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Circle of Kindness: Bulletin Board and Activities

EducationWorld is pleased to feature this lesson from School Volunteer Handbook: A Simple Guide for K-6 Teachers and Parents, by Yael Calhoun and Elizabeth Q. Finlinson (Lila Press, 2011). Shared with the authors' permission, the lesson is a great example of a short activity with simple instructions that appeals to a diverse group of parent interests and teacher needs. The activity is an ideal one for implementation by classroom volunteers.

See other School Volunteer Handbook activities:
A Lesson in Character: Connect With Yourself
Be the Boss: A Lesson Plan On Managing Feelings
Just Add Water: Science Experiments With H2O

School Volunteer Handbook (including two CDs, one of all the handouts and one of the GreenTREE Yoga 5-minute classroom yoga breaks) contains more than 50 activities and lessons, retails for $25 (with free shipping) and is available at www.lilapress.com (visit site for free downloads).

About the authors

Yael Calhoun, MA, MS, RYT, is an author and educator who has taught preschool through college. She also has worked as an environmental planner and has written over a dozen books. Currently, she is a cofounder and the Executive Director of GreenTREE Yoga, a nonprofit committed to bringing the benefits of yoga to diverse populations.

Elizabeth Q. Finlinson, LCSW, is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and has worked as a school therapist, volunteer coordinator, and as a private practitioner specializing in children and families. She teaches character education and physical education and is an active school volunteer.

Subjects

-Math
-Language Arts
-Social Studies
-Character Development

Grade

K-6

Brief Description

Students explore the effects of simple acts of kindness on themselves, their class, their family and the community.

Objectives

Students will:

  • Explore the effects of kindness
  • Share their own kind acts and those of others
  • Use creativity to help create a kindness-themed bulletin board

Keywords

Kindness, character, development, bullying, prosocial, positive

Materials Needed

  • A bulletin board
  • Paper/materials to make the cut-outs (three inches diameter)
  • Books to read aloud (grades K-3)
  • Pencil and paper for each student


Lesson Plan

Preparation

  1. Choose a bulletin board theme. Some ideas include: “Planting Seeds of Kindness” (seedlings); “Make the World a Brighter Place” (stars); “A Garden of Kindness” (flowers); and “A Flurry of Kindness” (snowflakes).
  2. Choose a book to read aloud. Some of our favorites are: A Seed is Sleepy by Dianna Hutts Aston, Ordinary Mary’s Extraordinary Deed by Emily Pearson and The Three Questions by John Muth.
  3. Collect materials such as tissue paper, construction paper, glue, glitter, etc. for making the cut-outs.
  4. Make the cut-outs to match your bulletin board theme.
  5. Set up the bulletin board with your chosen theme in large letters across the top and a six-inch border in a different color. Start with a central ring of cut-outs, adding another ring each week (see below). The border will be decorated with cut-outs for “Kindness We Have Received From Others.” It is an important lesson to be able to receive kindness, as well as to offer it to others.

The Activity

Part 1: Discussion Points (Week 1) (20 minutes)

Read a book. Share the book you have chosen and discuss it. Invite students to bring in a book on this theme for next week. Preview the books from home to ensure they meet your lesson goals. If they do not, offer to read it to them later or ask if they would like to let the class borrow it for the rest of the day.

Introduce the theme. “We are going to create ‘Our Circle of Kindness: Make the World a Brighter Place’ bulletin board, and each of us is going to help it grow and shine. Every week we each will do a simple act of kindness (see below). Then we will write what we did on a star cut-out and post it on the bulletin board. Each successive week we add a new theme and another cut-out.”

Week One: Kindness toward yourself and someone in your family

Week Two: Kindness toward someone in the class

Week Three: Kindness toward the earth or an animal

Week Four: Kindness toward someone in our school or in the community

Ongoing: At any time, we can fill out a cut-out for the border: “Kindness that I have received from others”

“Why do you think we call it a ‘Circle of Kindness’? What kinds of jobs would fit into a Circle of Kindness?” Hopefully you and the class can find a way to include any job that is mentioned.

 

Part 2: Write and Share (10 minutes)

  1. Sharing. “Write down the last kind thing you did for someone and the last kind thing someone did for you. Who would like to share what they wrote?” Again, having students write things down is a great way to launch discussion. It helps everyone to formulate ideas and have the security of reading what they have written.
  2. Explain that next week (week 1) you will all write an act of kindness you did for yourself or someone in your family on a star cut-out.


Part 3: Each Additional Meeting (30 minutes)

  1. Cut-outs. Have the students write what they did on their star cut-outs.
  2. Sharing. Have students share their stories about what they did. Collect the star cut-outs to post later. Each week, the students will watch the circle grow as their star cut-outs are posted.
  3. Next weekly idea. Introduce the next act of kindness idea for the week and ask for some specific examples. Create the opportunity for students to be creative in their demonstrations of kindness.
  4. Storytime. Read another story. You may find a new book for each week or invite students to bring in a book they think demonstrates kindness.


Extend the Lesson

Social Studies

  • Partner and plan ahead: Have an older class partner with a younger grade to fill out the cut-outs for the class theme.
  • Current events: Invite students to collect news articles about different professions in the community that reflect acts of kindness.
  • Books: Invite students to create a personal kindness journal, a place to record acts of kindness they have offered and received.
  • Class project: Invite the students to think of an idea about how the whole class could do an act of kindness for the school or for the community.

Language Arts/Reading

  • Write: Use the theme of kindness to begin writing a story or poem.
  • Partners: Invite the older students to bring in a favorite picture book and read it to their younger-grade buddies. Either provide or preview the book.
  • Book reports: Invite students to do a book report on a book that fits the “Circle of Kindness” theme. The book report can be in the form of an interview with the main character, a diorama, or a picture book showing several of the favorite scenes. Let the students use their imaginations.

 

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