This post brought to you in partnership with Greater Good in Education.
Kids aren’t always kind to each other – that’s no secret. In fact adults aren’t always kind either. Parents have a big part of helping their children learn empathy and kindness, but teachers also play a big part in this role as well.
We chose to do an Acts of Kindness in the Classroom Activity based on the Kindness Buddy activity for students here from Greater Good in Education. Things have been a little rough since the beginning of the school year and with “friendsgiving” approaching I thought this was the perfect action to take in helping students learn more about each other on another level.
The mission of Greater Good in Education is to transform the way education professionals think about the purpose of education and what it means to be a human being—all to promote a kinder, more compassionate, and equitable world. I know we need a little bit more of this both in our lives personally and in our classrooms! Activities like this might have made a huge difference in how kids in my class were treated growing up!
From mean pranks played on teachers and students, eyes rolled and snickers at new students that didn’t quite seem to fit in, mean names muttered under their breath, and blatant disrespect and rudeness directed at both teachers and other students – your students have probably seen and experienced far more unkind actions that you would like.
We need to be the role models, and teach our children to do the same. Greater Good in Education is trying to break this cycle with free tools for a stronger growth mindset and social responsibility skills to motivate everyone to be a better you.
Greater Good in Education has multiple resources and lessons to help inspire both students AND adults to take actionable steps towards their well-being. We chose to utilize these with our kids through a kindness in the classroom activity that can do amazing things after just a few short weeks!
All About Kindness in the Classroom
As I mentioned there are many fantastic activities that the Greater Good in Education has online, but we chose to create a Kindness Buddy activity. I wanted students not only to be aware of other kids in the class that might be “outside” their circle of friends, but for them to practice seeing the good in other people going deeper than the surface appearance. It’s amazing how many friends they made after practicing this exercise!
This really helped bring the class together on a deeper level and with an appreciation for other students that they might not have had otherwise.
How to Choose a Kindness Buddy in the Classroom:
- Randomly! Write the name of each student on a separate piece of paper and put them in a bowl. Either the teacher, or the students, can then draw a new name out each week (or month).
- Designate specific kindness buddy partners together strategically.
- Split the class and rotate them by one student each week so that your class moves as partners with everyone else in class at least once during the year.
When to Choose a Kindness Buddy:
Choose a kindness buddy every Monday or the first school day of every month. Make it a year long event! This is a fantastic way to not only bring the students in your classroom closer together but you can absolutely incorporate activities into your daily classroom lessons!
Ideas for Incorporating Classroom Lessons with your Kindness Buddy:
- Write your “kindness buddy” a letter.
- Create a piece of art or greeting card for them.
- Create a pet rock for them!
- Write something kind starting with each letter of their name.
- Create a homemade gift (not purchased!) that is centered on a theme.
- Cooperatively design a classroom banner showcasing everyone’s art work!
- Design a classroom quilt out of paper on the topic of kindness then “stitch” it together.
After you’ve implemented your Kindness Buddy routine, these two activities make great additions to your classroom activities.
What We Learned Through This Kindness Activity:
This kindness in the classroom activity was SO EASY to incorporate into our classroom routine! Instead of writing letters to made up people that might never see them, we instead focused our efforts on writing thoughtful letters to our kindness buddies. Teaching the students how to make a decision of kindness each day. Imaginative stories were created with our kindness buddies in mind.
Students found common interests that created new friendships through this activity. It also brought plenty of laughter to the classroom as we learned about quirky interests and a kinder perspective of one another’s differences. The kids realized that they related more to each other – even to the kids they thought they weren’t friends with. It really helped give them a broader view of respect for their classmates!