A Colorado teacher who posted notes from her third grade class online and started a social media whirlwind said the assignment has been a revelation for her. (Reuters)

A third-grade teacher at a Denver elementary school decided to try to get to know her students better — most of whom come from low-income families — and gave them a writing assignment in which she hoped they would reveal something about themselves. Kyle Schwartz called the activity “I wish my teacher knew” — and she wound up learning more than she thought.

According to this story by ABC News, Schwartz, who teachers at Doull Elementary School, said:

“Ninety-two percent of our students qualify for free and reduced lunch. As a new teacher, I struggled to understand the reality of my students’ lives and how to best support them. I just felt like there was something I didn’t know about my students.”

She allowed students to write anonymously but found that most wanted to include their name and even share it with the class. She said:

“Some notes are heartbreaking like the first #iwishmyteacherknew tweet which read, ‘I wish my teacher knew I don’t have pencils at home to do my homework.’ I care deeply about each and every one of my students and I don’t want any of them to have to suffer the consequences of living in poverty, which is my main motivation for teaching.”

Schwartz posted some of the students’ work on Twitter under the hashtag #IWishMyTeacherKnew, and she urged other teachers to do the same thing. Here are some of the tweets posted by Schwartz as well as others.