children full of life


Mr. Kanamori, a teacher of a 4th grade class, teaches his students not only how to be students, but how to live. He gives them lessons on teamwork, community, the importance of openness, how to cope, and the harm caused by bullying. In the award-winning documentary Children Full of Life, a fourth-grade class in a primary school in Kanazawa, northwest of Tokyo, learn lessons about compassion from their homeroom teacher, Toshiro Kanamori. He instructs each to write their true inner feelings in a letter, and read it aloud in front of the class. By sharing their lives, the children begin to realize the importance of caring for their classmates. Toshiro is an amazing example of what all teachers across the world should be like. He truly understands what teaching children is all about and certainly made a positive difference in the lives of these 10 year olds.

notes from 40 min film:

mr k: what’s the most important thing this year.. kids: to be happy.. mr k: what are we here for.. kids: to be happy.. mr k: we only have one life.. so let’s really enjoy it

glass goal – grade 4: understand how to live a happy life.. how to care for other people

9 min – she didn’t want to talk about her father (death when she was 3) because she didn’t want to seem different.. but now she is more a part of the class than ever.. and now she can talk about her father and smile

10 min – mr k is 57 yrs old.. he believes the world values life less everyday.. he believes a teacher’s job is to show how precious life is.. connect theory w life

11 min – bullying over test scores.. talked out and stopped cold

12 min – mr k: if you pick on someone you’re not being a friend..

so.. would there be bullying if they weren’t in sea world..? bullying over test scores .. no?

bullying et al

think about friends.. they’re in your heart.. why would you pick on them

because we’re not truly free.. so not truly ourselves.. ie: we’re in in sea world.. as incredible as this focus is (happy life).. it’s still enmeshed in an ecosystem based on supposed to’s.. ie: of school/work

mr k wants bullies to confess and explain their behavior

how about recognizing/acknowledging we let those ‘bullies’ out of our love.. (grammatis broken law et al) 1\ don’t let them  2\ bring them back in via ie: your own song ness

kids: one person finds studying hard.. that’s not a reason to pick on that person

again – deeper.. that we expect kids to study whatever.. then blame them for not wanting/liking to..

13 min – no one confessing mr k has had enough mr k: you are hiding behind these pretty words.. you think you’re good boys/girls .. don’t you.. what’s missing?.. you’re blaming everyone but yourself..’i did something wrong’.. who said that.. nobody.. all you letter writers.. you never wrote about this (laughing at others.. saying/spreading bad things) ..think it over and get out notebooks..

14 min – the discussion goes on for days.. and slowly some truths come creeping out

15 min – kids: i spread the story too.. i ignored her didn’t think i was being bad.. she wasn’t bad .. i was.. we made her unhappy (all on a girl who had trouble writing characters)

sea world

16 min – girl talking about being bullied in preschool/daycare .. kids saying she smelled bad

preschool/daycare.. wtf are we thinking.. let’s be the ones to admit we’re ignoring all the signs .. that things are right..

tweet this am:

@sisypus38: Alarm goes off-12 yr old gets up: she doesn’t want to. Gets ready for school: doesn’t want to. Waits at bus stop: doesn’t want to. Rides bus: doesn’t want to. Told to complete an assignment: doesn’t want to. Teacher: “sometimes we have to do things we don’t want to do.”

@BenBo370: Of course, you’re pointing to a need to change not just school but society. Which doesn’t make your observation (implied criticism) less valid but could lead to a much larger conversation. (How do we change society to make this reality… not one?)

Original Tweet:

begs we go deeper than goals of happiness.. how to live a good life.. care for others.. in a classroom.. to global systemic change ie: cure ios city

if we truly want to have children/all-people.. full of life.. we have to quit sucking it out of them/us.. let go

17 min – it hurt so much – to be picked on – she was afraid to shelter someone else.. she is remorseful

that’s on us

the lesson – we’re all vulnerable.. we must admit it and go on

perhaps the lesson.. we’re all whales in sea world .. we must change it (ecosystem) and go on

18 min – 35 kids playing in mud.. good for blowing off all that steam..

so.. the problem with saying we need more recess.. is that if we do that.. or things like that.. we think things are ok (like 15 min over 7 min recess is a cure all) .. rather than delving deeper.. ie: who/what is  creating the steam..

not to mention – show the kid who doesn’t want to run in the mud.. no?

biggest event of year.. building rafts.. then they ride them.. the rafts are *their work.. they designed them.. scrounged the materials

again.. what about the kid who doesn’t want to build a raft.. or ride a raft.. not really *their work/design.. unless it comes from unconditional curiosity .. everyday.. we need to listen deeper.. let go deeper

ie: facil daily curiosity by focusing on 2 convers as infra via tech as it could be..

