How to Safely Support Students Receiving In-Person Services During the Pandemic

By Andrew Hawk

How to Safely Support Students Receiving In-Person Services During the Pandemic

Pandemic fatigue is a term I’ve recently added to my vocabulary. It describes the exhaustion that results from incorporating many pandemic-based precautions into one’s life over time. While people around the world fight the COVID-19 virus, they also continue to reinvent day-to-day activities so people can function as safely as possible.

Aspects of education that once didn’t warrant a second thought now are the subject matter of planning meetings, professional articles, and even education blogs. The special education community is focusing all its creative energy on meeting the needs of its students while trying to abide by many new safety rules. Here are some ideas special education personnel can try when they are supporting students who require in-person services during the pandemic.

Alternative Locations

Many occupational therapists, physical therapists, and speech pathologists work at medical facilities. One of my daughters used to receive speech therapy at a local hospital. Unfortunately, many therapists who work in medical facilities are not seeing patients in person during this time unless there is a health-related reason. While I have not heard of many service providers volunteering to do in-home therapy, some people are arranging therapy sessions at alternative locations such as schools and community centers. Check and see if this is an option for your students.

Remote Services

At the risk of sounding like Captain Obvious: remote services are a necessity right now, and we don’t know how long they will be necessary. Since the pandemic began, I have observed a lot of remote services, and they have not all been great. I encourage service providers who have no other option to approach remote service delivery with a sense of urgency, to make the services as authentic as possible. If you are struggling with this, reach out to colleagues and network in your field to get ideas. As long as providers strive to improve, they can close the quality gap between in-person and remote services.

Needed Materials

What does your student need for their services? Thera-putty? An exercise ball? A visual timer? Complete a needs assessment and work to get these items to your student. If resources are a challenge, I encourage you to request donations from your community and local businesses. I know this adds one more item to your likely full plate, but seeing the generosity of your stakeholders is a rewarding experience.

Adult Support

A big part of service delivery during a pandemic is training parents and guardians to complete service activities that providers used to be able to do in person. Some in-home adults might be resistant at first, but I think you will find that the majority will agree to your requests because they serve the best interests of their student or students.

Teacher-Created Videos

If a picture is worth a thousand words, how many words is a video worth? Even more—because videos can be watched multiple times if a student needs the extra reinforcement. Quality is the key to effectiveness, so review and reflect on your videos to create a great learning experience.

Documentation Strategies

Are you depending on students to complete tasks independently or on guardians to supervise tasks? I recommend also using a documentation strategy to help with accountability, even if it is just a simple checklist. I think most people want to meet all their obligations. However, day in and day out, in the hustle-bustle of life, things can slip through the cracks. Documenting service activities helps ensure students complete them.

Internet Resources

Free academic resources have been available on the internet all along. However, after the outbreak of COVID-19, many of the most highly regarded learning websites started offering free extended trials to help support students learning from home. Do some research and see if there are any available that meet your students’ needs. If so, capitalize on the opportunity to try out a great new resource.

Create an Archive of Task Analysis

Task analysis is a detailed set of instructions on how to complete a task. It may use words, pictures, or a combination of the two. Service providers don’t have the time to sit and create these for every activity they complete or potentially will complete with students. Instead, an archive like this can be completed over multiple years and added to when possible. There’s no time like the present to get started. Once you have completed a task analysis, you can easily mail, email, or even text it to adults who can use it to work with students at home.

Stay healthy, everyone!

Andrew HawkAndrew Hawk has worked in public education for 18 years. He started as a teaching assistant in a special education classroom. He completed his bachelor’s degree in elementary education at Indiana University East in Richmond, Indiana. Andrew has taught first, second, and fifth grades as a classroom teacher. In 2011, he earned his master’s degree in special education from Western Governor’s University. Andrew has worked as a resource room teacher and also has taught in a self-contained classroom for students on the autism spectrum. In 2017, he earned a master’s degree in educational leadership, also from Western Governor’s University. This is Andrew’s first year as a building principal. He is the principal of an elementary school that houses kindergarten through fifth grades. When Andrew is not preparing for school, he enjoys spending time with this wife and two daughters.


