INSIDE THE CLASSROOM: Joseph Sledge at Terra Vista Middle School

Joseph Sledge, Social Studies Teacher and Girls Athletics Coach at Terra Vista Middle School, is encouraging students to be a superhero and change the world by simply being kind. Using the comic Superman #39, Goodnight Moon by Peter Tomasi, Coach Sledge implemented a lesson focused on working on words and actions to help the school and community.

Read the Q & A below to find out more about this feel-good lesson.

Q: What was the lesson you were trying to teach?
Sledge: The lesson I was attempting to teach for my students was to be aware of their words and actions and the impact they have on those around them. So, we focused on working on words and actions to help the school. The culmination of the mini-lesson was helping our Community in Schools classroom, especially as we were preparing for Spring Break. I wanted this to be a focus at this time, as the students may have opportunities on their own to help people around them during the break.

Q: What comic did you use and why?
Sledge: The comic that we used was Superman #39 Goodnight Moon by Peter Tomasi. In this story, as Superman is saving the day, he is protecting Metropolis in front of the hospital. After saving the day, he notices that the kids in the pediatric cancer wing are watching him. He then gets parents permission to bring the kids to the Watchtower and the Justice League spends time with them. The kids tour the Watchtower, complete a scavenger hunt and go to the moon and place rocks with their names on it. I picked it because of the lessons on empathy and doing kind things for those around you.

Q: How did your students engage with the lesson?
Sledge: The lesson breakdown was to read the comic and identify the overall themes in the book. Once we were able to do that, we began planning ways that we could help the school. After completing the first week, we spent the next week helping the Community in Schools room.

Q: How did the students spread kindness around the school?
Sledge: The first day we planned ways we could help out the school and ways we could do something nice. The most concrete idea we had was randomly passing out notes throughout the school encouraging other students. I provided the sticky notes and the students spent a day writing the notes. Some students came with pages of encouraging phrases written before class. After doing this, we spread out all of the messages around the school, this way students could have something encouraging in front of them as we finished up our time before Spring Break.

Q: What did they do to help Communities in Schools?
Sledge: The students helped Ms. Sandoval organize her food closet so that she can create food bags for our school faster. They organized the clothes racks and sorted clothes so that some could be donated to other organizations around the community. The students also helped to cut and staple information about her services to be passed out to our students. This was really cool, especially since many of my students did not know that the room or services existed.