Some sixth graders played with rocks Thursday in science class.
No, they weren't learning about geology. They were learning about spreading kindness!
Students from the three 6th grade biology classes at Haine Middle School in the Seneca Valley School District (north of Pittsburgh) created something they call The Kindness Rocks Project at Graham Park, not far from their school. The display contains colorful rocks, each with a phrase that's meant to support or cheer the person who takes it.
As teacher Danielle Fagan told us in an e-mail: "Our students brought in all supplies, searched for quotes/sayings that held a meaning to them, painted the rocks, added their quotes, and decorated the rocks. They also prepared the sign."
The students finished the display at the park, preparing the area for the rocks, adding their rocks and planting flowers around the perimeter of the rock garden. The finishing touch: they erected the sign, which invites people to leave a rock or take one as they need it, and maybe share a rock with someone who needs a boost:
"1 message at just the right moment can change your whole day, outlook, life."
One of the students posted a picture of their work on the Facebook page PIttsburghPaintsRocks. It's Pittsburgh's version of the Kindness Rocks trend that started years ago in Cape Cod and has been travelling across the U.S.
Group members hand-paint rocks and leave them throughout their community, like Pittsburgh. When you find a rock, you're supposed to enjoy it and/or re-hide it. Rock painters are encouraged to put social media information on the back so they can post clues about the locations of their rocks, and so finders are able to post pictures of their discoveries. Click on their Facebook page to find out more and how to join in.
The Haines Elementary students hope their efforts will impact the lives of others for a long time to come. "We are so proud of our students!" said their teacher Danielle.