Kindness is a topic we can never visit enough. I love starting the school year with lessons on kindness! Encouraging kindness in the classroom is so important as you set the tone for your classroom environment. During the first week of school my students use kindness heart activities as they learn about being kind to all. They also complete a fun classroom kindness challenge. These back-to-school kindness activities set us up for a great year. Keep reading to incorporate them into your classroom this fall!
What Kindness Means Lesson
Before we can really dive into the back-to-school kindness activities and the classroom kindness challenge, we explore. I love using picture books and role-playing acts of kindness with my students during our first lessons on kindness. There are many books out there that focus on kindness but my favorite is Have You Filled a Bucket Today? By Carol McCloud. This book is a perfect introduction to lessons on kindness as it shows how kindness makes the world a better place. It also provides examples of what kindness looks like and how it helps everyone including ourselves. During this lesson on what kindness means students love to demonstrate kindness with their peers. We follow up by creating a kindness heart necklace for each student.
Kindness Heart Necklace
Creating the kindness heart necklace is simple: I use small paper hearts copied onto different colored paper and yarn. The hearts are kept in a small bucket on each table. Students practice doing kind things for one another throughout each day. When I see acts of kindness students are allowed to take a paper heart and put it on the yarn (which will become the necklace). Any students involved in the kind act (those completing the act and those on the receiving end) get a paper heart. At the end of the week, we tie the ends of the yarn together to complete their necklace. Students love to show others all of their kindness hearts and I find that this activity is great for encouraging kindness in the classroom.
Classroom Kindness Challenge
This has got to be one of my favorite back to school kindness activities! I love this activity because it doesn’t just focus upon being kind in one setting. My favorite way to kick off this challenge is by reading aloud Kindness is Cooler, Mrs. Ruler by Margery Cuyler and Sachiko Yoshikawa. In this story a classroom teacher helps her students to learn about kindness through completing as many acts of kindness as they can. There are some great kindness examples in this book!
From here, my students kick off their own Classroom Kindness Challenge. This is a one-week activity created to challenge students to practice kindness in different locations and different ways for each day of the week. During this challenge I will not only be encouraging kindness in the classroom, but kindness at home and in the community.
Monday: Kindness to Family
On this day our focus is being kind to our families. I love to start here because most students have already heard from parents about being kind at home. We begin with reviewing what it means to be kind. Next, we brainstorm as a group what kindness to our families might look like. This is so much fun, and I love the examples students give! The task for students this day is to complete 4 kind acts for their families. They then either write or draw (depending on the grade) to show their kind acts on the Monday Kindness Challenge cut-out. This set of foldable hearts gets cut out and glued upon the student’s challenge page.
Tuesday: Kindness to Friends
This tends to be a favorite focus for students. On the Tuesday hearts students will be recording 4 kind acts that they complete for their friends. They have so much fun with this one!
Wednesday: Kindness to Self
Our focus for the third day of the Classroom Kindness Challenge is being kind to self. This has turned out to be a bit harder for students to understand at times which surprised me. There is such an emphasis on being kind to others that brainstorming how to be kind to ourselves is a bit more challenging. Once they have come up with some ideas though this one doesn’t take long to complete! Students again complete 4 kind acts for this day, but this time for themselves.
Thursday: Kindness in the Community
I love this day because students get very creative as they come up with ideas that they can use to help their community. This can be demonstrated using the classroom community for practice; however I like to help them expand their focus to the community where they live. Four kind acts for the community are completed to achieve this foldable Kindness Challenge cut-out on their chart.
Friday: Kindness to All
The final Classroom Kindness Challenge Day! On this day I let students choose how they want to demonstrate kindness. They can pick their favorite kindness focus from the week, or do one of each as long as they complete 4 kind acts.
Kindness Wrap Up
For students that complete the challenge I print out a special Kindness Award. These are just a few of the fun ways I love to kick off the new school year. If you love the challenge and would like to do this activity with your students, CLICK HERE to sign up for my free resource library and you will receive access to the Classroom Kindness Challenge pages pictured as well as other resources. Love this? Be sure to check out more of my resources from the Curriculum Collection Store on TPT!