By Shannon Anderson, author of Penelope Perfect: A Tale of Perfectionism Gone Wild
Kindness is an essential character trait we want all our students to embody in the classroom and the world around them. How can we encourage kindness? This year, Random Acts of Kindness Week is February 16–23. Here are a dozen ideas for spreading smiles at your school.
1. High Fives and Hellos
Kick off Random Acts of Kindness Week with friendly door greeters. Have students stationed at each entrance to your school to give friendly high fives, hellos, and good mornings as kids enter the building.
2. Classrooms Care About Other Classrooms
Have each class do a random act of kindness for another classroom. You can do this by putting all the teachers’ names in a hat and matching them up. One classroom could make cards for another classroom, decorate their lockers, provide a treat, or perform some other kind gesture.
3. Caring Cards
Have kids write letters or make cards for those serving in the military, care center residents, patients at a children’s hospital, or other people needing encouragement.
4. Kindness Displays
Create Kindness bulletin boards and displays with encouraging words or ideas for inspiring kindness. You could also do locker decorations with a kindness pledge on them.
5. Support a Cause
6. Kindness Club
Start a Kindness Club at your school. This club can initiate kindness projects for the whole year. They can host coat drives, collect animal shelter donations, and collect canned foods for local food pantries. They can also help organize service projects such as leaf-rakings and community cleanups, or they can help at school events.
7. Kindness in the Arts
Students can use the arts to communicate kindness. Kids can write poetry, paint kindness murals, perform songs, or write and perform kindness skits to share. If weather allows, you can have kids write kind messages with sidewalk chalk on the sidewalks around the school.
8. Kindness Envelopes
One way you can promote kindness among the members of your classroom is to choose one student per day to have the whole class write about. (This student can decorate an envelope that all the notes will go into while classmates are writing.)
After the class has had a chance to write about every student, you can pass out the envelopes and have students all open their envelopes at the same time to read the thoughts their classmates shared. (You could time the reveal to occur on Random Acts of Kindness Day or in the fall on World Kindness Day.)
9. Secret Missions
Students can create cards of appreciation for various staff members and deliver them secretly. Kids can write kind messages to other students and slide them in their locker vents, or make bookmarks with kindness quotes that can be hidden in library books throughout your media center. These secret missions deliver smiles when found, every time!
10. Have a Jolly Time at Lunch
Pass out Jolly Ranchers as kids head to the cafeteria. Place cards labeled with the various flavors on each table. Students have to sit by someone with their same flavor. This way, kids are mixed up and sitting by students they may not normally sit with. On the backs of the cards on the table, have fun conversation starters, questions, and jokes. Allow students to take turns reading them while others respond.
11. Do a Deed Diary
For Random Acts of Kindness Week, you can record a kind deed by each student in your class for each day of the week. Make a “Deed Diary” for recording each name and act. If you really want a challenge, you could have a Deed Diary for the whole school year!
12. Have a Ball Being Kind!
This activity raises awareness of kids being kind. Get 100 superballs or marbles and a fishbowl or clear jar. Each time a student is caught being kind, that student gets to add a ball to the bowl. Examples could include holding the door for someone, pushing someone’s chair in, giving a compliment, helping someone pick up spilled crayons, and so on. Once your class has achieved 100 acts of kindness, you can celebrate by treating them with an act of kindness of your own. Maybe an extra recess, lunch in the room, or a tasty treat!
As you can see, there are so many ways kids can spread kindness. No one is too small to perform an act of kindness, and no act of kindness is too small.
Shannon Anderson has her master’s degree in education and is currently a third-grade teacher, high ability coordinator, and presenter, and a former first-grade teacher, adjunct professor, and literacy coach. She loves spending time with her family, playing with words, teaching kids and adults, running very early in the morning, traveling to new places, and eating ice cream. She also enjoys doing author visits and events. Shannon lives in Indiana with her husband, Matt, and their daughters, Emily and Madison.
Free Spirit books by Shannon:
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