Tuesday, February 4, 2020

Random Acts of Kindness in the Classroom

I want my students to learn kindness and empathy towards others over anything else. Random Acts of Kindness Day is celebrated on February 17th each year, and many schools also have events and service projects the same week. While I focus on character education the entire school year, and we have a service project in the fall this is another opportunity to emphasize, especially after students celebrate Valentine's day where cards and candy are the focus rather than how we can show real love and care for each other.

Random Acts of Kindness

Other days where acts of community service and kindness are encouraged are on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Cesar Chavez Day, and World Kindness Day celebrated on Nov. 13th. Some families even do Random Acts of Kindness as part of their Christmas countdown. 

First I print out and display quotes about kindness on the hearts I made. We discuss a quote a day as part of our morning meetings.

Then I share a video on kindness that I've saved to my public YouTube Kindness Counts Playlist that you can also use with your students. I also reccomend using YT Kids to avoid ads or videos that autoplay and aren't kid-friendly.

I also read these awesome books as read alouds. In Be Kind Tanisha learns how to make her classmate feel better and she also explores what it means to be kind. In Jake the Growling Dog, you meet a dog who has trouble making other animal friends due to his unique growl.  It's both a lesson in character education, mindfulness, and how we all can be more loving and kind to others with differences. (Note: Clicking on pics or links goes through my affiliate links on Amazon with no extra charge to you.) 


Then I have students write kind words on each person's heart shown below.

 Kindness Counts

I also share with students the list of ideas below, and they write their own ideas they commit to doing this week on small hearts I print for them on colored card stock to write on and cut out. Then I display them on the outside of my classroom door.


32 Random Acts of Kindness for Kids

32 Random Act of Kindness Ideas for Kids

  1. Compliment a friend. You can say you like something they are wearing or their hairstyle or how they are good at math. You could also thank them for being a good friend, or even helping you in class. 
  2. Pick up litter or trash in your classroom, cafeteria, or schoolyard that is on the ground.
  3. Write or tell your teacher thanks for helping you learn something.
  4. Thank the school librarian for helping you choose books.
  5. Thank the janitors for keeping your classroom and campus clean.
  6. Thank the school principal(s) for leading your school.
  7. Thank the yard supervisors for keeping you safe.
  8. Thank the school nurse and/ or secretaries for taking care of you when you get hurt.
  9. Thank a classroom aid or teacher assistant for helping in your class.
10. Thank other specialists or support staff like SPED teachers, speech therapists, etc.
11. Offer to help a classmate with something they are struggling to do or learn.
12. Offer to help your teacher organize and clean up the classroom library.
13. Volunteer to help your teacher pass out supplies.
14. Invite a student who is alone on the playground to join in a game.
15. Notice if there is a classmate who seems sad or grumpy. Ask them what you can do to cheer them up.
16. Don’t be a bystander. Stand up for others being bullied and let an adult know.
19. Compliment your teacher. Tell them what you appreciate. Make a card.
20. Ask your teacher if there is something you can help them with.
21. Visit your last year’s teacher and thank them for all they taught you.
22. Help a younger student with their reading. (Partner with another class)
23. Think of ways that students can help beautify your campus. Planting a garden, and even painting stepping stones can make for a fun project. 

This is also available as a printable checklist in my resource Kindness Counts along with this poster you can display in your school hallways.

 Kindness Counts

Kindness in Your Community and Service Projects        

23. Give to the needy
24. Help your family members with chores. 
25. Recycle and/or participate in community clean-up events
26. Visit the seniors in rest homes and make them cards or drawings.
27. Write letters to servicemen and women thanking them for their bravery and sacrifice for our country. This website accepts letters and has directions: https://www.operationgratitude.com/writeletters

28.  Organize a canned/ dry food drive for the holidays or any other time of the year. Each class gets a box to fill. Use Google to find the nearest donation center or makes baskets for needy families in the school community.

29. Organize a sock drive for Socktober (happens in October) check: https://happysocktober.com Also use Google to look for organizations or churches in your area that accept donations for the homeless.

31. Look for community cleanups that students can get involved in. (A non-profit near me sponsors a beach cleanup day and field trip for students, providing buses, gloves, and trash bags).

32. Fundraise by donating to a favorite charity. 

An easy low-cost way is to have a penny war. Each classroom gets a jar. Pennies count as positive points while all other coins and bills are subtracted from the total as negative points. Competitors from other classrooms can deliver silver coins and bills to other classrooms to lower their penny points. Post graphs charting progress in hallways. The class with the most pennies wins a prize like a popsicle party. 

I was able to raise over 3,500 dollars for Hurricane Katrina this way years ago. 

