Spreading kindness with their artwork

MANISTEE — Local artist Janet Kline is one of those special people who like to send positive messages through her artwork.

Artist Janet Kline looks at some of the kindness rock paintings that students in McAnn Bradford's second grade class at Jefferson Elementary School. The students were encouraged to either keep or share their kindness rocks with others.

Artist Janet Kline looks at some of the kindness rock paintings that students in McAnn Bradford’s second grade class at Jefferson Elementary School. The students were encouraged to either keep or share their kindness rocks with others.

In a time when America is filled with more than its share of dissent and anger, Kline wanted to show second grade elementary students at Jefferson Elementary School that it is still possible to spread a kind word to others by helping the students paint “Kindness Rocks.”

“The whole premise is you write something nice and then you give the rock to someone,” said Kline. “It is a happy thing and it is fun for them as you are sharing a nice thought. I also encourage them to place them somewhere so they can be found to give someone a nice message.”

Kline said it also dovetails into another thing that is of major concern in many schools right now.

“I kind of wanted to get into the schools and do an anti-bullying type of thing,” said Kline. “That is what is important is to get out and let the kids share their kindness. All of them have a rock that says on one side Jefferson Elementary Friendship Rocks. Then they get to write or paint whatever they want on the other side, so when they take it home they are taking the message with them.”

Kline said they can choose to keep the rock or give it away, as it is their decision.

On Thursday morning she was working with the whole second grade including McAnn Bradford’s class which was enjoying the project very much.

“The kids are loving it and I didn’t tell them until yesterday as I knew it would take them away from getting done what we needed to do with the learning curriculum,” said Bradford. “We have discussed friendship and kindness and started the year reading ‘Charlotte’s Web,’ which is all about friendship and kindness.”

Bradford said they have taken that concept into their daily approach to things.

“So we have taken that into the Chippewa Leaders Pledge which is keeping all the Chippewa Leaders trustworthy, respectful, accepting, cooperative and kind,” said Bradford. “They decided they wanted to do that all year. Janet Kline and I discussed doing the friendship rocks and some kids are going to keep them and others are going to give it to friends.”

She said others want to hide them so someone can come along and find one that will leave a good message with a stranger.

“I told them yesterday their homework was to remember what they wanted to paint today,” she said. “It turned out really great all second grade classes will be taking part today,” said Bradford.

Classes taught by Daniel Brown, Andrea Dejong and Bryan Tomaszewski did similar events with their students and Kline on Thursday.

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Posted by Ken Grabowski

Ken is News Advocate’s education reporter. He coordinates coverage for all Manistee County schools and West Shore Community College. He can be reached by phone at (231) 398-3125 or by email at kgrabowski@pioneergroup.com.

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