10 Ways to Help Kids be Kind

As it comes close to the end of the year, I often set goals to work on with my class and recently, one of my goals for the next calendar year was to work on helping my students treat each other as well as other people with kindness. I gathered up lots of ideas! 

First of all, did you know that Random Act of Kindness Week is February 11-17? Terrific, but don't forget, kindness can and should be an all year focus. I do like kicking it up a notch during that week! There is actually a whole website of resources for this week (and to encourage it year round) here at the random acts of kindness website!

You can kick it off with  using this freebie called 100 Random Acts of Kindness. It will help either your class (I did it as a whole class project with my second graders) or help individual students brainstorm and/or track all the random acts of kindness they do. I liked to introduce this around February 1st actually and aim for our class to get to 100 by the 100th day of school. Kids were very invested and usually we ended up with well over 100 random acts of kindness!
Also, try using some of the great ideas for morning meeting through Responsive Classroom (disclaimer: I have not been officially trained). The responsive classroom website has ideas here and you can find more of them all over the internet. One I like that encourages kindness is doing a compliment circle. The leader starts by giving a genuine compliment to one other student, they do the same (no one can get a compliment twice) and continue on until everyone has been greeted with a compliment. Similarly, but with a part of speech twist, try the adjective greeting. Students get a greeting and a positive adjective in front of their name such as "Good morning, Awesome Archie"!

Incorporating read alouds and accompanying discussions are always a great way to encourage kindness. My all time favorite book that supports a kindness curriculum is Wonder by RJ Palacio.

Kindness Journals! I had my second graders write Kindness Journals after we read Wonder. Each week I gave them a quote from 365 Days of Wonder. They had to write the quote and reflect on what it meant to them. It was pretty powerful.

Watch Kid President's Kindness videos on the Soul Pancake Youtube channel. There are more than 100 Kid President videos and many, I mean many, relate to kindness! (Fun Fact: Did you know Kid President Videos are on the Soul Pancake channel and Soul Pancake is the creation of The Office actor Rainn Wilson (Dwight Schrute) and some of his friends?)

Help Kids Learn how to apologize. Kids don't just show up to first or second grade and know how to do it in a meaningful, kind way. They often need explicit teaching on how to do it. Try having an anchor chart handy with sentence stems like this one!

Use a buddy bench at recess! Our school is lucky enough to have our own buddy bench dedicated to a retired teacher. Students often use it and it can be a great vehicle to make new friends! If you don't have a bench, try making a specific 'buddy spot' like an oak tree or other landmark for kids to go to if they need a friend or something fun to do at recess!

Decorate the walkway with kindness notes! This is an idea I saw on a PTA website, but I forgot exactly where! Great and inspiring idea!

Read alouds! These four are some of my favorite for teaching kids about kindesss!

Set up a kindness station at your school so students AND staff can write and post or write a give a kind note to anyone! All you need is a table, pens or pencils, some index cards or post it notes and maybe if you want them posted, push pins and a bulletin board!

Do you have a tip? Comment and share it!

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