Education, K-12, Teaching Tools, Videos

Videos About Kindness

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As graduation time rolls around again, I am reminded of one of my favorite commencement speeches in which Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon, pronounced that it is better to be kind than to be clever.  It is well worth showing your students, particularly 4th grade and up.  If you have younger students, you might want to show them this newly animated video of a portion of George Saunders’ graduation address to Syracuse University students last year in which he also argues for the value of kindness. (I referred to this speech in an earlier post about kindness, when I reflected on the book, Wonder.)


As I look through my Pinterest Board of Inspirational Videos for Students, I find that kindness is a common theme.  Here are some others that I’ve collected through the years:

“Nothing More” – a song about kindness by Alternate Routes

“Giving” – a video that shows how kindness may be repaid many years later

“A Life Lesson” – from volunteer firefighter Mark Bezos (yes, the brother of Jeff) about how the little things can mean a lot

“Kindness Boomerang” – how paying it forward may end up paying you back

“Painted Pie” – a beautiful, post-impressionistic animation about a legacy of kindness

Shoe Collection – one of my own students, who spent her birthday helping others

 “The Robin” – a great video for young students, this animation shows a robin who stands up to bullies and is then faced with being on the other side

If you have any other suggestions for videos about kindness, feel free to mention them in the comments below!


5-8, 6-12, Careers, Education, Motivation, Philosophy, Teaching Tools, Videos

Mark Bezos and Jeff Bezos – Two Very Different Men With a Very Similar Message

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Last year, around this time, I posted about the Jeff Bezos (founder of Amazon) graduation speech that I planned to share with my gifted 5th graders.  I did share it with them, and I intend to share it with my current 5th graders this week.  They will go on to middle school next year, and Jeff Bezos says everything I hope these students will remember – much more eloquently than I can ever phrase it.

This weekend, I heard a TED talk on the TED Radio Hour from a different Bezos, Mark, who I assume is no direct relation.  Mark is a volunteer fire fighter, and though his story is quite different, I am fairly certain that Jeff Bezos would nod his head in agreement with Mark’s message.  One line, in particular, resonated with me, “Not every day is going to offer us a chance to save somebody’s life, but every day offers us an opportunity to affect one.”

And so, this year, my students will view two talks by men named Bezos.  As a teacher for 23 years, I have tried my best to “save the shoes” on a daily basis.  Before this group of kids move on, I am going to make one last attempt to enter that burning building and grab 16 pairs to dole out to my class.  They might just throw them away, or they might slip them on and wear them forever.  I will probably never know, either way.

But at least I’ll know that I tried. (If you would like to view some more inspirational videos for teachers or students, you can click here or here.)

3-12, Education, Philosophy, Teaching Tools, Videos

We Are What We Choose

In 2010, Jeff Bezos, the founder and CEO of, delivered the Baccalaureate Address at Princeton University.  Last year, I showed this video of his address to my 5th grade GT students.  In 18 minutes, Jeff Bezos is able to sum up everything that I hope that my students will gather from our classroom activities and discussions.  In particular, I like this part of his speech, “What I want to talk to you about today is the difference between gifts and choices. Cleverness is a gift, kindness is a choice. Gifts are easy — they’re given after all. Choices can be hard. You can seduce yourself with your gifts if you’re not careful, and if you do, it’ll probably be to the detriment of your choices.”  You can find a complete transcript of his address here.

This year, I will show this video to my current 5th graders, and we will talk about the questions that Mr. Bezos poses at the end of his address.  My students may not be in college, yet, but it is never too early to consider that our strengths can be destructive when wielded without thought for others.

This video can also be viewed at