19 min – kids get there early day of.. long wait till 5th period.. mr k is furious.. someone has been chattering and goofing around all morning.. mr k’s warned him and it didn’t work mr k to kid: when are you going to get yourself sorted out (kid crying) at every important moment you’re chatting and laughing.. this has been going on since sept

important to who..? obviously not to him.. but it’s ok to shame him about it.. dang

since sept.. when whales are recaged in sea world

20 min – mr k to another kid: if you knew he was wrong why didn’t you do something about it.. that’s it for today.. no raft riding for you

social control et al.. using other kids to keep other kids in line (with the supposed to’s.. of school/work)

class one doesn’t accept that.. challenges mr k.. ‘yuto’s worked hard up till now.. (to class) please speak up for him.. he was talking so can’t ride raft.. let him show he can be responsible’

whales in sea world.. this isn’t natural.. coming to the defense of others.. saying ..let him show he can be responsible.. we need spaces of permission w nothing to prove.. this seems so good.. i know many who would eat this up.. and yeah.. it’s nicer .. but it’s perpetuating a broken feedback loop – keeping us in the dark as to what we’re capable of ..

ie: an undisturbed ecosystem.. ‘in undisturbed ecosystems ..the average individual, species, or population, left to its own devices, behaves in ways that serve and stabilize the whole..’ –Dana Meadows

21 min – this is a very dangerous challenge to a very powerful authority.. he’s frightened.. but he keeps going (defending friend).. ‘please forgive him’.. mr k: i’ll hear from one more


another kid: yuko shouldn’t have been talking in class.. but it’s party our fault.. we can’t just leave him behind.. if he stays behind i will too.. others say.. me too (all the while mr k has his head tilted up with his eyes closed)


first kid again: the raft was our project.. not the teacher’s we should decide.. mr k agrees.. kid cries.. then they high five and kids laugh/clap.. mr k: now go and make up for lost time


24 min – next day yuto in notebook letter: i caused a lot of trouble yesterday.. i’m sorry.. thank you for sticking up for me.. for cheering me up.. it should have been me crying all those tears..

26 min – mr k: children said the solution should match the problem.. even adults can’t say that

exactly.. let’s get to a problem deep enough for the systemic problem/situation/sea world  we are in

27 min – kid: if one person is unhappy.. everybody will be unhappy

begs we listen to every legit voice.. everyday.. ie: tech as it could be..

30 min – mr k on kids dad dying in sleep: nothing is certain.. that’s why it’s important to think about life.. i want you to cheer him up

kind of like his ‘pretty words’ in beginning.. nice saying.. but if we’re aiding and abetting supposed to’s.. of school/work.. just pretty words

narrator: tall order.. his father’s dead.. they’re 10.. friends take snacks to his house.. all write a letter to him

last day of school (kids will be separating after 2 yrs) mr k writes fav rod on board – bonding

39 min – narrator: they are not always satisfied/well-behaved.. they are 35 children

that we have decided need to be in a space/grouping..

behave ness

but perhaps they know something now most other *children don’t about trust, respect and friendship

rather.. most other *whales in sea world don’t..  those are naturals to kids we haven’t yet scrambled..

perhaps they have a personal inside track on happiness after 2 yrs w mr k..


message.. we have to let go of band aid fixes .. listen to our own words.. back to 26 min

26 min – mr k: children said the solution should match the problem.. even adults can’t say that

exactly.. let’s get to a problem deep enough for the systemic problem/situation/sea world  we are in

what the world needs most: the energy of 7b alive people.. we have the means for that today.. we can’t not


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