Create a List

List Name

Rename this List
Save to
Back to the Top Teaching Blog
July 2, 2018

Creating a Culture of Kindness in Your Classroom

By Shari Carter
Grades PreK–K, 1–2, 3–5, 6–8

    The best way to promote kindness and caring behaviors in our classrooms is to model them. When we show our students what it LOOKS like and SOUNDS like to be kind, there is a far greater chance they will repeat those modeled behaviors. And it is important to remember that children watch their teachers all the time and listen to everything they say. Essential caring behaviors and kindness are more often “caught” than they are “taught” in the classroom.

    Are You a Bucket Filler?

    I always seem to do so much community building at the beginning of the school year and then as the school year rolls along (and the kids get comfortable with one another), I am quickly reminded that I need to continue to foster an environment that is filled with lots of love and kindness. I love the book How Full is Your Bucket? The story has very relatable characters and a symbol (the bucket) that is easy for young children to understand.

    Writing With a Purpose

    I remember in my early years of teaching, I use to always feel like I needed to provide prompts for my kids to use in writing. Now I realize the importance of students having a voice and control in their writing. When my kids journal, I never tell them what they can or can’t write about. I want them to write about topics that are important to them. When reading a book like How Full is Your Bucket?, it gives students the opportunity to have text-to-self connections and makes writing much more authentic for the teacher and her students. In this writing assignment, I asked my kids to think about ways in which they could be “Bucket Fillers” and after we brainstormed quite an extensive list, it was very easy for them to write about how they could fill the buckets of other people and ultimately, spread kindness around the world!

    Listen With Your Heart!

    We teach our kids that listening is part of being “ready to learn,” but it is important to go one step further with regard to this vital life skill. Don’t be afraid to discuss with your children the importance of listening. In my classroom, I teach my students how to “listen with their hearts” from day one. When you teach children to care enough to listen, truly listen for the meaning of what is being said, you are teaching them how to be kind and empathetic. Here are printable Kindness Cards from the Scholastic Teachables folks for you to use with your own class. 

    These are my kinders demonstrating how to listen with their hearts during our Author Share.  

    Random Acts of Kindness

    Last year our school started a Random Acts of Kindness (RAK) Secret Buddy program. It is an optional activity (that’s tons of fun) for staff to be a part of if they choose. The program is easy to organize and a great way boost morale and do kind things for one another.

    At our school, the social committee organizes the RAK program. The first thing they do is send out a questionnaire to fill out for people who want to be a part of RAK. This questionnaire gives your RAK Buddy lots of personal information, so they can do thoughtful things for you during the school year. At the end of the year, our social committee hosts a RAK Buddy reveal party, and it is so much fun to finally find out who was spoiling you with kindness throughout the year.

    My littles trying to make a heart sign with their hands.

    Kindness in the Classroom

    There are so many resources to help bring kindness into your classroom. The Random Acts of Kindness Foundation has a great website for teachers that includes lessons, videos, and kindness ideas. My kids get very excited about our RAK Buddy program and this is just one more way to promote kindness in your classroom.  

    The Be Kind People Project includes many resources on their website for use in your classroom.

    If you would like more inspiration on creating a culture of kindness in your classroom, please check out fellow Top Teaching bloggers:

    Beth Newingham — "Have Your Students Filled a Bucket Today?"

    Lindsey Petlak — "Pay it Forward Every Day."

    Remember, "A little spark of kindness can put a colossal burst of sunshine into someone's day!" (author unknown). Have fun spreading kindness and joy in your classroom!

    Thanks for reading and have a wonderful day!

    Shari

    The best way to promote kindness and caring behaviors in our classrooms is to model them. When we show our students what it LOOKS like and SOUNDS like to be kind, there is a far greater chance they will repeat those modeled behaviors. And it is important to remember that children watch their teachers all the time and listen to everything they say. Essential caring behaviors and kindness are more often “caught” than they are “taught” in the classroom.

    Are You a Bucket Filler?

    I always seem to do so much community building at the beginning of the school year and then as the school year rolls along (and the kids get comfortable with one another), I am quickly reminded that I need to continue to foster an environment that is filled with lots of love and kindness. I love the book How Full is Your Bucket? The story has very relatable characters and a symbol (the bucket) that is easy for young children to understand.

