Kindness Pledge

Establish a classroom promise to build a more compassionate school community together.
Ages 8-14 / 45
min Activity
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  • ‍Identify qualities of a positive school community and find shared goals with each other 
  • ‍Create a classroom “Kindness Pledge” to inspire actions that cultivate compassion and understanding
  • Share their pledges with other classes through a collaborative Padlet board (located in the “Gallery” tab)

Supporting Research

When people identify a shared problem and goal, research shows that this experience empowers them to put aside their differences and focus on what they share in common. Educators should encourage students to practice self-awareness and perspective taking to identify shared opportunities and goals, and practice collaboration as a team working together to achieve their vision.

To learn more about these skills, and how they promote students’ healthy growth and the development of empathy, please check out our Empathy Framework.

Activity Partners

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  1. Begin the activity by explaining empathy to students. You might say: “Empathy is an important skill that helps us understand and care about people. It has three parts: feeling, thinking, and acting. We notice and care about someone’s feelings, think about what it’s like to be them, and act in a kind and supportive way. We can practice empathy towards ourselves, people who we know (like our classmates and family members), and even people who we don’t know very well!” 

    To reinforce the meaning of empathy, show this video to students, which shares a simple story about how empathy can help us connect with ourselves and others. You might also show them this chart, which describes the nine skills for practicing each type of empathy towards ourselves, others, and the world. 
  2. Then, engage students in a Think-Pair-Share exercise about your school’s community. Students should: 

    individually about the following questions: 
    • Imagine a school community where everyone is kind to each other. What does it look like? What does it sound like? What does it feel like? 
    • What are some ways that we can help spread more kindness in our school? 

    Pair with a classmate to share their ideas. To guide the conversation, you might ask: 
    • How are your ideas similar or different? 
    • Does everyone think about kindness in the same way? Why or why not? 
    • Why is it important to consider everyone’s ideas when we’re trying to make our school a better place for everyone?
    • How can empathy support the actions that you came up with? For example, how can you try to understand someone’s feelings and situation to show kindness to them?

    Share their responses with the rest of the class, while you create a list of their ideas on a physical or digital board that is visible to everyone. 
  3. Help students identify common goals that overlap the ideas that they shared, and write down statements that encompass these shared goals and corresponding actions. For example: 
    • “We care about everyone feeling included. We can make sure we’re including others by reaching out to classmates who seem lonely, and inviting them to sit or play with us.”
    • “We care about being respectful, like listening when other people are talking and not saying something that could hurt someone’s feelings.”” 
  4. Invite students to work on a “Kindness Pledge” that captures their shared values and goals, and demonstrates their commitment to taking empathetic actions that foster a more compassionate school community.

    For example:

    We will be curious about the world,
    As we make new friends.
    If we argue or disagree,
    We will be careful about our words and actions,
    And how they make others feel.
    We will help each other to be kind,
    And be patient with ourselves as we grow and learn,
    So we can create a joyful school for everyone.

If students in both classes have individual devices (e.g., mobile phone, tablet, laptop, etc.)...

Use a platform such as Google Meet, Zoom, or Microsoft Teams which allows you to screen-share during a video call. 
One educator should set up the Kahoot! game and share the code with students in both classes by following this tutorial about using Kahoot! in a remote learning environment, and share their screen so everyone can follow along.

If students in either class don’t have individual devices...

Follow the same instructions above, with one educator starting the game and sharing their screen so both classes can follow along.  
Instead of students joining the game to answer the questions, they can hold up their fingers, call out their answer, or use a paper template to indicate their response.

If you prefer not using Kahoot!...

Use this document (Spanish version) to prompt students.