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FSP Springybook Signature(c)© 2021 by Free Spirit Publishing. All rights reserved. The views expressed in this post represent the opinion of the author and not necessarily Free Spirit Publishing.

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Make Physical Distancing Fun with This SEL and Movement Activity

By Connie Bergstein Dow, author of From A to Z with Energy! 26 Ways to Move and Play

On Your Spot is a multi-layered activity for children ages three to eight. It is especially pertinent now that many children are returning to in-person classes. On Your Spot teaches and reinforces the social-emotional skills of spatial awareness (specifically understanding of personal versus shared space); body awareness; listening to and following instructions; problem solving; and impulse control. Children will also use their creativity in responding to movement prompts, and perform a wide variety of age-appropriate large and small motor skills. The activity takes 20 to 30 minutes.

Make Physical Distancing Fun with This SEL and Movement Activity

Preparation

1. Mark spots on the floor 6 feet apart, with one spot for each child participating in the activity. You can do this with small mats, carpet squares, or masking-tape X’s.

2. Select upbeat music to accompany the activity—perhaps a class favorite.

3. Clearly explain the activity and boundaries: This is an activity that you will do while staying on your spot. You will imagine you are in a bubble of space that surrounds your spot. The size of your bubble is where you can reach all around you with your hands and feet while standing on your spot. We will see how many different movements we can do without leaving our spots! Listen and watch carefully as I give you movement ideas to try.

Begin the Activity

Share the following instructions with children:

Standing

1. Start out by standing tall on your spot. Using your arms and legs, stretch your body in all directions to explore the boundaries of your imaginary bubble of space while not moving away from your spot.

2. Move your head, your shoulders, your arms, your torso, your legs. How many ways can you move your body while staying in your spot?

3. Bend your knees and straighten them. Try it five more times.

4. Bend your knees and go up onto your tiptoes. Do that five more times.

5. Turn around your body all the way around. Now turn it around going the other direction. Do it slowly. Now try it faster.

6. Go up on your tiptoes again—can you balance? Can you balance with your arms reaching up high?

7. Stand on one leg and balance as long as you can. Then try it on the other leg.

8. Take ten full counts or beats to go to a sitting position on your spot. Now take five counts to stand up. Now go down in three counts, up in two counts, and down in one count!

Sitting on the Floor

1. Spin on your seat. Then spin the other way. Try it again spinning as fast as you can.

2. Bend and straighten one leg on the floor a few times. Then lift your leg up off the floor and try bending and straightening it in the air. Do the same with the other leg.

3. Try bending and straightening both legs while they’re on the floor. Then try it again while lifting your legs off the floor.

4. Move your legs in all directions.

5. Stretch or lean your upper body to the left. Now bring the your right arm overhead and gently stretch in that position for a few seconds. Do the same on the other side. Then repeat the stretch once more on each side.

6. Stretch your arms in all directions.

7. Clap your hands or arms in front of you, and then behind you. Do that four more times.

8. Clap your hands over your head, then tap them on the floor. Repeat several times.

Lying Down

1. Lie down on your back on your spot. Lift your arms in the air. Circle your wrists. Wiggle your fingers.

2. Lift your legs in the air. Circle your ankles. Wiggle your toes.

3. Now do the same thing with your legs and your arms in the air.

4. Imagine you are a bug stuck on your back. Wiggle!

5. Roll over onto your stomach, still staying centered on your spot. Try lifting your head, neck, shoulders, and chest, supporting yourself with your hands if you need to. Lower yourself back down, and repeat several times.

