PBS in the Classroom

Using Pinkalicious & Peterrific to Encourage Kindness

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Cards are sold for almost all life events such as  birthdays, weddings, retirements, love, graduation, illness, loss of a loved one, friendship and more. According to the Greeting Card Association, in the United States alone, an average of 6.5 billion greeting cards are purchased every year. The annual retail sales of these purchases fall between $7 billion and $8 billion at the retail level. Oddly, I'm the one that buys blank stationery  because the words in a store-bought card don't necessarily express what I want to say, how I think or feel, nor does the artwork reflect my personal style. Instead of spending ten to fifteen minutes in the card aisle at the local store, I pull out my assortment of blank cards, markers, watercolors, glue and glitter -- and make my own. 

This month, we are celebrating Pinkalicious' birthday! The way I am going to celebrate is by making her a card. While it is usually convenient to purchase a birthday card, it doesn't come with the advantages of making one. Giving students the opportunity to create something unique can be very rewarding to the giver and the receiver.Through the lens of social-emotional learning, handmade cards drive autonomy, give a sense of belonging and build competence. Making a card can spread sharing and kindness within a classroom.

Here are the ABCs of card making

Autonomy: Creating a card gives students self-directed freedom to make the gift how they see fit and it provides opportunity for self expression. There is no wrong way to create. Allowing your students time and space to make something special enables them to reflect on the purpose and the person who is receiving the gift.

Belonging: While autonomy focuses on self, belonging focuses on our relationships with other people. When students create for others, they are demonstrating care, respect, empathy and kindness. They are acknowledging and valuing someone else. Personalized cards have a way of letting someone know what you mean to them in your own way. 

Competence: Lastly, competence comes from being proud of your accomplishments. When students are proud of their own, self-directed work, they are more confident in their abilities which ultimately leads them to be competent in other areas of life.

“Sometimes it takes only one act of kindness and caring to change a person’s life.” – Jackie Chan

Creating Cheerfulness and Sharing Kindness

Frequently when our students come to school, they are carrying more than just a backpack full of school supplies, books and homework. They are coming with a hungry stomach, a sleepless night, an angry parent, unfair punishment, anxiety about being teased or bullied, a bad hair day, incomplete homework, or other external and internal stressors. With that in mind, making time to create a card can really emphasize the importance of showing kindness to one another. Cards are a great way to allow students to write positive affirmations about a classmate and create cheerfulness. That positive affirmation reflects on both the giver and the receiver. 

In celebration of Pinkalicious’ birthday, let us spread kindness by creating more cards. Kindness can impact a person in ways you’ve never imagined.

Carmen Jenkins-Frazier

Carmen Jenkins-Frazier Teacher

Carmen’s passion for teaching and learning is fueled by her desire to provide the best arts education possible for her students and their families. She teaches students how to use digital media as a tool to address social justice issues, environmental concerns, and to communicate ideas effectively. Carmen didn’t start her career journey looking to become a teacher. She began as a graphic artist but after finishing her degree, she says, she quickly realized her passion for academia and redirected her career goals toward education.

Fun fact: Carmen is fully integrated into her local community, participating in the “Teach it Forward” program with the Smithsonian National Museum of American History.

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