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#IWishMyTeacherKnew: Teacher's writing assignment becomes inspiring lesson for all

What started as little more than a lesson plan for Denver third-grade teacher Kyle Schwartz turned into a movement across the country that's shown if you ask children what's wrong, they'll often tell you.

The movement, #IWishMyTeacherKnew, began in March, when Schwartz had a simple lesson for her third-grade students at Doull Elementary: tell me something you wish I knew about you.

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Teacher’s simple question to 3rd graders got the nation talking

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Teacher’s simple question to 3rd graders got the nation talking

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"I was just kind of desperate to connect with these kids," Schwartz told NBC's Janet Shamlian for TODAY.

The answers, from children in a school district with a high percentage of low-income students, struck a chord nationally when Schwartz shared photos of the responses on Twitter using the hashtag #IWishMyTeacherKnew. They quickly went viral.

Some were sweet:

Some were revealing:

And many were heartbreaking:

"Reading them was definitely a reality check," Schwartz said. "At the end of the day, these are just little people who have some big concerns that teachers need to be empathetic towards."

Soon after sharing on social media, teachers across the country were asking their own students to answer the "what I wish my teacher knew" prompt.

The responses were candid, poignant, and sometimes, troubling.

Turns out, it's not just the kids who are learning.

"Kids are just honest," Schwartz said. "They're so raw and real, and they're acutely aware of their needs...When you give them an outlet to advocate for themselves, they're going to bring honesty; they're going to bring a real answer to that question."

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