Monday, February 1, 2016

Kindness Matters

Today I'm sharing some of the kindness activities I'm planning for the week before Valentine's Day. It's our I Teach First February Link Up. We are sharing some ideas, activities, resources, and some FREEBIES, too!

My school will be participating in The Great Kindness Challenge. We have four main school rules. BE KIND is at the top of the list.

Be kind.
Be respectful.
Be responsible.
Be safe.

Our school decided to take the kindness challenge to help create a kindness culture. This will be our second year participating in the challenge. It's an opportunity to focus on kindness in a bigger way. The official date for the kindness challenge this year was January 25-29, but schools participate at a time that works best for each school. Valentine's Day and kindness go hand in hand, so we're celebrating during the week leading up to Valentine's Day.

The school-wide kindness activities will include a checklist of 50 kindness challenges, a kindness art contest, and class kindness banners for a "Wall of Kindness." We'll also have a spirit day: "Peace, Love, and Kindness." Students will dress up in hippie attire. Kindness quotes over the intercom will start our mornings. The quotes will also be written with chalk on the blacktop areas of our school.

If you want to participate in The Great Kindness Challenge, you can find out more about it HERE.

I'm planning complementary activities in my classroom and wanted to share some of my favorite kindness-themed books.

One of my favorites is Somebody Loves You, Mr. Hatch by Eileen Spinelli. It's a heart-warming story about a lonely man. He receives a package one day with a note that says, "Somebody Loves You." He  thinks he has a secret admirer. His happiness has him interacting with others with kindness. At the end, he is surprised with the kind and loving way others return his kindness.

Little Red's Schoolhouse  has a wonderful Storybook Study of Somebody Loves You, Mr. Hatch that I will use with my students. Click on the picture below for a preview.

Another book that's perfect for first grade is Pink Tiara Cookies for Three by Maria Dismondy.

It's a story about a new girl who moves into the neighborhood and how two friends work thru accepting her into their friendship.

Jen at Sparkling in Second has a great blog post about the book and how she promotes kindness in her classroom. I will be using her Kindness Cards {free download} in my classroom. 

The Potato Chip Champ: Discovering Why Kindness Counts by Maria Dismondy is a story about a boy (loves potato chips) who has everything and wants for more and learns an important lesson about kindness from a boy who has very little. You can listen to Maria Dismondy read her book HERE.

The next book is beautifully written and illustrated.

The book is Each Kindness by Jacqueline Woodson. It's about a new girl in school who tries to reach our to other but is ignored. It is a lesson on how even a small act of kindness can make our world a better one.

I created some Kindness Printables to use during the Kindness Challenge. You can click on the picture below to download.

If you want to join the Kindness Challenge or just want to promote kindness in your classroom, I hope you've gotten some ideas here. They fit well with valentine-themed activities. If you're looking for Valentine's Day activities that support kindness, check out Valentine's Day Writing for Firsties.

I'd love to hear about any books or activities that you use to promote kindness in the classroom.