Mission: Spread Kindness!
- Participate in a challenge to perform acts of kindness for your school community
- Collect and display data about your class’s actions using charts, graphs, and/or boards
When educators integrate the teaching of kindness in classrooms, and make these practices critical to their daily work, research shows a positive impact on students’ wellbeing, sense of community and belonging, and relationships with each other. A positive school climate is also associated with increased academic performance, reduced bullying, and enhanced teacher retention. Thus, educators should encourage students to practice kindness and collaboration to identify which actions might be the most meaningful and recognize the impact of their collective efforts in fostering a more positive school climate.
To learn more about these skills, and how they promote students’ healthy growth and the development of empathy, please check out our Empathy Framework.
- Engage students in a discussion about kindness by asking the following questions:
• What does kindness mean to you?
• What are some examples of kind actions?
• How does it feel to receive kindness? How does it feel to show kindness?
- Introduce students to the three types of kindness. You might explain: “Everyone has their own preferences and experiences which shape our unique definition of kindness! Let’s focus on three types of kindness: 1) to ourselves, 2) to others, and 3) to the world around us. What are some ways to practice each type of kindness?”
- Create a list of students’ ideas and use the examples below (and on this poster) as inspiration:
• Kindness to yourself, and being patient and compassionate with yourself. For example, doing something fun or relaxing, celebrating your accomplishments, or asking others for help when you need support.
• Kindness to others, and treating them with respect and care. For example, writing a note to say “thank you”, inviting someone to sit or play with you, or posting a positive comment for someone online.
• Kindness to the world, and taking steps to protect and restore nature. For example, picking up litter on the ground, giving water to plants, or reusing or recycling an item instead of throwing it into the trash
- Invite students to participate in this activity’s challenge: Mission: Spread Kindness! The goal is for students to practice each type of kindness over the next week, and spread acts of compassion across the entire school!
Work together on a plan, such as:
• Take mindfulness or movement breaks (consider using this mindfulness Toolkit, or playing one of the games in this Kahoot! collection!)
• Identify members of your school who might enjoy, or benefit from, some extra appreciation and surprise them with friendly letters, small treats, or acts of support.
• Gather supplies to donate to a local animal shelter, or work together to plant native plants to help local wildlife.
- Encourage students to track their actions using a class chart with tally marks or sticky notes. Later, they can create bar graphs or pie charts to display their positive impact on the school community!
- After completing the challenge, distribute certificates to students to celebrate their hard work, and guide a reflection by asking the following questions:
• What was the most rewarding part of this experience? Was anything challenging or difficult for you?
• What were some of your favorite acts of kindness? How did these moments make you feel?
• What information did you consider when you were trying to decide which actions would be the most helpful or meaningful?
• Why is it important to consider others’ feelings, experiences, and perspectives when we are trying to show them kindness?
• How do you feel when you look at our class’s “kindness data”?
• What did we accomplish together? Do you think our actions made a difference for others?
• How can we continue practicing the three types of kindness during the whole year?
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.