6. Bring yourself into a crouched position, on your feet, with your hands touching the floor and your head down.

7. Imagine you are a little kernel of popcorn. Let’s count together backwards from ten to one. Stay in that crouched position until we get to “one.” Then pop up and jump on your spot!

8. Turn around as you jump. Jump and turn around the other way.

Standing Again

1. Hop on one foot, then the other. Try hopping and turning at the same time.

2. Make a twisty shape with your body. Now make another one. Make one more. Now go from one twisty shape to the other: First twisty shape! Second twisty shape! Third twisty shape! Freeze! Do this a few more times, setting a faster pace each time.

3. Dance freely without leaving your spot. You can use the movements we have already done, and also see if you can find even more ways of moving on your spot! I will play some music while you dance.

Finish the Activity

Bring the activity to a quiet ending. Here are some examples:

Stand on your spot. Imagine you are a snowman. Make a snowman shape with your body. What will happen when the sun comes out? Show what happens by moving your body.

Either stand, sit, or lie down on your spot. Close your eyes and listen to your heartbeat.

Sit on your spot. Imagine you are outdoors on a cool evening and you have built a campfire. Feel the warmth from the fire. Lie back and look at the stars, Listen to the sounds of the night.

Connie BergsteinConnie Bergstein Dow took her first dance class when she was four years old and has been dancing ever since. After attending Denison University and earning an MFA from the University of Michigan, she danced professionally in the United States, Venezuela, and Guatemala. Connie has had a long career as a dance educator and has written two books for teachers about integrating movement into the early childhood classroom, articles for magazines and journals, and verses for Highlights. She shares her passion for dance by writing, teaching, volunteering, visiting schools and libraries, and offering movement workshops to early childhood professionals. Visit Connie at www.movingislearning.com.

From A to Z with EnergyConnie is the author of From A to Z with Energy! 26 Ways to Move and Play


We welcome your comments and suggestions. Share your comments, stories, and ideas below, or contact us. All comments will be approved before posting, and are subject to our comment and privacy policies.


FSP Springybook Signature(c)© 2021 by Free Spirit Publishing. All rights reserved. The view expressed in this post represent the opinion of the author and not necessarily Free Spirit Publishing.

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How Educators Can Use Social Media for Good

By Stephanie Filio, M.Ed., author of Responding to Student Trauma: A Toolkit for Schools in Times of Crisis

How Educators Can Use Social Media for GoodSocial media has taken on a Shakespearian role in our lives in which we love it and we hate it simultaneously. Sometimes social media gives me life, especially this past year in which I’ve had to redefine what it is to connect to others. And yet, there have also been times, in this emotionally charged period of history, where social media has felt like the bane of my existence. With so many people converging in one (virtual) place during the most stressful period of many people’s lives, it is bound to not be pretty.

As the year 2020 progressed, and I grappled with concepts of life that I had never had to think about on such a large scale, I found that I began to recognize solace in feeling small. Staying home watering my plants tentatively and not being around hundreds of people every day was difficult at first. Eventually, I found a sensation similar to sitting on a beach and staring at a wide-open ocean. In a strange way, social media brought about some of that.

Balancing Connection

Online, I met people that lived in different districts, states, or even countries, experiencing the same struggles as me. They were also trying to connect with students and attempting to understand how to redefine their roles in education. I felt understood, I felt small, and I felt less alone. Did you feel it too? For all the times that social media played with my emotions, I was surprised to find a therapeutic diamond in the rough.

The seemingly impossible dream is learning how to be in control of how we interact with social media . . . instead of letting it control us. The magical part about meeting other people within the education field is that they get it. They truly get it. It’s hard to understand what it feels like to stand in the middle of the hallway with all of the sounds, the questions, the tears, the laughter, and the movement, unless you’ve actually been there. On social media, I get to meet other people who live further away but also know exactly what it’s like to stand in my shoes in my sacred hallway. And yet, I also have met people right in my backyard who think what we do is trivial.

