumpled the heart each time we heard someone in the story say or do something hurtful. We talked about how bad it feels when our hearts get crumpled by hurtful words. When the story was over, we tried to smooth out the heart. We realized that even though we tried very hard to make it all the way better her heart was still wrinkled. Next we thought of helpful words that we could say to be “heart healers” and had a great discussion about how good kind words feel to our heart. We think it was an impactful lesson on the power of words and the importance of thinking before you speak. Each child had a band-aid with his/her name on it that they placed on the heart in pledge to try to be “heart healers” instead of “heart crumplers”. We think we are off to a great start!