“Kindness is one soul touching another in a way that says I see you.”
The Oxford Dictionary defines kindness as “The quality of being friendly, generous, and considerate.” Their definition for random is “Made, done, or happening without method or conscious decision.” This February 11-17 is the celebration of Random Acts of Kindness Week. The goal of this week is to serve as a reminder to practice kindness and have fun being a little extra kind.
Celebrating Random Acts of Kindness Week is an excellent way to bring this concept to the forefront with our students, but how can we continue to encourage student kindness throughout the year? If we want to promote intrinsic kindness in ourselves and others, shouldn’t it be through consistent efforts at all times not as an isolated annual celebration?
Many websites provide teaching ideas for random acts of kindness for students of all ages. The Random Acts of Kindness Foundation serves as an excellent starting point for information on how others promote kindness in their community. Their Kindness Blog provides many tips on spreading kindness and shares stories of kindness throughout the world.
Students love using technology in their everyday lives, so it is the perfect “hook” for engaging students in kindness activities. Here are some suggestions to take these kindness lessons and incorporate technology as a way to extend them beyond one celebratory week and include them throughout the year.
- Start with something straightforward. Invite students to share a kind act they saw or performed that day on your interactive whiteboard as you close out your school day. Share these actions on your class website or blog weekly or daily to recognize the ongoing kindness found within your students.
- Do you love sticky notes? Try digital sticky notes using a tool like Sticky Notes – just popped up! This Chrome extension adds sticky notes to your computer screen. Quickly add a sticky note when sharing your computer screen with students to share an act of kindness observed in the classroom.
- Deliberately choose reading materials that feature acts of kindness. This list provides some suggestions to get started for students of all ages. Have students recreate these acts in comic form using a comic creation tool like ToonyTool or Witty Comics. Reverse this idea and have students choose an unkind act and use a comic to demonstrate how the participants could have employed kindness in their actions.
- Start a kindness podcast for your classroom or school. Set up a schedule for students to share books, activities, or people observed spreading kindness in your school. Buzzsprout is an easy to use podcast host and provides 2 hours of free uploads per month.
- I can’t go without mentioning my favorite online tool, Flipgrid, as an excellent resource for sharing acts of kindness. Post a question on Flipgrid asking students to share acts of kindness they have seen by others. Be sure to allow comments to encourage conversations between students sharing their thoughts and ideas.
- Incorporate kindness into Social Studies lessons with Google My Maps. This tool enables users to create custom maps including videos, icons, and images. Create a map for your classroom then add kindness activities from throughout the world found through current events and online information.
I’m sure that you have many other ideas on incorporating kindness into activities every single day of the year. As your random act of kindness for the day please consider sharing some of your suggestions for incorporating kindness in the classroom into the comments below.