Teacher uses "On the Road" to teach students kindness

Phoenix — Not long ago, I made a surprise visit to the Alhambra Traditional School in Phoenix. Though I anticipated a warm welcome, I was not prepared for everyone to be in shock.

Our connection clearly runs deep, thanks to teacher Derek Brown, who for more than a decade has been showing his fifth graders one of my stories every day.

"Math, English, reading, writing — nothing matters if the kids aren't grounded and good," Brown said of why he does it.

He says the Americans we meet on "On The Road" every week teach character better than he ever could.

Brown's students said it's working.

"It made me nicer to my little brother," one student said.

And it's not just happening in Phoenix. CBS News has learned of other teachers across the country bringing "On the Road" into the classroom. We estimate there are thousands of others.

CBS News has started a Facebook group called Kindness 101 for Teachers to bring them all together to share lesson plans and strategies. So far, more than 30,000 teachers have joined, creating a mini movement. But there's always room for more, so if you know a teacher who might be interested, Brown says please tell them about it.

"They have to let their kids see this," Brown said. "Kids have to connect to these."

And when that happens, he says the possibility opens wide for kids to go from watching goodness to emulating it.

"I'd like to see them act it out, so then maybe one of my kids could be the topic of one of your stories," he said. "That would be the ultimate."

For both of us.

To contact On the Road, or to send us a story idea, email us: OnTheRoad@cbsnews.com. 

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