Momastery blogger Glennon Doyle Melton writes of an "ingenious" strategy one of her kid's teachers has used for years—every week since Columbine, in fact. On Fridays, the teacher asks each student to give her a list of four classmates with whom they'd like to sit and to name one kid who has been an "exceptional classroom citizen." The idea isn't to create a new seating chart or a hokey award, however. She pores over the lists looking for lonely kids, those who never get mentioned or who can't come up with four friends.
"She’s identifying the little ones who are falling through the cracks of the class's social life," writes Melton. "She is discovering whose gifts are going unnoticed by their peers. And she’s pinning down—right away—who’s being bullied and who is doing the bullying." After Columbine, the teacher seized upon the idea that violence often springs from "disconnection" and has made it her business to try to identify and fix the problem early. "What a way to spend a life: looking for patterns of love and loneliness," writes Melton. "Stepping in, every single day—and altering the trajectory of our world." Click for the full column. (Read more teachers stories.)