This third grade teacher's classroom lessons on consent are perfection.

This article originally appeared on 10.08.18


Liz Kleinrock has used America's heated discourse on sexual violence as the springboard for lessons on consent for her third graders.

Kleinrock, who teaches at Citizens of the World Charter School Silver Lake in Los Angeles, took to Facebook and Instagram to share the visual aids she uses in her lessons about about consent.

She talks about what consent looks and sounds like. She explores when consent is needed in a way that's appropriate for the age group. She also addresses some of the “What if" questions kids might raise, such as “What if the other person says “No," but they're smiling?" or “What if the person wanted a hug yesterday, but doesn't today?" and gives kids alternatives for what to do if consent is not given.


Kleinrock says that current conversations about sexual assault prompted her to take action with the kids in her classroom.

“Everything about Kavanaugh in the news has been making me HEATED," she wrote on the social media accounts she keeps for her website, Teach and Transform. “So whenever I get frustrated about the state of our country, it inspires me to proactively teach my kids to DO BETTER. Today was all about CONSENT. We even explored the grey areas, like if someone says “yes" but their tone and body language really says “no." Role playing is a great way to reinforce these skills, but they MUST be taught explicitly!"

Kleinrock says her consent lessons aren't about sex, and that the concept of consent starts long before sexual relationships come into the picture.

Some people may feel weird about addressing consent with kids so young. But Kleinrock says there are foundational lessons that need to start early, which aren't directly tied to sex.

“For a lot of adults, the idea of addressing consent with children is alarming because of the relationship between consent and sex," Kleinrock wrote in an article on Tolerance.org. “However, it's important to break down the concept of consent regarding boundaries, comfort, physical interactions and mutual respect before even getting into the subjects of sex, romantic relationships or toxic masculinity."

She and her third graders brainstorm situations that might call for consent, and explore the “gray areas" that sometimes trip kids—and adults—up. For example, what if someone's body language is saying something different than their words? What if someone is hesitant in their response?

Kleinrock also points out that it's not all about someone's physical personal space. “Students giggle and contribute ideas such as giving hugs and kisses," she said, “but also state that it's important to ask for permission when it comes to sharing and borrowing items from another person. One child proclaims, 'And telling secrets! You have to ask permission to tell someone else's secret!'"

Kleinrock has now added “secrets" to her lessons on personal safety and boundaries.

The student who said “secrets" were something that needed consent to tell was partially right. But that message can be problematic for kids who have been violated and told to keep it a secret.

So Kleinrock has added a lesson about when to keep a secret and when not to. She points out that things like hate speech or doing something dangerous or inappropriate are not things to keep secrets about, whereas fun surprises or someone's personal business—like a kid's parents getting divorced—are secrets we shouldn't share.

Imagine if all kids got such thorough and thoughtful lessons on consent starting at an early age. Keep up the awesome work, Ms. Kleinrock.

Images courtesy of Mark Storhaug & Kaiya Bates

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The experiences we have at school tend to stay with us throughout our lives. It's an impactful time where small acts of kindness, encouragement, and inspiration go a long way.

Schools, classrooms, and teachers that are welcoming and inclusive support students' development and help set them up for a positive and engaging path in life.

Here are three of our favorite everyday actions that are spreading kindness on campus in a big way:

Image courtesy of Mark Storhaug

1. Pickleball to Get Fifth Graders Moving

Mark Storhaug is a 5th grade teacher at Kingsley Elementary in Los Angeles, who wants to use pickleball to get his students "moving on the playground again after 15 months of being Zombies learning at home."

Pickleball is a paddle ball sport that mixes elements of badminton, table tennis, and tennis, where two or four players use solid paddles to hit a perforated plastic ball over a net. It's as simple as that.

Kingsley Elementary is in a low-income neighborhood where outdoor spaces where kids can move around are minimal. Mark's goal is to get two or three pickleball courts set up in the schoolyard and have kids join in on what's quickly becoming a national craze. Mark hopes that pickleball will promote movement and teamwork for all his students. He aims to take advantage of the 20-minute physical education time allotted each day to introduce the game to his students.

Help Mark get his students outside, exercising, learning to cooperate, and having fun by donating to his GoFundMe.

Image courtesy of Kaiya Bates

2. Staying C.A.L.M: Regulation Kits for Kids

According to the WHO around 280 million people worldwide suffer from depression. In the US, 1 in 5 adults experience mental illness and 1 in 20 experience severe mental illness, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness.

Kaiya Bates, who was recently crowned Miss Tri-Cities Outstanding Teen for 2022, is one of those people, and has endured severe anxiety, depression, and selective mutism for most of her life.

Through her GoFundMe, Kaiya aims to use her "knowledge to inspire and help others through their mental health journey and to spread positive and factual awareness."

She's put together regulation kits (that she's used herself) for teachers to use with students who are experiencing stress and anxiety. Each "CALM-ing" kit includes a two-minute timer, fidget toolboxes, storage crates, breathing spheres, art supplies and more.

Kaiya's GoFundMe goal is to send a kit to every teacher in every school in the Pasco School District in Washington where she lives.

To help Kaiya achieve her goal, visit Staying C.A.L.M: Regulation Kits for Kids.

Image courtesy of Julie Tarman

3. Library for a high school heritage Spanish class

Julie Tarman is a high school Spanish teacher in Sacramento, California, who hopes to raise enough money to create a Spanish language class library.

The school is in a low-income area, and although her students come from Spanish-speaking homes, they need help building their fluency, confidence, and vocabulary through reading Spanish language books that will actually interest them.

Julie believes that creating a library that affirms her students' cultural heritage will allow them to discover the joy of reading, learn new things about the world, and be supported in their academic futures.

To support Julie's GoFundMe, visit Library for a high school heritage Spanish class.

Do YOU have an idea for a fundraiser that could make a difference? Upworthy and GoFundMe are celebrating ideas that make the world a better, kinder place. Visit upworthy.com/kindness to join the largest collaboration for human kindness in history and start your own GoFundMe.

This article originally appeared on 10.23.15


Getting people who don't suffer from anxiety issues to understand them is hard.

People have tried countless metaphors and methods to describe what panic and anxiety is like. But putting it into the context of a living nightmare, haunted house style, is one of the more effective ways I've ever seen it done.

Brenna Twohy delivered the riveting poetic analogy recently in Oakland, starting out by going off about some funny "Goosebumps" plots. It's lovely, funny, sweet, and relatable, and it's totally worth the short time to watch.

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When a pet is admitted to a shelter it can be a traumatizing experience. Many are afraid of their new surroundings and are far from comfortable showing off their unique personalities. The problem is that's when many of them have their photos taken to appear in online searches.

Chewy, the pet retailer who has dedicated themselves to supporting shelters and rescues throughout the country, recognized the important work of a couple in Tampa, FL who have been taking professional photos of shelter pets to help get them adopted.

"If it's a photo of a scared animal, most people, subconsciously or even consciously, are going to skip over it," pet photographer Adam Goldberg says. "They can't visualize that dog in their home."

Adam realized the importance of quality shelter photos while working as a social media specialist for the Humane Society of Broward County in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

"The photos were taken top-down so you couldn't see the size of the pet, and the flash would create these red eyes," he recalls. "Sometimes [volunteers] would shoot the photos through the chain-link fences."

That's why Adam and his wife, Mary, have spent much of their free time over the past five years photographing over 1,200 shelter animals to show off their unique personalities to potential adoptive families. The Goldbergs' wonderful work was recently profiled by Chewy in the video above entitled, "A Day in the Life of a Shelter Pet Photographer."