The power of classroom circles for fostering emotional intelligence, improving well-being and creating a culture of kindness is well documented. Circles are important tools for nurturing relationships and feelings of community and can be used in any classroom.
Schools with a focus on social and emotional learning (SEL) often use circles to help build a positive culture to reduce bullying. Circles work because they help all children to feel loved and encouraged while creating bonds between peers. They are especially important for nurturing feelings of belonging, acceptance and stability in troubled children.
Most children enjoy being creative with pencils and crayons. But did you know there are an impressive number of reasons why both kids and adults should partake in this peaceful pastime?
The significant benefits of coloring are now being realised for all age groups as it takes its place alongside yoga and meditation as an enjoyable way of improving mental and physical well-being.
Our elementary school serves approximately 800 students PreK-3rd grades.
The week of February 11th, 2018 happened to be “Random Acts of Kindness Week” so I challenged the staff to a Kindness Challenge — I challenged them to complete these simple, kind acts that would make our students’ and colleagues’ days just a bit brighter!
Complete a challenge – mark it off on the challenge sheet
Each challenge completed earned a TICKET in the raffle
Earn an EXTRA TICKET for each challenge that is completed and shared on social media with the challenge hashtag
The WINNER of the raffle… earned a HALF DAY OFF!
These funky little relaxation jars are so easy to make and are wonderful visual aid for helping kids calm themselves when they’re feeling anxious or overwhelmed.
They’re a popular aid for parents but we also encourage teachers to use them in the classroom and have included the instructions in our primary/elementary school curriculum. read more →
Recently I sent some coupons to my old elementary school (that I went to from ’89 to ’94), just in an act of kindness since I know some teachers have to provide their own supplies, etc. I wasn’t really expecting that the current principal would know me, but I still wrote a letter, telling her of my intention in sending the coupons and for some reason felt inspired to name the teachers. read more →
My story is rather long, I hope that’s ok.
Let me start by telling you about my son, Peyton James.
He was born at 28 weeks gestation and weighed only 2.52 lbs. He spent 35 days in the NICU before being able to come home. While in the hospital, he spent 3 weeks on pure oxygen. What wasn’t known then was that the oxygen was causing a discoloration in the enamel of his permanent teeth – a problem that we wouldn’t see for several years. Because of these medications, his permanent teeth were a mottled yellow color. In second grade, the teasing began. “Why don’t you brush your teeth?” Why are your teeth so nasty?” and many other hurtful questions and comments were made. He was also picked on because of his hair, his glasses and the fact that he was smaller than most of the other boys. He was seen as weak and became a target. read more →
There are so many wonderful people in our community who go out of their way and even risk their lives for us every single day. Often these people go about their jobs, many of which we wouldn’t want to do mind you, without ever really being thanked for the extraordinary effort they put in.
Here are some fun ways to show them they’re appreciated or to offer support to someone who may need a little encouragement.
Law Enforcement or Fire Fighters
In the span of about 20 minutes I am lucky enough to have the opportunity to see almost every student enter the building. Some are dropped off by their parents. Others ride their bikes to school. But most of our students take the bus to school each morning.
I try to give as many students as possible a high five, a handshake or a hug. It is without a doubt one of the best parts of my school day. And while I look forward to seeing each and every child that enters the building, there are three girls that just always seem to make my day.
Invariably, one of them will see me first. Once she does, she comes to me. Arms wide open. Preparing for the biggest hug. The next girl latches on. Then another. Until some days we have what I like to call a three-person-hug. read more →
As a 6th grade teacher, I feel the necessity to teach my students about kindness, compassion and empathy. read more →
Some children spend more of their time awake at school than they do in their own homes. That’s a big thing when you’re still growing and learning. It’s a big thing too for parents to entrust their precious ones to others, sometimes strangers, during these vital years. Especially as much of a child’s developing personality and morals can be so easily influenced by those around them.
During the early years of my own children’s education, I worried about the role models they would encounter at school. It concerned me that my hard work instilling good values may be lost if character education wasn’t a priority in the classroom.
Fortunately, these days, educators are more aware of the need to prioritize social and emotional learning at school. They realize the important role that kindness and empathy have in nurturing happiness and self-esteem.
“It’s no secret that kindness sparks kindness. The secret is that kindness takes wings when it is modeled and taught with passion and purpose. When we intentionally help and encourage our students to put kindness into action through their thoughts, words, and deeds, then the world will truly be a gentler, more peaceful place. Simply put, we’ll be better.
Kindness in schools can look like a smile, feel like a hug, sound like a sweet greeting or a sincere compliment. A genuine inquiry about how someone is doing can mean so much. And when we have created that climate of kindness and caring inside our school walls, the natural next step is to take it home to our families, out into our community and then beyond our borders into our global world. And when kindness ripples, prepare to bathe in a tsunami of goodness.”
I remember walking into my bedroom one day after school to discover a brand new pair of aqua coloured jeans on my bed. I was so excited and grateful for those jeans as I had recently admired them in a shop but would never have asked my mum if I could have them. They were the latest trend and I knew we couldn’t afford them, but here they were, on my bed!
I almost knocked my mother over as I ran into her arms. I knew what sort of sacrifice she would have made to get them for me, so these were a very special gift that left a warm, vivid memory.
This is the sort of gratitude I hope my children feel when they are lucky enough to get something they’ve been wishing for. But it’s not just things I want them to appreciate, but their circumstances, their happiness, their friendships and all the ordinary things that surround them every day.
In a world where most children have all they could ever need, it can be difficult to teach them to be grateful. So how do you go about instilling a value that seems almost lost in our world of plenty?
Why Is Gratitude Important
Christine Carter is a sociologist from Greater Good Science Centre and a huge advocate for teaching gratitude. She shares some wisdom on why gratitude is important and how to help parents and teachers foster an attitude of gratitude.
We Are All Teachers
My widowed father is getting frail with Alzheimer’s and other medical conditions common for an 88-year old WWII veteran. Just as I was getting ready to teach an after-school class of nine-year olds some science the other day, I get an urgent phone call from my sister. Our dad was being rushed into emergency surgery as we spoke, for a serious bowel obstruction. I was torn between abandoning my job immediately to drive the 2-hour trip to get to him, or stay and teach the eager little faces smiling up at me. Realizing that I could do nothing to help him for at least a few hours, I decided to finish the class.
Stories of Kindness
- Social Emotional Learning: Classroom Circles Build Community
- Feeding The Inbetweeners
- Have you seen the Sign? Bright orange messages of kindness are spreading across the country.
- He left me a post-it note every morning
- Benefits of coloring for children and adults
- Stalking her on Facebook
- A Principal Inspires Teachers to Spread Kindness at School
- They remember how I made them feel
- A garden of kindness
- My Ripple Kindness Project
- Christmas Voucher