Students at Feelhaver Elementary School joined more than four million other students across the United States on Thursday by participating in the seventh annual "Mix it up at Lunch Day," a project designed to encourage respect and acceptance in schools and communities.
The kindergarten through fourth grade students spent last week meeting with School Counselor Kim Bodholdt learning about acceptance and tolerance of difference. Each student created a paper "brick" in which they wrote an example of a time that they had been bullied or put-down by someone, or a time when they had put someone else down. The bricks, which included statements such as "someone hit me on the playground," and "I teased my little brother," were used to build the "Wall of Intolerance" in the multipurpose room throughout the week.
"We really wanted to teach the kids about being accepting of others' differences," Bodholdt said.
At lunch, students were given colored napkins and sat at the table with the coinciding color. Each table included a list of conversation starters for the students.
Fourth-graders Oceana Williams and Noah Blanchard quickly took advantage of the opportunity to get to know each other at lunch. It was the first time the two had eaten lunch together.
"He just came here last year, so I didn't know him very well," Williams said of Blanchard.
Kindergarten teacher Jen Cordle also took the time to "mix it up" during lunch by eating with a group of third-graders that were not her former students.
"It was great to talk with them in a different setting," she said.
After lunch, each student had the opportunity to take their brick off the Wall of Intolerance and place it a trash can in order to symbolize that their school will be accepting of each others' differences.
"It's been a great activity," Cordle said. "The kids loved it and want to do it again."
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