This year has been rough, but we are seeing a light at the end of the tunnel as the world begins to open up and spring begins to emerge. Schools around the country are beginning to reunite in person-if they haven’t already. After an isolating year, there is even greater need for us to reconnect this spring and teaching students ways to connect with kindness can help foster community- something much needed these days. Here are 9 ideas for the classroom, we hope you find helpful.
1. Start a Community Garden
Is there an empty patch of dirt someplace on campus? Perhaps getting out into the dirt for the next science lesson can help elevate mood and support the classroom and helps students show kindness to their community and to the earth. Planting seeds can feel so magical for students, and seeing the plants flourish by summer can be a huge boost to morale.
2. Do a Class Art Project
Making art together can be a great way to celebrate the school community and show kindness. Perhaps students can write or draw a picture about “what I love about my school” and then hang them in an area of the school that needs a little love. Even visitors, or staff that see the art may feel more connected and proud to be part of the community at large.
3. Kindness Brainstorming
Encouraging students to brainstorm together how they like to show kindness and how they like to receive kindness can be a great exercise to explore the subject of kindness deeper. Not everyone shows kindness in the same ways, thus it’s hard to recognize it when we see it. Try asking students “What are some ways you show kindness to others?” and also, “What are ways you like people to show kindness to you?” These can be full-class discussions or journal prompts or both!
4. Write Thank You Letters
The art of the thank-you letter may be a fading one… but it doesn’t have to be. Show students how to make a thank-you card- from the folding to the writing… this is an easy one to turn into a literacy, fine motor or art project too. Everyone has something they can be thankful for and likely someone that needs to hear a thank you!
5. Play the “What Could You Do” Game
Helping students take perspectives and even role play can be a great way to boost skills related to empathy. Try discussing together different scenarios and what a person could do to help. For instance, “What would happen if you saw a classmate sitting alone at recess, crying...what do you think they are feeling… and what could you do?” or “What would happen if you accidentally stepped on someone’s foot, and they yelped out… what do you think they are feeling, and what could you do?” Feel free to think of examples of regular classroom situations that the class could discuss together.
6. Hang a Motivational Tear-Off
You’ve seen tear-off posters for selling items… but have you tried motivational poster tear-offs? We’ve actually created one here if you want to check it out, or you can make your own. If you have a great place in your community to share info, try hanging one of these. Lifting other’s spirits can help lift our own too.
7. Play Kindness Detectives
Ask your students to be great detectives and find and identify things that are kind. Give examples of things students may find and report back. They can look for things at home or in school and the report back. Feel free to pass out notepads, or pretend magnifying glasses to keep up the ruse.
8. Host a Community Car Wash
This one takes a bit more planning-but what great community organizing skills to help students build. Perhaps a parent volunteer could participate in organizing a COVID-safe fundraiser to raise money for local community members. Students may really enjoy giving back to the community in this way.
9. Slumberkins Free Resources
Have you checked out Bigfoot’s free resources yet? Click here to download your own free copies for class. Bigfoots affirmation is I am kind, I am strong, I am brave and unique, the world is better because I’m here, and I like me.” Showing kindness to oneself is just as important as showing kindness to others.
We hope you enjoy some of these ideas. We’d love to hear which ones you plan to try. Do you have any fun ideas of your own this Spring?