- books that focus on the concept of kindness, including Because Brian Hugged His Mother, by David L Rice (Dawn Publications, 1999,-$7.95); Ordinary Mary's Extraordinary Deed, by Emily Pearson (Gibbs Smith, 2002; $15.95); and How Kind! by Mary Murphy (Candlewick Press, 2004; $6.99)
- chart paper
- white mural paper
- markers and crayons
- language and literacy
- creative thinking
- social awareness
Spend a few days reading and discussing the suggested books. Focus on the theme of one person's good deed affecting others and on the concept of kindness. Invite children to share similar experiences they may have had.
Explain to children that you would like them to create a kindness story similar to those in the books they have read. Explain that they can begin by identifying one child's act of kindness and how that will affect the next child, then the next child, and so on. For example: "On the bus ride to school, Maria shared her breakfast muffin with Casey. Casey felt very happy and she ..." (ask Casey to think of an act of kindness she could perform for the next child).
Record children's ideas on a sheet of chart paper while they tell the story. Invite children to create a large mural to illustrate their story. Divide the mural paper into sections large enough for each child to draw a picture of his act of kindness.
Find an area in the room or hallway to assemble the story mural. Cut out the sentences from the dictated story and place them under the corresponding drawings. Invite children to create a title for their story and include it above the mural. Now everyone can read along.
Remember: At this age, children are just beginning to develop an awareness of the feelings of others. Look for opportunities to point out how each person's behavior, both good and not so good, affects others.
Feel-Good Chain Send a note home explaining that children are learning how one kind word or act can affect many people. Ask families to play the following kindness game at home: All family members join hands. One person squeezes the hand of the person on their right and says something special about that person. That person then squeezes the hand of the next person and says something special, and so on, until everyone has had a turn.
Curriculum Connection: LITERACY
Venn Diagram Choose two books about kindness for the children to compare and contrast. On a large sheet of paper, draw two large, intersecting circles with different colored pens. Label each circle with the title of one of the books. Invite children to list the similarities of the stories in the intersecting section and the differences in the outer sections.