It's Jen Bengel from Out of This World Literacy. I wanted to share a small bit of a blog post I did about a month ago on spreading kindness in our classrooms and in our schools.
I began this idea by asking myself these four questions:
1. What if we started off our new school years with an intentional effort to spread kindness in our classrooms?
2. What if we found a way to create a classroom where simply being kind to everyone comes first?
3. What if that spills out over into the hallways?
4. What if it even makes its way into the bathrooms? (I know, sounds gross...but hold tight!)
I think that simply being kind to everyone, even when we are tired, hungry, or just plain fussy, is a great way to keep positive energy in our classrooms!
We are the leaders in our classrooms. And we all know that a group is only as good as its leader. So why not go out of our way to model kindness every day, especially to the kids who we feel don't deserve it? Or even the ones who aren't so kind to us in return?
I came up with 4 practical ways we can all help spread kindness throughout our classrooms and our schools.
NUMBER 1: Introduce Kindness Cards
The idea here is to give students quick access to kindness cards so that they can send a little love to a classmate or other adult in the school.
They may see a friend doing something really awesome. Or they just borrowed a pencil. Whatever it is, kids can share kindness with their friends.
They could even give kindness cards to the teachers, parents, custodians, secretary, special guests, principal, and on and on! The ideas for kindness cards are limitless. They are so simple, yet so powerful.
Be intentional about spreading kindness with them!
Click the image to get your FREE set of kindness cards!!
NUMBER 2: Make Smile! mini posters for the bathroom mirrors!
I got this idea when I woke up one day and went to the bathroom in our guest hallway. I noticed a heart-shaped piece of construction paper taped to the mirror.
I immediately grumbled to myself, "oh great, what did the kids do to destroy the house now?" (this was pre-coffee).
But, then I saw the message...
I COMPLETELY changed my attitude from one of annoyance, to a smile. My entire body relaxed. The message had me thinking, can I be nicer? Especially to my own kids? The answer was yes!!
I think there's always room for more kindness...at home...
and YES friends...
even in the bathroom!
So, I made these Smile! templates for everyone to use. Your kids can make their own out of construction paper, or they can use the following templates.
Click on the image to grab the FREE Smile pages!
NUMBER 3: Plaster the halls with Smiles!
One simple smile can turn someone's entire day around!
Why not make smiling in the halls a part of your school's culture!?
Have your kids decorate posters reminding their friends (and adults in the building) to smile. They can even add fun quotes or silly drawings. Throw jokes on posters too. Keep learning fun by spreading some positivity and smiles all over school!!
Have your kids create their own posters, or click on the link below for these FREE templates!
NUMBER 4: Build Each Other Up With Kindness (the long, personal story part)
I will NEVER forget my fifth grade teacher doing this activity with us 26 years ago (yes, I gave away my age).
Honestly, I can't remember her name (bad I know) or anything else that happened as far as learning that year.
This activity is the ONLY thing that truly stuck with me through the years.
My fifth grade teacher (can't say her name because I literally can't remember) had us all complete a compliments page for every member of our class. We sat at our desks in rows (it was the 80's people) and passed the pages up and down the aisles. The only direction we had was we MUST say something kind about whoever's page was in front of us.
The most glorious part of the whole activity was when we got our own pages back. Everyone was glowing from the kind words that were written on the page.
This single activity COMPLETELY changed the energy of our class. We were all suddenly nicer to each other. We walked around proud and confident in who we were.
I'll NEVER forget the feeling.
You can grab these free pages to use or create your own
So that's it!
If you want to read my personal story about growing up with a difficult teacher that did the exact opposite of showing kindness, you can head over to my blog at Out of This World Literacy.
Thanks so much for reading! I hope you all are having a wonderful start to the new year!!!
Be sure to check back every day to see more awesome blog posts from all my buddies here at the Primary Chalkboard!!