Social media has undoubtedly given us the ability to continue communicating with and being inspired by each other during a dark time. But of course, there can also be some pitfalls to our technological communications. The vocal debate about whether schools need to be opened or closed and whether or not it is safe for teachers is draining. Everybody has so many opinions online, and those opinions can become so very toxic so very quickly when they are typed into a computer and sent out into wide space.

For a period, comments on social media made me feel disheartened. I would become impassioned about things that weren’t even of value to me or that didn’t really impact my career or relationships in a meaningful way. At the same time, these things would seep in and make me feel triggered. I would feel emotionally destitute at times, reading how people devalued educators with flippant comments about whether teachers have the right to even ask questions about their safety (especially when my friends and coworkers were experiencing some very difficult times with COVID-19).

How do you find the balance of enjoying social media while also remaining restrained from its power? It is easy to say we should simply limit time online, especially this year while some of us are still working from home and others are in taxed schools. At the end of the day, we all just would like to be home watching bad reality TV while scrolling through mindless social media feeds to distract us . . . or maybe that is just me?

Different Flavors for Different Purposes

The first step to finding your social media zen is to simply decide what you want to use it for. I use different social media platforms for different needs. Each platform can provide a different type of escape and defining what needs each one meets can help you decide where to log on.

LinkedIn

My LinkedIn is strictly professional. Other educators and people in diverse industries share their powerful work strategies and focus on productivity. There is so much super inspiring work that is being posted on LinkedIn, so when I need to reconnect with my profession, while also disengaging from the controversy, I love this buttoned up connection.

Bonus: You might also be able to expand your network and find some side-work to help fuel your office-supply habit!

Twitter

Twitter is super fun for me. I love Twitter chats (using a hashtag and Q and A system) and threads because this platform is kind of like the pep squad of all other platforms. Here, people are posting the cool stuff they do all day, and the creative ways they operate their school. My Twitter is half personal and half professional. I post some interesting aspects of my home-life that connect with my profession, and love to send a quick tweet about cool things going on in my hallway or school. Twitter also has a cap on words, which, for someone like me, helps with focus and a concise message.

Bonus: I have heard that in many districts, senior leadership learns about the awesome campaigns and projects in schools from Twitter feeds! Connect and show off your spirit!

Facebook

Facebook is like conversations around your kitchen table. Mine is pretty personal, and my connections on Facebook are largely made up of people I have connected with in person at some point. My coworkers are on there, but I am getting to learn more about their home lives rather than just their amazing classroom lessons.

Bonus: Facebook adds a humanizing quality to add to rapport building in hallways and staff meetings.

Instagram and Pinterest

I love a good creative outlet such as Instagram or Pinterest to inspire weekend crafty sessions while I unwind. These are places I go to look for ideas for work or home projects. And I always find visually pleasing cool-down images and connect with others who also enjoy writing engaging lessons, making captivating student posters, or learning meditative crafts to stay sane.

Bonus: There are so many freebies on the web, from patterns to Google templates to worksheets!

TikTok

Who would have ever thought we would be teaching algebra over TikTok?! There are many social media fads that young people are on that have allowed us to connect with our students and learn more about their lives. Exploring them will helps me learn about what is important and popular these days.

Bonus: Find out what your students like on TikTok by searching for widely viewed videos to embed into your class content to get them hooked!

What’s the Big Deal?

What draws educators to social media is that, at the end of the day, we are public relations experts and marketing moguls. First, to be truthful, we have to uphold a certain image that we give to our taxpayers (our funders) and make the controlled chaos seem easy. But more importantly, also we have to know the ins and outs of successful marketing in order to truly reach our students. Engagement and collaboration with students and the community alike happens when our “clients” feel connected.

Social media can provide us with a vessel to collaborate with other educators, develop relationships with our coworkers, gain inspiration, and connect with our students. When old Mrs. Filio the hippy school counselor pulls out some social media tagline, I open a window for students to feel seen (even if it is through their laughter at me).