Also Heifer International has great classroom lessons and projects where students can help gift a farm animal to provide a sustainable source of food or income for needy families abroad. For more information check out: https://www.heifer.org/resources/school/index.html

Kindness Counts

Finally, I created a resource called Kindness Count to teach my students more about kindness. Inside are colorful hearts with kindness quotes that you can display in your classroom. There is also a kindness pennant banner, and hearts for students to write their own acts of kindness on. 

Below are awesome I was caught being good coins I found on Amazon that you can use these as a behavior incentive in your classroom and then kids can use them towards no-cost prizes like earning additional privileges in the classroom, such as getting to sit at a VIP desk or extra computer time. I have found that changing up my classroom management system a little when I come back in January helps my kiddos to continue to stay motivated and do well.

I hope you enjoyed this blog post and that it gave you helpful tips and resource you can use in your classroom.

Monday, January 20, 2020

100th Day of School Activities for Upper Elementary

Share some activities I use to celebrate the 100th day of school with upper elementary students. Often you see counting activities geared towards primary grades but you can do so much more. Dress up is always a fun idea for both students and teachers. Cue Golden Girls and this cute kiddo below for costume inspiration.

 !00th day of school ideas

One of the activities I like to do is read a book about what it was like to live 100 years ago. This book takes place in the 1900s in New York city so you have some context. I included some sample pages so you can see the table of contents as well. (If you are interested in getting the book you can click on any of the book images below and it will take you to Amazon via my affiliate link.)  I have students compare using a Venn diagram how it was then vs. now.

100th day of school ideas

100th day of school ideas

100th day of school ideas

Then I take my students picture with my 100 days smarter letter board and the Aging Booth App using my iPhone. Click here for the Android app. (I am pictured using the app below.) After I take the pictures I go online to print them using the google photo app that backs up all my pictures automatically on my phone. Students can include the pictures with their writing or in their end of year class memory books we create.

100th day of school ideas

100th day of school ideas

Another fun idea is to have students brainstorm and name as many activities or things you have learned as a class so far. I use chart paper to list their ideas. A funny addition is to have them share things you always say, and you can add those to the list as well.

100th day of school meme

This is a treat bag I also love to make for my students. I'm always looking for a chance to celebrate and have fun in my class. Plus, I look forward to treats just as much as my students do.

100th day of school ideas

Finally, for a writing activity I have students write about how they think they will be when they are 100 years old. The results can be comical. Check out this hilarious meme about this writing prompt making it's way around the Internet. I totally want to be this kid when I'm 100 years old as well.

100th day of school ideas

The writing paper I use, the Venn diagram mentioned earlier, and the cookie topper template are a also part of a free printable download I made for my email subscribers. Access my free resource library by subscribing to my newsletter at the top of this page or wherever you see a pop up and you will receive the link to it by email.

100th day of school ideas

I hope you have a lot of fun using these ideas with your students! 

Tuesday, August 6, 2019

Top Back to School Resources and a Sale 2019

It's that time of year again when you get the back to school jitters and you worry about all you have to accomplish. My hope is that some of these resources might be helpful to you.  

All of my classroom products at TpT are 20% off Aug 6-7 this Tuesday and Wednesday. If you use the promo code BTS19 at checkout, you'll get an additional 5% off.

This would be a great time to check out some of my top teaching resources for the beginning of the year at an awesome discount or even the ones I offer for free via the link before. Many are already part of discounted bundles so watch for that in case you want to save even more. Here are a few of my favorite suggestions:

Just click any pics to be taken to these resources. 

This a bundle that includes so much to help you start off your first week of school with success. From the first day of school/ get to know you activities including a bilingual English and Spanish survey to classroom decor that serves a purpose.

 Back to School Resource

Speaking of classroom decor, I love having these motivating quote posters up in my room for my students and they also make for great Monday morning meeting discussions while teaching positive character traits. 

 Classroom Inspirational Quotes

At my school, we use reading and writing workshop for literacy but as many of you know the phonemic awareness portion is lacking, so when I see that a student is not reading at grade level I assess them as soon as I can using the resource below. 

Phonemic Awareness and Decoding Inventory

This helps me fill in their phonemic awareness and decoding gaps as quickly as possible in small-group targeted lessons based on their needs before we tackle guided reading books. I have seen students quickly grow their reading levels by three or more in one trimester by starting here. 

I also have phonics posters and games that I use to fill in their gaps in the associated bundle in case you are interested in those items too. Please see my previous blog for more info about these resources!

Don't forget to follow my store and have notifications turned on to receive updates about any new resources at 50% off and information about free updates to any resources you already own so that you can download them again.

Remember the sale ends at 11:59 EST and don't forget the code BTS19 at check out.

I hope you have a great start to your school year and I wish you and your students lots of progress and growth!