Create a List

List Name

Rename this List
Save to
Back to the Top Teaching Blog
September 27, 2016 World Smile Day: Celebrating Kindness at School! By Shari Carter
Grades PreK–K, 1–2, 3–5

    Smiles are everything in education. I have always said that when a child enters my classroom with a smile in the morning and leaves with that same sweet smile in the afternoon, I have accomplished my job! I take great pride in this part of teaching and wholeheartedly believe that happiness matters; smiles go a long, long way; and acts of kindness are something we should teach AND take time to notice.

    Happy students make better learners. Children who are happy, feel safe, and enjoy being at school, have a greater chance of increasing the amount of learning and understanding that can occur during the course of a school year. For more information on student engagement, please read Rebecca Alber’s article, "How Are Happiness and Learning Connected?"

    Kids are inherently kind, but sometimes feelings and emotions get in the way. Children need to be taught — not just told — how to be kind. Books can be one of the best vehicles for teaching kindness and compassion. When we have more kindness, we will definitely have more smiles! Text-to-self connections can be created when our students can identify with characters who are experiencing the same problems they are. We read books for many reasons, but I just love when I notice the connections my students are making. The Way I Feel is a perfect book to teach children how to identify and deal with emotions.

     

    Activities to Make You and Your Students Smile!

    Smiles are what we want in kindergarten. Instead of just hoping they will come naturally, I make a point of teaching lessons that will foster character traits that will guide my students to be happier, which in turn — you’ve got it — will hopefully lead to more SMILES!

    Hey, Little Ant: Teaching Empathy and Compassion

    Hey, Little Ant is about young boy who has decided to squish an ant and can think of many reasons why he should. But the ant has its own reasons for why he shouldn't. The boy has to make a decision, to squish or not to squish? This book provides a platform for teaching empathy to children. It is so important to model (over and over again) what kindness looks and feels like.

    Another reason I love reading Hey, Little Ant is because it also provides an opportunity to introduce opinion. Understanding opinion will come in handy when we begin our opinion writing projects later in the school year.

    After reading the story, we gave our opinion on why the little boy should or should not step on the ant. I used this chart as I modeled print concepts to my budding writers. Next, the kids had a great time creating their ants as I led them in a step-by-step drawing lesson. To do this easy project with your class, your students will need the following materials:

    • White construction paper

    • Poster board

    • Black Sharpie markers

    • Colored markers

    • Crayons

    • Hey, Little Ant

    Wrinkled Heart Activity

    It’s hard to fix a wrinkled heart. That’s something we say quite often in kindergarten. Words are powerful and they can hurt. To do this activity with your kids, all you will need is a big paper heart, Band-Aids, and to read aloud the book, Chrysanthemum. Before reading the story, I asked the children to notice when the characters were being kind or unkind. As I read the story, every time a character said something mean to Chrysanthemum, we wrinkled up the paper heart to show that mean words hurt. Each time mean words were spoken, the paper heart got a little more wrinkled.

    Every time Chrysanthemum’s parents said something kind and loving, we stopped and tried to smooth out the heart. At the very end of the book, we repaired it with our Band-Aids. We talked about how the heart was still wrinkled even though, many times, we tried to smooth out the wrinkles. I then talked about how even though we say sorry and apologize for mean words, they still can have a lasting effect on our little hearts.

    The Wrinkled Heart activity helps to establish a kind community where children feel safe and are happy to be at school. When we were finished “repairing” our wrinkled heart, we hung it up in our classroom as a reminder to be kind to our friends and use words that don’t hurt.

     

    Take Time to Do Things You Love!

    Baking is one of the things in life that makes me the happiest. And, there’s nothing I enjoy more than baking and sharing my treats with others. When I see a smile that a simple little treat can put on a person’s face, it just fills my heart with so much joy! Teachers could spend every waking moment teaching, grading, and planning (and we still wouldn’t be done . . . ), but I highly encourage you to take some time to do the things that matter to you, make your heart happy and put a big smile on your face! Doing things that make you happy will in turn, make you a better teacher!

    My awesome teaching partner and her sweet daughter who bring smiles my way each and every day! Even our principal is excited to celebrate World Smile Day!

     

    Resources to Build a Culture of Kindness in Your Classroom

    I just love bees, so you have got to imagine just how excited I was when I stumbled upon The Be Kind People Project! The following is this great organization's mission statement: “The Be Kind People Project is to initiate positive social change in schools, to improve the learning environment for enhanced student achievement, to significantly ameliorate unwanted behavior issues often manifested or interpreted as bullying, and to provide a comprehensive and culturally relevant framework for responsible and enduring youth development.” There are all kinds of resources under the teacher tab and there are pledges you can download to use with your students as you teach kindness in the classroom.

    Just a few of the Be Kind resources for you to use:

    • Classroom Kindness Kits

    • Take the Be Kind Pledge

    • National Contests

    • Online Learning Resources

    • Kindest Teacher in America (recognition/award program)

    Additional Resources (to spread kindness and compassion in your classroom)

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

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

    Lindsey Petlak — "Pay it Forward Every Day"

    • My kinders are going to LOVE these cute, little kindness awards! The colors are so vivid and bright: definitely a quick way to add some smiles to your students’ day.

    • I just love this book list! A treasure trove of best books for children and teachers, put into the categories that you will most want to teach!

    For additional ways to bring more smiles and kindness to your classroom, please read y blog post, "Creating a Culture of Kindness in Your Classroom."

    Don't forget to subscribe to my blog on Scholastic Top Teaching if you would like to get my latest posts delivered right to your inbox. 

    Thanks you for your support and love!

    Hope your day is filled with love, laughter & lots of smiles!