The best gift you can give yourself with social media is to not go down the rabbit hole of the negativity where social media becomes part of our reality. Online, there are more perspectives presented than our hearts and minds can process and rationalize at once. Find what it is that you want social media to do for you and make the choice to use a critical eye. Maybe that is signing off, or maybe it is searching for new connections, trying a new platform, or using a new hashtag. Fill your feed with things you enjoy, and Marie Kondo those parts that don’t bring you joy right off of your phone or tablet!

 

Stephanie Filio, author of Responding to Student TraumaStephanie Filio is a middle school counselor in Virginia Beach. She received her undergraduate degree in interdisciplinary studies from the University of Virginia and her M.Ed. in counseling from Old Dominion University. In a discussion with one of her UVA professors about her desire to stay in school forever, her mentor wisely responded, “If you want to be a lifelong learner, go into education,” and so she found her place. Prior to her six years as a school counselor, Stephanie worked in private education, specializing in standardized tests, test preparation, and future planning. She writes about her career and hobbies at her blog, Weekend Therapy, and can be found on Twitter @steffschoolcoun. Stephanie also enjoys spending time with her books, crafts, and family.

Responding to Student TraumaStephanie is the author of Responding to Student Trauma: A Toolkit for Schools in Times of Crisis.


We welcome your comments and suggestions. Share your comments, stories, and ideas below, or contact us. All comments will be approved before posting, and are subject to our comment and privacy policies.


FSP Springybook Signature(c)© 2021 by Free Spirit Publishing. All rights reserved. The views expressed in this post represent the opinion of the author and not necessarily Free Spirit Publishing.

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How Kids Can Cope with Frustration and Disappointment During the Pandemic

By Allison Amy Wedell

How Kids Can Cope with Frustration and Disappointment During the PandemicI think it’s safe to say that two of the dominant pandemic-induced emotions we’re experiencing are frustration and disappointment. There are so many things we can’t control, so many things we’re missing. I feel frustrated that I can’t protect my mom, who is more vulnerable to this virus than most, and that many of my closest friends have lost their livelihoods to the pandemic. I feel disappointed that I can’t hug many of the people I love and that we’ve had to cancel exciting trips and events.

Both frustration and disappointment stem from a lack of control. So if I’m feeling those emotions, I can bet that my daughter is feeling them that much more keenly. In Step Back from Frustration, author Gill Hasson describes frustration in several ways. The one that resonates most with me is that frustration feels like you can see where you want to go, but you just can’t quite get there. I can’t think of a better description for distance learning. My daughter’s teachers are doing their best, and she is absolutely learning. But she wants so desperately to be with her friends—she can see them on her screen during class—and is so frustrated that she can’t.

Hasson’s Get Unstuck from Disappointment contains similar themes. Disappointment feels like being sad, let down, or even angry—that things are not fair. Sound familiar? There is absolutely nothing fair about this pandemic, about having to worry about older relatives, about missing plays and concerts.

To get off the “hamster wheel” of frustration that Hasson describes, my daughter and I have unwittingly used a lot of the same tactics listed in the book. We use deep breathing to calm down, and I send her out to the backyard to blow off steam. Hasson suggests a good cry too, and that’s a strategy my daughter and I both employ. I’ve always made a point of letting my daughter see me cry, because I want her to understand that crying is a healthy, normal way for people to express their feelings.

Where disappointment is concerned, Hasson suggests (among other tactics) thinking about positive things, having a “Plan B,” and focusing on what you have. Despite the cold winter where we live, I do manage to set up the occasional outdoor, masked, socially distanced hangout for my daughter and her best friend. It’s not a sleepover with movies and shared popcorn, but our Plan B is still fun. And focusing on what we have can be a joy-inducing exercise. We feel lucky to have technological platforms that allow us not only to see our faraway family, but play games and watch movies with them too. It helps us manage our disappointment at not being able to do those things in person.

