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.