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The Heart of It All – A Special Ed Teacher and Classroom Who Are Changing the World

We are amazed and inspired at the courage, determination, caring and positive actions of the people in our stories. Often their stories began with a small spark. Something moved them and they wanted to take action. Moving from inspiration to action is exactly what we hoped to create with

Johnnas Class

We search the world over for inspiring stories about and for kids. But recently, we had the great fortune of meeting some heroes in our midst. Johnna Sarcone is a Special Education Instructor for Port Chester Middle School in New York. She uses on a daily basis in her class. She recently invited us to observe her classroom and meet her wonderful students. What a thrill and honor this was for us.

Mrs. Sarcone uses as a current event assignment in her reading class. She says, “I am CONSTANTLY looking for character education lessons that I can infuse in my daily routine. I finally found it in your site!!! I give the kids a (character education) trait each week, and they have to research and write about a current event that exhibits that trait. I use it every day in my class. The videos help with differentiation of instruction as the kids listen and report ideas in an article-based assignment.”

During our visit, a few of Mrs. Sarcone’s students treated us to their weekly presentations. One was even done in PowerPoint! The presentations were informative and well thought out. Perhaps the most moving part for us was the genuine enthusiasm the kids showed for the topics.

The students asked us how and why we started the site. They offered some outstanding advice to us about how to improve the experience for them. Their tips included adding more stories about animals and sports. We have recently made changes to the site based directly on their feedback. So now, their ideas have become a vital part of! The ideas of these students have the potential to inspire other kids around the world!

Recently we did a story about Veterans Day (see Additional Resources below). In it, we mentioned Mrs. Sarcone and her class! They have inspired not only us with their actions, but also their school! Along with Mrs. Sarcone’s husband, a guidance counselor at Port Chester Middle School, the class recently helped spearhead a school-wide service project. They donated Halloween candy to soldiers via Operation Gratitude. Their efforts resulted in hundreds of pounds of candy being collected!

Yes…..this is a special group of children with a special teacher in every sense of the word. They are now our spark. We now feel a part of their journey. They are a shining example of who this site is for. We will continue to make the site more useful and impactful for them. We can’t wait to see where they go and how many people’s lives they inspire and make a difference in with their actions. They have certainly made a difference in ours.

Additional Resources:

  • Here’s another inspiremykids story that tells about Mrs. Sarcone’s class’ efforts with Operation Gratitude.
  • Check out the Operation Gratitude website!

Topics for Discussion:

  • Do you like to read inspirational stories about other kids?
  • Do you know anyone in your community who inspires others? Maybe you can be that person!

Take Action:

  • Mrs. Sarcone and her class find ways to inspire others with their actions. What actions can you and your class take to inspire others?
  • Check out the Environmental Protection Agency website for ideas about how you and your classroom can help those in need!

Teacher Features:

  • Here is a link to a Critical Reading Skills worksheet that you can use for elementary school students.
  • Here is a link to a Critical Reading Skills worksheet that you can use for middle school students.


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