I think the most compelling frustration management tactic in Hasson’s book is letting it go. “When you can’t change the situation, try to let go.” Oof. It’s easier said than done, of course, but there’s something to be said for refusing to waste energy on a situation you can’t change. My daughter and I talk often about the things we can do—wearing masks, limiting outings, washing our hands—and try to focus less on the things we can’t do—going back to school and hugging our friends.

I’m grateful to be able to acknowledge the feelings this pandemic induces. The emotion management tactics I’m learning help me help my daughter cope, yes—but they help me too. And in a pandemic, that is no small thing.

Step Back from Frustration and Get Unstuck from Disappointment are part of the Kids Can Cope series from Free Spirit Publishing. These inviting picture books offer kids a wide range of practical strategies they can use to cope with difficult feelings and situations, such as anger, worry, teasing, and jealousy. With gentle humor, charming illustrations, and kid-friendly advice—plus additional information for children and adults at the back of each book—the Kids Can Cope series gives kids the tools they need to face challenges.

Allison Amy WedellAllison Amy Wedell is a writer, editor, and mom whose diverse work focuses on sexual abuse prevention, bullying prevention, social and emotional learning, public safety, and theater/acting. She is the author of Shaking Hands with Shakespeare: A Teenager’s Guide to Reading and Performing the Bard (Simon & Schuster, 2004), and her work has been featured here and at babycenter.com, MomsRising.org, and Committee for Children. You can find her on LinkedIn.


We welcome your comments and suggestions. Share your comments, stories, and ideas below, or contact us. All comments will be approved before posting, and are subject to our comment and privacy policies.


FSP Springybook Signature(c)© 2021 by Free Spirit Publishing. All rights reserved. The view expressed in this post represent the opinion of the author and not necessarily Free Spirit Publishing.

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7 Ways to Foster Kindness in Your Virtual or Hybrid Classroom During the Pandemic

By Naomi Drew, M.A., author of Create a Culture of Kindness in Elementary School

7 Ways to Foster Kindness in Your Virtual or Hybrid Classroom During the PandemicAs teachers, we are charged with one of the most important tasks of all: shaping the futures of young people. It’s more important than ever to make our classrooms places of respect, decency, hope, and possibility. All of this begins with kindness.

Integrating the teaching of kindness into our daily plans can be pretty simple. In fact, the process of fostering kindness can inspire and lift us up.

Begin by emphasizing that our words and actions create ripples touching the lives of everyone we know: family, friends, schoolmates, and more. Words of kindness generate more kindness. Hurtful words generate more hurt. In a single moment, we can brighten someone’s day or darken it. We get to choose.

One of our most famous peacemakers, Mohandas Gandhi, also known as Mahatma, once said, “If we are to reach real peace in the world . . . we shall have to begin with children.” The kids we teach today will grow up to be the adults of this world. If we foster compassion, kindness, and respect, hopefully our kids will bring these qualities with them as they go out into the world.

Kindness not only benefits our culture, it also benefits us personally. A 2019 study published in the Journal of Social Psychology cites a direct correlation between kind acts and increased happiness. With each act of kindness we perform, the happier we become. The same goes for kindness to ourselves and kind acts we observe. Every act of kindness counts.

Acts of kindness change the brain. According to the Mayo Clinic, “Being kind boosts serotonin and dopamine, which are neurotransmitters in the brain that give you feelings of satisfaction and well-being.” Endorphins, our body’s natural painkillers, are also released through acts of kindness. How wonderful to know that something as simple as kindness has so many benefits!

We can foster kindness in our kids by showing how much we value it ourselves. Don’t wait! Get started now.

Here are seven simple ways you can integrate kindness into your teaching.

1. Start Every Day with a Message of Hope and Kindness

Tell your kids how happy you are to see them. Let them know that their presence makes a positive difference in your life. Tell them that our world is a better place because they are in it.

