Students at Margaret R. Brown Elementary School in Seymour are learning more than reading, writing and arithmetic this year.
Through a special initiative, students and staff are studying and putting into practice the Golden Rule.
Although many understand the general concept of “do unto others as you would have them do unto you,” the school is rewarding specific ways students are demonstrating the Golden Rule in real life.
For every act of kindness and generosity or show of respect to others, students can earn a golden ticket from teachers or staff who observe the action.
The tickets are for students who are Goal oriented, Observant of others, demonstrate Leadership, are Dynamite listeners, give Extra effort and have Noteworthy work habits (GOLDEN). They also can be earned by being Trustworthy, Independent, Cooperative, a student who Keeps trying, is Excited about learning and is Thoughtful (TICKET).
There’s no limit to how many tickets a student can collect and enter for special prizes and rewards.
To kick off the program, the school held a convocation Aug. 14, and students were introduced to the book “The Golden Rule,” by Ilene Cooper, and signed pledge cards promising to always treat others with respect. Adults in the building, including teachers and support staff, also signed the cards, all of which are visible on a Pledge Wall when you enter the school.
Called One Book, One School, every grade level is reading “The Golden Rule” and every month the students come together for literacy and character-building activities revolving around the book.
In September, all students will reread the book to refresh their memories and will begin creating a Golden Rule Word Wall and come up with ideas for a kindness quilt that will be displayed in the school when completed for all to see.
Brown’s literacy coach Bridget Longmeier and social worker, Karen Munson, are working together with teachers to lead the Golden Rule project.
“It is a simple, yet beautifully written children’s book about a little boy who learns how to treat others from his grandfather,” Longmeier said. “It also discusses different religions and cultures and how they all follow the Golden Rule.”
Third-graders Josiah Bingham, Axel Patricio and Erica Diego, agree that coming up with ways to help their fellow students and show kindness is fun and it makes the school an even better place to be, they said.
All three students have already earned multiple golden tickets.
Munson said she too has observed how the program is making an impact.
“Kids are being nicer to each other,” she said. “They don’t want to break the Golden Rule.”
Patricio said he liked the book and practices what he learned at school and at home.
Whether it’s helping another student pick up their crayons that they dropped, being a good listener and not talking, or helping empty the trash can, there are lots of ways to follow the Golden Rule and earn golden tickets.
On Sept. 4, the school will have its first reward event called Blacktop Boogie, where all students who have earned a golden ticket will get an extra recess with music to dance to, sidewalk chalk, bubbles and popsicles.
“The kids are already excited about it,” Longmeier said.
Other rewards will include pizza with the principal, a movie and popcorn event, a kickball game with teachers and Seymour High School athletes, and an ice cream sundae treat.
Every student will receive a Golden Rule T-shirt thanks to donations from local businesses and groups, Longmeier said.
Longmeier said she also hopes to get the author of “The Golden Rule” to visit the school or Skype with students about writing the book.
At the end of the school year in May, Longmeier said there will be a big golden celebration to highlight all the nice things the students and staff have done.