CHANNAHON – N.B. Galloway School in Channahon teaches its students character education all year long.
The kindergarten-through-second-grade elementary school makes sure its young students learn all about the meaning of responsibility, respectfulness and honesty, among other traits.
Its staff even found a way to include the Grinch in their lessons this month, with Grinch Week, and that lesson was kindness. Throughout the week, social worker Danielle Santor spoke with the different classes about lessons the furry green creature from the 1966 animated television short, “How the Grinch Stole Christmas,” can teach them.
“Danielle is talking to students about unwavering kindness,” Principal Mary Kelly said, “and using the Grinch story as a way to show that even when things look bad, you can still be kind. And sometimes, your kindness can change someone’s life.”
In the cartoon, the Grinch thinks he can steal Christmas from the residents of Whoville by taking their gifts, decorations and holiday food. He learns that the spirit of the season cannot be so easily stolen.
“Maybe Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more,” was the Grinch’s conclusion in the cartoon, which is based on a book by Dr. Seuss.
“The theme has been on kindness,” Santor said. “How can we grow others’ hearts? It’s important for them to have those intrinsic values like kindness and empathy and how to work with students cooperatively.”
During Grinch Week, which took place Dec. 12 to Dec. 16, students wore red for kindness on Monday, received “brag tags” and did classroom Grinch activities on Tuesday, and had an ugly sweater day on Wednesday. Throughout the week, they wrote kind things they could do for people on paper hearts, then stuck the hearts on Grinch posters.
“The staff really have embraced Grinch Week,” Kelly said. “At first, I think some people were a little leery, since the Grinch isn’t really a friendly fellow. However, I think everyone is in full Grinch spirit this week. We even ordered staff T-shirts to celebrate.”
The culminating event of the week was Friday’s assembly, held in the cafeteria, which had been transformed into Whoville. Students and staff came in their pajamas or dressed like a Who. The Grinch was there also, being a little naughty at times.
At the assembly, students were chosen from each grade level to play reindeer games designed to grow the Grinch’s heart.
Kindergartners went through an ornament-hanging obstacle course; first-graders made snowmen of fellow students; and second-graders returned the presents the Grinch had stolen back to their Christmas trees.
At one point, when the Grinch was particularly mischievous, the students began to “boo” him.
Principal Kelly reminded them that “boo-ing” was not a nice thing to do, even to the Grinch.
“So we’re going to be kind no matter what,” she said.
Between each game, school nurse Karen Peters “measured” the Grinch’s heart to see if the students’ efforts had any effect on the creature. Little by little, it did, and his heart grew to a normal, loving size.
“What better way to spread some kindness during the Christmas season than bring the Grinch to Channahon?” Kelly said.