#kindness1billion: Good deeds add up for kindergarteners at Fullerton’s Fisler School

A kindergarten teacher from Fisler School in Fullerton found a clever way to tie kindness to California’s math standards.

At the beginning of the school year, Stephanie Burcombe handed out packets of paper with 100 squares to each child in her class. Noting that one of the state’s kindergarten standards is to count to 100, she asked every one of her students to perform and log 100 acts of kindness by the 100th day of school.

Kindness posters at Fisler Elementary School
Posters at Fisler School in Fullerton are adorned with tiny slips of paper representing kind acts performed throughout the year. Teacher Stephanie Burcombe encouraged every student in her kindergarten class to use the papers to document 100 acts of kindness by the 100th day of school.

All of them did, resulting in 3,200 good deeds that were recently added to OCDE’s One Billion Acts of Kindness count. Other kindergarten classes also participated at Fisler, generating a total of 9,600.

“My students gained an awareness of what kindness looks like and a desire to ‘make the kind choice’ in daily situations,” says Burcombe, who further encouraged her class to decorate posters with their paper squares. “My students also gained an awareness of the kind choices their classmates were making by catching each other being kind and adding those acts to their kindness projects.”

The posters that now adorn Burcombe’s classroom walls serve to document the project, displaying tiny testimonials such as “Helped mom without being asked,” “Said thank you to crosswalk lady” and “Took out a neighbor’s trash.” 

Burcombe says it’s common for young children to consider only how their actions affect themselves. Activities like this, she says, help them see the bigger picture of how others are impacted by good deeds. Plus, it’s a pretty good way to visualize the number 100.

“Kindergarten students each come to school with unique backgrounds and stories,” Burcombe says. “While some students may have a quicker inclination to make a kind choice than others, all students can benefit from being given explicit examples of what kindness looks like and how those involved — both the giver and receiver of a kind act — feel when a kind act is extended.”

Here are some other stories of kindness recently shared through the kindness1billion.org website:

  • “Together Las Flores Elementary School and Cub Scout Pack 715 collected 6,00 cans of food for the Second Harvest Food Bank in November 2017.”
  • “Cowherd Middle School in Aurora, IL is hosting an event to help the people of South Sudan acquire cold, clean water.”
  • “350 shirts were donated by Marine View Middle School to the Huntington Beach Youth Shelter.”
  • “The Great Kindness Challenge is a week-long program that promotes kindness in schools, from preschool through twelfth grade. Valencia High School’s G.E.A.R. UP Leadership class planned and facilitated a lunch-time rally to promote and encourage kindness throughout campus. The class, made of aspiring leaders from our at-risk programs, created posters that included words of kindness and encouragement and invited the student body to add positive messages to posters during the lunch rally. Students​ participated in the activity throughout lunch and made a positive impact in promoting kindness that can spread on campus throughout the new year.”
  • “On Saturday, January 27, 115 community volunteers served the Orange County Academic Decathlon (OCAD) program. Each volunteer served a total of 7 hours as speech or interview judges to support our 550 student decathletes. Volunteer judges listened to student speeches, conducted student interviews, and evaluated them for the purpose of the OCAD regional competition. OCAD could not host this competition day without the help of our volunteers!”
  • “161 corporate and community volunteers, including Orange County high school students, spent over 400 hours collecting 40 large trash bags of debris and trash that otherwise would have reached the bay and affected the local wildlife.”
  • “250 pajamas donated and logged on Twitter.”
  • “Had a wonderful team of employees who made our staff’s moving process as smooth as possible. Thank you guys!!”
  • “Stayed late at work to help a coworker with their project.”
  • “My friend was having a hard time and was upset at school on Tuesday and I asked him to stand in line with me. Once we got inside the classroom he was still upset, so I asked him to sit by me on the floor. I asked him to play with me at recess too. I was trying to cheer him up.”
Don’t forget to log your kind acts on the kindness1billion.org website, or download our free app for iOS and Android devices. And be sure to listen to “Exploring Kindness,” the latest episode of The Deeper Learning Podcast, hosted by Orange County Superintendent Dr. Mijares.