Be kind. This is a huge motto in our classroom. So much of our day goes into our curriculum, lessons, materials, planning, prepping, clean up, etc. but what we might often forget is teaching our students to be kind. Think about it: how much better would our classrooms, our schools, our world be if we all show kindness to one another?
Reflection is a big teaching practice but what if we taught our students how to reflect on their behaviors and actions? Whenever we have an off-day, I like to take a second to have a class meeting. I walk my students through the steps of reflection:
- How did we handle this situation?
- Was our reaction good or bad?
- What could we have done differently?
- Next time this happens, what will we do?
You can even incorporate an anchor chart to refer back to when you have these “reflection” meetings in the future! Teaching students to reflect on their actions can help them to respond different in the future. It also allows them to take a walk in another's shoes to think how the act might have hurt them. Reflection can be extremely powerful and it's such an important skill to teach our students early on.
Your students are watching your every move, almost too closely. If we want to show them how to be kind to others, we need to model that behavior for them. Unfortunately, not every child goes home to a supportive and loving environment and we are with our students for a good majority of the day. Sometimes the kindness you show to your students, staff and others will be the only “model” they get to see.
What teacher doesn't love a good bulletin board?! I love it even more when it's interactive! It doesn't have to be fancy, but start by putting an inspirational “be kind” quote on it and allow students to recognize kind acts in others! Some of my favorite quotes are “Throw kindness like confetti,” “Be the reason someone smiles today,” or “In a world where you can be anything, be kind.”
Using mentor texts are a great way to show students kindness and what it looks like. Stories with characters showing kindness and compassion are a great starting point for discussion. Here are some of my favorite mentor texts to use when teaching kindness:
Student Shout Outs
Shout outs are a great way to get students to practice being kind on a daily basis. I start off by modeling how we can do shout outs in the classroom (ex: I’d like to shout out Maci for picking up all the toys on the carpet even though she didn’t get them out). I spend some time talking about what we can give “shout outs” for and how shout outs make someone feel special and recognized. After a few weeks of modeling and practicing, shout outs will become an integral part of the classroom and your students will have so many kind things to shout out about their friends, teachers and school!
What are some ways you teach kindness in your classroom?