2. Model, Teach, and Expect Kindness

Share these guidelines with your kids and use them yourself:

  • Use put-ups rather than put-downs.
  • Choose kindness over meanness every minute, every day.
  • Show kindness through words, actions, gestures, and intentions.
  • Remember that it’s cooler to be kind.

These guidelines apply to how we treat ourselves too. Kindness to others starts with kindness to ourselves. Get that critical voice out of your head! Replace it with a voice that’s reassuring, kind, and accepting.

3. Teach Your Kids to Be Kindness Detectives

Be on the lookout for kindness and compliment your kids for kind acts. Together, brainstorm acts of kindness they can look for: helpfulness, good listening, willingness to share, words of affirmation. What else? Encourage your kids to not only notice these things, but to offer compliments accordingly.

4. Brainstorm Kindness Role Models

Kindness role models can be people we know or people we’ve learned about through films, books, or the internet. How did each person demonstrate kindness? How can we follow their example? Talk about it, write about it, lock it in your brain.

5. Give Kindness Homework

Write a short note or text thanking someone for a kind act.

Do an anonymous act of kindness for someone. Afterward, write a paragraph describing what you did, how it felt, and any reaction you observed from the recipient.

Write about a story character who shows kindness, generosity, empathy, or inclusiveness. What can you do to be like them?

Set a kindness goal for yourself. How can you be more kind in the next twenty-four hours? Write it down. At the end of twenty-four hours, write about how it made you feel.

6. Teach Your Students That Listening Respectfully Is an Important Act of Kindness

Feeling truly heard is a rare gift. Poet John Fox expresses this beautifully: “When someone deeply listens to you it is like holding out a dented cup you’ve had since childhood and watching it fill up with cold, fresh water.” We can do this for each other by following these guidelines:

  • Look directly at the speaker.
  • Focus on what the other person is saying rather than what you want to say next.
  • Resist the urge to interrupt. Take a deep breath when you want to jump in.
  • Reflect back what the other person says. For example, say, “Sounds like you really enjoyed _______. I’d like to hear more about ________.”

Give your kids a copy of these guidelines and have them practice good listening with someone at home. Remind your kids that listening intently makes people feel valued, and what could be kinder than that?

7. Share Kindness Memories

Have your kids write about a special memory of kindness—kind words or actions they received or offered to someone else. Have your kids create new kindness memories for people in their lives.

Encourage your kids to keep kindness going day after day, year after year. Remind them that they will one day be the adults of this world. What they learn now will shape the people they become.

As the United States’ first National Youth Poet Laureate, Amanda Gorman, said in her inspiring poem “The Hill We Climb,” “For there is always light, if only we’re brave enough to see it. If only we’re brave enough to be it.” Each time we are kind, we are the light, and we spread it. What a special privilege it is to bring the light of kindness into our classrooms.

Bonus! Download a kindness activity called “Coach Poggi’s Golden Rule.”

Author Naomi DrewNaomi Drew, M.A., is the award-winning author of eight books. She is recognized around the world for her work in conflict resolution, peacemaking, and anti-bullying. Her work has been instrumental in introducing the skills of peacemaking into public education and has been recognized by educational leaders throughout the world. Naomi has served as a consultant to school districts, parent groups, and civic organizations and headed up the New Jersey State Bar Foundation’s Conflict Resolution Advisory Panel for nine years, training K–12 trainers to develop more harmonious schools. She lives in New Jersey.

Free Spirit books by Naomi Drew:

Create a Culture of Kindness in Elementary School Create a Culture of Kindness in Middle School


We welcome your comments and suggestions. Share your comments, stories, and ideas below, or contact us. All comments will be approved before posting, and are subject to our comment and privacy policies.


FSP Springybook Signature(c)© 2021 by Free Spirit Publishing. All rights reserved. The views expressed in this post represent the opinion of the author and not necessarily Free Spirit Publishing.

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