It goes like this: every Friday, Chase's fifth grade teacher asks students to write down four classmates' names next to whom they'd like to sit the following week. They know their selections may or may not be honored. Each student also nominates one classmate, who they believe has been an exceptional classroom citizen that week. All ballots are submitted privately. After the students go home, Chase's teacher goes through the ballots: "Who is not getting requested by anyone else? Who can't think of anyone to request? Who never gets noticed enough to be nominated? Who had a million friends last week and none this week?" Instead of seating chart ideas or model classmates, what this educator looks for are isolated and lonely students. "Whose gifts are going unnoticed by their peers? Who is being bullied, and who is doing the bullying?" Ever since the 1999 Columbine school shooting in Colorado, U.S., Chase's teacher has practiced this weekly exercise. From a simple weekly vote, Chase's teacher leans into her classroom of 10 and 11 year-old's patterns of disconnection, and finds ways to redirect them towards understanding and love. [Editor's Note: This story was originallypublished in 2014.]

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