Every month in the school year is a great month talk about being kind to others, but I use December to emphasize this idea because of all the joy that surrounds the idea of giving. This is a wonderful time to share with students about the greatest gifts that one can give and how priceless they can be. Here are three wonderful ways you can incorporate random acts of kindness into your holiday planning.
My favorite lesson of all time is one that comes from the Random Acts of Kindness website. I tweaked it a bit for my liking, but the you first create a tree with branches, leaves, and fruit that can be removed. (You can use construction paper and light tack tape.) The lesson starts with a read aloud of The Giving Tree. As you read, have students take off parts of the tree while the story is being read until only the stump remains. The visual representation is like no other. After the story, I let the idea resonate with students and have one minute of just thinking time. Students then participate in group discussions and reflect on what it means to give back. This task card is given out on the first day and completed throughout our study as both an independent and group assignment.
I use this amazing website to find nonfiction articles at my students' lexile levels. I post the article to our Subtext page where students can respond to questions and share reflections with classmates. Tune in next time for more ways to incorporate both of these sites in your classroom.
Looking for a cloze activity to wrap up your kindness comprehension? I found this beauty! According to the site description, Clozure is a web tool that generates cloze tests from articles written by Wikipedia . . . for FREE. What I love is the capability you have to choose your skill level for students: high, medium, or low, and then to option to select either a digital or print version. FANTABULOUS!
The idea has filled the room and the thinking and looking deeper into what giving is all about is spreading like wildfire from student to student. Now it’s their turn to apply it.
Assign each student a “secrak (Secret Random Act of Kindness) friend.” The Melissa & Doug site that I modeled for my class features a secret service theme.
I pass out the directions sheet and have students document and reflect on the kindness acts they are committing and how it makes them feel.
Each student is paired for a week. At the end, they share with each other who the secrak friends were.
The first week was someone from our class, the second week was our kindergarten buddies, and the last week it was someone from home. At the end, students write an opinion piece on kindness and why it makes a difference using evidence gathered from our secret friend research.
The most fitting examples I came across for math were those about sharing. Here are a number of (no pun intended) math books that touch upon kindness as well as fourth and fifth grade numbers and operations Common Core State Standards.
Visit Scholastic Printables. They carry all "kinds" of activities related to kindness like games and short plays!
Passing a smile, sharing a treat, drawing a picture, and offering to help. The little things make a world of difference. December is a month where much of our attention is on giving. Acts of kindness are an excellent way to start.
I’d love to hear from you! How does your class show kindness through the holiday season?
Thanks for reading!
• CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.5.1 Quote accurately from a text when explaining what the text says explicitly and when drawing inferences from the text.
• CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.5.2 Determine a theme of a story, drama, or poem from details in the text, including how characters in a story or drama respond to challenges or how the speaker in a poem reflects upon a topic; summarize the text.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.5.3 Compare and contrast two or more characters, settings, or events in a story or drama, drawing on specific details in the text (e.g., how characters interact).
• CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.5.1 Quote accurately from a text when explaining what the text says explicitly and when drawing inferences from the text.
• CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.5.2 Determine two or more main ideas of a text and explain how they are supported by key details; summarize the text.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.5.3 Explain the relationships or interactions between two or more individuals, events, ideas, or concepts in a historical, scientific, or technical text based on specific information in the text.
• CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.5.7 Draw on information from multiple print or digital sources, demonstrating the ability to locate an answer to a question quickly or to solve a problem efficiently.
• CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.5.8 Explain how an author uses reasons and evidence to support particular points in a text, identifying which reasons and evidence support which point(s).
• CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.5.9 Integrate information from several texts on the same topic in order to write or speak about the subject knowledgeably.
• CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.4.1 Refer to details and examples in a text when explaining what the text says explicitly and when drawing inferences from the text.
• CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.4.2 Determine the main idea of a text and explain how it is supported by key details; summarize the text.
• CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.4.3 Explain events, procedures, ideas, or concepts in a historical, scientific, or technical text, including what happened and why, based on specific information in the text.
• CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.4.7 Interpret information presented visually, orally, or quantitatively (e.g., in charts, graphs, diagrams, time lines, animations, or interactive elements on Web pages) and explain how the information contributes to an understanding of the text in which it appears.
• CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.4.8 Explain how an author uses reasons and evidence to support particular points in a text.
• CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.4.9 Integrate information from two texts on the same topic in order to write or speak about the subject knowledgeably.