    Shari :) 

     

     

    Check out my other blog posts!

    Smiles are everything in education. I have always said that when a child enters my classroom with a smile in the morning and leaves with that same sweet smile in the afternoon, I have accomplished my job! I take great pride in this part of teaching and wholeheartedly believe that happiness matters; smiles go a long, long way; and acts of kindness are something we should teach AND take time to notice.

    Happy students make better learners. Children who are happy, feel safe, and enjoy being at school, have a greater chance of increasing the amount of learning and understanding that can occur during the course of a school year. For more information on student engagement, please read Rebecca Alber’s article, "How Are Happiness and Learning Connected?"

    Kids are inherently kind, but sometimes feelings and emotions get in the way. Children need to be taught — not just told — how to be kind. Books can be one of the best vehicles for teaching kindness and compassion. When we have more kindness, we will definitely have more smiles! Text-to-self connections can be created when our students can identify with characters who are experiencing the same problems they are. We read books for many reasons, but I just love when I notice the connections my students are making. The Way I Feel is a perfect book to teach children how to identify and deal with emotions.

     

    Activities to Make You and Your Students Smile!

    Smiles are what we want in kindergarten. Instead of just hoping they will come naturally, I make a point of teaching lessons that will foster character traits that will guide my students to be happier, which in turn — you’ve got it — will hopefully lead to more SMILES!

    Hey, Little Ant: Teaching Empathy and Compassion

    Hey, Little Ant is about young boy who has decided to squish an ant and can think of many reasons why he should. But the ant has its own reasons for why he shouldn't. The boy has to make a decision, to squish or not to squish? This book provides a platform for teaching empathy to children. It is so important to model (over and over again) what kindness looks and feels like.

    Another reason I love reading Hey, Little Ant is because it also provides an opportunity to introduce opinion. Understanding opinion will come in handy when we begin our opinion writing projects later in the school year.

    After reading the story, we gave our opinion on why the little boy should or should not step on the ant. I used this chart as I modeled print concepts to my budding writers. Next, the kids had a great time creating their ants as I led them in a step-by-step drawing lesson. To do this easy project with your class, your students will need the following materials:

    • White construction paper

    • Poster board

    • Black Sharpie markers

    • Colored markers

    • Crayons

    • Hey, Little Ant

    Wrinkled Heart Activity

    It’s hard to fix a wrinkled heart. That’s something we say quite often in kindergarten. Words are powerful and they can hurt. To do this activity with your kids, all you will need is a big paper heart, Band-Aids, and to read aloud the book, Chrysanthemum. Before reading the story, I asked the children to notice when the characters were being kind or unkind. As I read the story, every time a character said something mean to Chrysanthemum, we wrinkled up the paper heart to show that mean words hurt. Each time mean words were spoken, the paper heart got a little more wrinkled.

    Every time Chrysanthemum’s parents said something kind and loving, we stopped and tried to smooth out the heart. At the very end of the book, we repaired it with our Band-Aids. We talked about how the heart was still wrinkled even though, many times, we tried to smooth out the wrinkles. I then talked about how even though we say sorry and apologize for mean words, they still can have a lasting effect on our little hearts.

    The Wrinkled Heart activity helps to establish a kind community where children feel safe and are happy to be at school. When we were finished “repairing” our wrinkled heart, we hung it up in our classroom as a reminder to be kind to our friends and use words that don’t hurt.

     

    Take Time to Do Things You Love!

    Baking is one of the things in life that makes me the happiest. And, there’s nothing I enjoy more than baking and sharing my treats with others. When I see a smile that a simple little treat can put on a person’s face, it just fills my heart with so much joy! Teachers could spend every waking moment teaching, grading, and planning (and we still wouldn’t be done . . . ), but I highly encourage you to take some time to do the things that matter to you, make your heart happy and put a big smile on your face! Doing things that make you happy will in turn, make you a better teacher!

    My awesome teaching partner and her sweet daughter who bring smiles my way each and every day! Even our principal is excited to celebrate World Smile Day!

     

    Resources to Build a Culture of Kindness in Your Classroom

    I just love bees, so you have got to imagine just how excited I was when I stumbled upon The Be Kind People Project! The following is this great organization's mission statement: “The Be Kind People Project is to initiate positive social change in schools, to improve the learning environment for enhanced student achievement, to significantly ameliorate unwanted behavior issues often manifested or interpreted as bullying, and to provide a comprehensive and culturally relevant framework for responsible and enduring youth development.” There are all kinds of resources under the teacher tab and there are pledges you can download to use with your students as you teach kindness in the classroom.

    Just a few of the Be Kind resources for you to use:

    • Classroom Kindness Kits

    • Take the Be Kind Pledge

    • National Contests

    • Online Learning Resources

    • Kindest Teacher in America (recognition/award program)

    Additional Resources (to spread kindness and compassion in your classroom)

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

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

    Lindsey Petlak — "Pay it Forward Every Day"

    • My kinders are going to LOVE these cute, little kindness awards! The colors are so vivid and bright: definitely a quick way to add some smiles to your students’ day.

    • I just love this book list! A treasure trove of best books for children and teachers, put into the categories that you will most want to teach!

    For additional ways to bring more smiles and kindness to your classroom, please read y blog post, "Creating a Culture of Kindness in Your Classroom."

    Don't forget to subscribe to my blog on Scholastic Top Teaching if you would like to get my latest posts delivered right to your inbox. 

    Thanks you for your support and love!

    Hope your day is filled with love, laughter & lots of smiles!

    Shari :) 

     

     

    Check out my other blog posts!

Comments

Share your ideas about this article

My Scholastic

Susan Cheyney

GRADES: 1-2
About Us