    Writing With a Purpose

    I remember in my early years of teaching, I use to always feel like I needed to provide prompts for my kids to use in writing. Now I realize the importance of students having a voice and control in their writing. When my kids journal, I never tell them what they can or can’t write about. I want them to write about topics that are important to them. When reading a book like How Full is Your Bucket?, it gives students the opportunity to have text-to-self connections and makes writing much more authentic for the teacher and her students. In this writing assignment, I asked my kids to think about ways in which they could be “Bucket Fillers” and after we brainstormed quite an extensive list, it was very easy for them to write about how they could fill the buckets of other people and ultimately, spread kindness around the world!

    Listen With Your Heart!

    We teach our kids that listening is part of being “ready to learn,” but it is important to go one step further with regard to this vital life skill. Don’t be afraid to discuss with your children the importance of listening. In my classroom, I teach my students how to “listen with their hearts” from day one. When you teach children to care enough to listen, truly listen for the meaning of what is being said, you are teaching them how to be kind and empathetic. Here are printable Kindness Cards from the Scholastic Teachables folks for you to use with your own class. 

    These are my kinders demonstrating how to listen with their hearts during our Author Share.  

    Random Acts of Kindness

    Last year our school started a Random Acts of Kindness (RAK) Secret Buddy program. It is an optional activity (that’s tons of fun) for staff to be a part of if they choose. The program is easy to organize and a great way boost morale and do kind things for one another.

    At our school, the social committee organizes the RAK program. The first thing they do is send out a questionnaire to fill out for people who want to be a part of RAK. This questionnaire gives your RAK Buddy lots of personal information, so they can do thoughtful things for you during the school year. At the end of the year, our social committee hosts a RAK Buddy reveal party, and it is so much fun to finally find out who was spoiling you with kindness throughout the year.

    My littles trying to make a heart sign with their hands.

    Kindness in the Classroom

    There are so many resources to help bring kindness into your classroom. The Random Acts of Kindness Foundation has a great website for teachers that includes lessons, videos, and kindness ideas. My kids get very excited about our RAK Buddy program and this is just one more way to promote kindness in your classroom.  

    The Be Kind People Project includes many resources on their website for use in your classroom.

    If you would like more inspiration on creating a culture of kindness in your classroom, please check out fellow Top Teaching bloggers:

    Beth Newingham — "Have Your Students Filled a Bucket Today?"

    Lindsey Petlak — "Pay it Forward Every Day."

    Remember, "A little spark of kindness can put a colossal burst of sunshine into someone's day!" (author unknown). Have fun spreading kindness and joy in your classroom!

    Thanks for reading and have a wonderful day!

    Shari

Comments

Share your ideas about this article

Shari's Most Recent Posts
Blog Post
Supporting Students to Become Super Readers
The resources for both teachers and families in Every Child a Super Reader are invaluable. Read on to see how when school and home work together, GREAT things can happen.
By Shari Carter
July 11, 2018
Blog Post
5 Days of Gingerbread Fun!

The weeks before winter break can become long, so take a little extra time to plan some exciting activities to ensure you and your students are having fun learning this month. Read on for a fun and festive Gingerbread Man unit.

By Shari Carter
December 7, 2016
Blog Post
A Thankful Teacher and a Thanksgiving Recipe

I love spending time reflecting on the blessings in my life and hope you do too! Here's my list of things that make this teacher’s heart happy, plus a recipe for a Thanksgiving dish I can't live without!

By Shari Carter
November 22, 2016
Blog Post
5 Stories and Activities for Thanksgiving

If you are planning to read to young students during the days leading to Thanksgiving, these books are perfect! Each story is paired with activities to enhance your learners’ reading experience, and make your teaching just a little bit easier!

By Shari Carter
November 8, 2016
Blog Post
Hip, Hip, Hooray . . . It’s the 50th Day!

Although it seems like we just had our first day of school, here we are, soon-to-be celebrating 50 fabulous days of learning! And with a little preparation, you and your students will be twisting, shouting, and learning 1950s-style.

By Shari Carter
October 25, 2016

Susan Cheyney

GRADES: 1-2
About Us