Welcome to the Social Skills Ideas Bank!
The Social Skills Idea Bank is a series of related posts, each dedicated to sharing strategies for teaching a particular social skill.
As teachers, our strength lies in sharing our ideas, experiences and strategies!
This is a growing list, and you are invited to contribute in the comments section. We hope you will, because there’s nothing like a good idea shared between teachers to make our jobs easier.
This post is about simple ways to teach about kindness in the classroom, and why it’s so important.
Let’s get started!
Here are some specific ideas I have implemented in my own classroom to improve my classroom environment and create a kind, peaceful atmosphere:
READ STORIES TO PROMOTE KINDNESS
We love Ordinary Mary’s Extraordinary Deed by Emily Pearson. It’s about a little girl’s act of kindness, and how this inspired others to be kind as well. Here’s a link to part of the story on youtube.
WRITING : KINDNESS NOTES
During writing time in your class, create opportunities to make “kindness notes” with your students. For example, students make kindness notes for our Special Helper of the day. It isn’t happy or complicated; pass out blank pieces of paper and students write/draw kind things about that person and drop it in the “happy bucket”. At the end of the day, the Special Helper gets to take them all home, and they are cherished! It’s also a meaningful way to practice writing! I took some pictures of our notes below so you can see what I mean:
Begin each morning with a Friendship Circle, where students sit in a circle and give a compliment to the person sitting to the right, and that person says “Thank you” until you’ve gone all the way around. The last person gets to say something nice to the teacher!
(One of my favorite memories of this routine was when the last student in the circle looked up at me, trying to think of a compliment. Finally he said “I like how your hair smells like strawberry jam.” So cute!)
KINDNESS OUTSIDE OF THE CLASSROOM
When your special helper takes notes or attendance to the office, let them deliver some happiness to the office! First, decide as a class on a compliment to deliver to the secretary or staff. Practice speaking directly with a smile.We say things like: “You look beautiful today.” or “I like your personality.” or ” I appreciate you.” Once they leave, the rest of the class waits to hear all about the Kindness Adventure to the office!
(One favorite memory was when a little boy told the secretary “I just love how your hair is all gray and puffy and white and just very….puffy on the sides!” We asked about her reaction, and he said, “She just said thank you and then turned around and her shoulders were shaking, so I guess she really liked it!”)
ART PROJECTS THAT PROMOTE KINDNESS
This is a cute craft to encourage random acts of kindness. Students add a new heart to their project each time they complete the act of kindness written on it. Or, you can glue all the hearts together, and color each one as you go along.
Click the button BELOW to download a copy of this craft to print. There are blank hearts so you can create your own specific kindness goals, too!
Pin this free craft for later!
WRITING ABOUT KINDNESS
REINFORCE KINDNESS WITH DECOR
I also have this poster on my wall, and we use it as a writing prompt and discussion point. You can download it by clicking the image:
Each year we take the month of December to really focus on Random Acts of Kindness and caring for each other. If possible, I enjoy getting families involved. A few years ago we began making class books about random acts of kindness.
Each student takes home a one page template to fill out with a family member. They can write about kindness they’ve seen or a personal story. Sometimes families have purposely gone out to commit an act of kindness just so they could write about it!
Hopefully this will encourage discussion of kindness at home, which will deepen the understanding and meaning for my students.
Once completed, I ask students to bring their finished papers back to share with the class. It’s a very powerful conversation as students share their stories. Afterwards, we display them in the hallway, and eventually put them all together to make a class book.
Resources for Teaching Social Skills: Click HERE to see all of them on one page.
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