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November 20, 2017

WONDERful Ways to Promote Kindness in the Classroom

By Kriscia Cabral
Grades 1–2, 3–5, 6–8

    I recently read a book that speaks my favorite language, Unselfie: Why Empathetic Kids Succeed in Our All-About-Me World, by Michele Borba. In the book, Borba writes, “If we hope to raise empathetic, courageous, caring kids, we need to teach them how” and shares a nine-step program to help cultivate empathy. Her words became my mantra for the year and the inspiration for our classroom theme.  

    I began the year with our first read-aloud book, and what better choice than Wonder by R. J. Palacio. Wonder is about August Pullman who was born with a facial difference that had previously kept him out of mainstream schooling. As the story opens, Auggie is entering the local fifth grade. All Auggie wants is to be treated like everyone else as he experiences this new adventure, but it is difficult for his peers to get past how he looks. The story bounces back and forth between the perspectives of many characters, all who are learning how to show empathy, acceptance, and compassion. It was a perfect way to start the year and set the tone for kindness all year long. Read on to see how we have continued to promote kindness in WONDERful ways.

    Read more WONDERful stories

    Our class was thrilled to see an entire WONDER section at the Scholastic Fall Book Fair! Learn more ways to show kindness by reading one of the many Wonder stories. Our personal favorite is the picture book version. We were able to share this version of the story with our second-grade buddies and then both classes were able to pledge to being kind.

     

    Write WONDERful Poetry with WONDERful Artwork

    We started by celebrating who we are as individuals and wrote "I am" poems with the help of Scholastic’s Write It. We used the printable activity sheet to help get our ideas flowing and then crafted our poems.

    Once poems were completed, student printed them out and created the Wonder art to pair with it. Every student was instructed to draw their own Wonder cover and choose a precept (a term used in the book meaning ‘words to live by’) that they wanted to ‘live by’ to go with it.

     

    Share WONDERful Ways to be Kind

    This bulletin board is up in my classroom. At the beginning of every day we share out ways that we have shown kindness. Students are invited to grab a kindness square and write about their kind act. Our goal is to reach 100 ways to be kind . . . we are getting there!

     

    Create WONDERful Opportunities

    We use “Opportunity Tickets” in my classroom. They are raffle tickets that create opportunities for students for any and all classroom experiences. It could be taking something to the office, being the teacher’s assistant, an opportunity to sit outside for the day, etc. The way you amass tickets is by sharing how someone took the opportunity to do something kind for you. The person who was caught being kind gets two tickets for their kindness and the person who shared about the kindness gets one. The encouragement to choose kindness is boosted not so much because of the tickets, but because so many kids appreciate the act of kindness. It is more second nature now instead of a “chore” to be kind.

     

    See WONDERful Movies

    We are ending our Wonder adventure with a viewing of the movie Wonder. This is another opportunity for our class to connect compassionately. We will view the film, then come back to the classroom to compare and contrast the movie to the book. We also plan to model kindness while we are out at a public place. Finally, we will take the message of both the book and the movie and continue to find ways to be kind to others.

    At the end of the day, I always find myself going back to Borba’s quote. If we want kids to be kind, we have to teach them how. We have to envelop their lives with examples and stories that show kindness and give them opportunities to practice it.

    What ways do you teach, practice, share kindness in your classroom? I’d love to hear all about it! It would be great to come back from Thanksgiving break with new ways to practice showing kindness.

    Thank you for reading.

    Smiles,

    Kriscia

     

    I recently read a book that speaks my favorite language, Unselfie: Why Empathetic Kids Succeed in Our All-About-Me World, by Michele Borba. In the book, Borba writes, “If we hope to raise empathetic, courageous, caring kids, we need to teach them how” and shares a nine-step program to help cultivate empathy. Her words became my mantra for the year and the inspiration for our classroom theme.  

    I began the year with our first read-aloud book, and what better choice than Wonder by R. J. Palacio. Wonder is about August Pullman who was born with a facial difference that had previously kept him out of mainstream schooling. As the story opens, Auggie is entering the local fifth grade. All Auggie wants is to be treated like everyone else as he experiences this new adventure, but it is difficult for his peers to get past how he looks. The story bounces back and forth between the perspectives of many characters, all who are learning how to show empathy, acceptance, and compassion. It was a perfect way to start the year and set the tone for kindness all year long. Read on to see how we have continued to promote kindness in WONDERful ways.

    Read more WONDERful stories

    Our class was thrilled to see an entire WONDER section at the Scholastic Fall Book Fair! Learn more ways to show kindness by reading one of the many Wonder stories. Our personal favorite is the picture book version. We were able to share this version of the story with our second-grade buddies and then both classes were able to pledge to being kind.

     

    Write WONDERful Poetry with WONDERful Artwork

    We started by celebrating who we are as individuals and wrote "I am" poems with the help of Scholastic’s Write It. We used the printable activity sheet to help get our ideas flowing and then crafted our poems.

    Once poems were completed, student printed them out and created the Wonder art to pair with it. Every student was instructed to draw their own Wonder cover and choose a precept (a term used in the book meaning ‘words to live by’) that they wanted to ‘live by’ to go with it.

     

    Share WONDERful Ways to be Kind

    This bulletin board is up in my classroom. At the beginning of every day we share out ways that we have shown kindness. Students are invited to grab a kindness square and write about their kind act. Our goal is to reach 100 ways to be kind . . . we are getting there!

     

    Create WONDERful Opportunities

    We use “Opportunity Tickets” in my classroom. They are raffle tickets that create opportunities for students for any and all classroom experiences. It could be taking something to the office, being the teacher’s assistant, an opportunity to sit outside for the day, etc. The way you amass tickets is by sharing how someone took the opportunity to do something kind for you. The person who was caught being kind gets two tickets for their kindness and the person who shared about the kindness gets one. The encouragement to choose kindness is boosted not so much because of the tickets, but because so many kids appreciate the act of kindness. It is more second nature now instead of a “chore” to be kind.

     

    See WONDERful Movies

    We are ending our Wonder adventure with a viewing of the movie Wonder. This is another opportunity for our class to connect compassionately. We will view the film, then come back to the classroom to compare and contrast the movie to the book. We also plan to model kindness while we are out at a public place. Finally, we will take the message of both the book and the movie and continue to find ways to be kind to others.

    At the end of the day, I always find myself going back to Borba’s quote. If we want kids to be kind, we have to teach them how. We have to envelop their lives with examples and stories that show kindness and give them opportunities to practice it.

    What ways do you teach, practice, share kindness in your classroom? I’d love to hear all about it! It would be great to come back from Thanksgiving break with new ways to practice showing kindness.

    Thank you for reading.

    Smiles,

    Kriscia

     

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