Gives That Celebrate Kindness at School
Gives that celebrate kindness at school are a great way to start off the new school year. Believe it or not, it’s almost Back to School season. Although we are still in “summer mode”, this means that it’s time for educators to start thinking about what the new school year will look like.
With COVID restrictions now beginning to loosen in schools in some areas and online/hybrid learning taking a backseat to in-person instruction once again, it makes sense that both students and teachers may feel a bit overwhelmed by the prospect of returning to school as we enjoy these last few weeks of summer. At 365Give, we’re all about advocating for the importance of teaching students to give back to other people, animals and the planet both at school and in their communities to foster a classroom environment that celebrates kindness. So as we get back to school for another year, embedding giving and acts of kindness into school curriculum might be a way to help ensure students are feeling comfortable in the classroom again after these tumultuous past two years.
In honour of Be Kind to Humankind Week, we’re sharing some giving activities for teachers that celebrate kindness at school. Read on for a list of these acts of kindness that will motivate students to make giving a daily habit. These gives celebrate kindness!
The Compliment Jar
A compliment can certainly go a long way and even make someone’s day – which is why one of my personal favourite classroom gives is the Compliment Jar. Have your students to point out things they like or admire about their peers and write them down. Also, encourage them to not only write down things they appreciate about their classmates that are appearance-related (e.g. “I love your hair”), but also reflect on what non-physical compliments they can come up with (e.g. “You are so kind and caring”). Teaching students to give and receive compliments can be valuable for developing important social-emotional skills like empathy and kindness.
Planet Give – Clean Up and Go Green
Encourage your students to help keep their school clean by picking up trash on the playground and in the classroom, and placing waste items in the appropriate bins (e.g. recycle or compost). Encourage them to pack no-waste lunches and bring reusable containers and water bottles – no plastic/disposable containers or cutlery.
Organize a Class Fundraiser
A great way to celebrate kindness in the classroom is having students participate in a class fundraiser for charity. Some ideas are hosting a bake sale, clothing/food drive, read-a-thon, movie night, or even a talent show. Have your students collaborate to help co-organize the fundraiser/event and select the charity representing a cause they feel strongly about.
Connect Younger Students with Older Student Mentors
Giving younger students the opportunity to be mentored by their older peers can be extremely valuable; this also helps establish a supportive school environment by strengthening bonds between different age groups. Reading Buddies programs pair senior student mentors with junior students as mentors support them with their reading and share books with their “mentees.” Senior students can also supervise younger students during lunchtime as Lunch Monitors. Through programs like these, junior mentees receive guidance from a positive role model they can look up to, while senior mentors develop key leadership and problem-solving skills and gain mentorship experience.
Consider keeping a Gratitude Board in your classroom where students can post things they are thankful for to make expressing gratitude a daily practice. This might also be a place where students can brainstorm their own gives/acts of kindness they can do for the week and share their ideas with their peers.
Daily Class “Check-ins”
Starting each class off with a class “check-in” and simply beginning the day by asking students, “How are you feeling?” can also be an important way to create a classroom environment that celebrates kindness. Doing this can help students feel comfortable and supported at school and recognize that their classroom is a safe space for conversations about their feelings, a place where they can share if they are having a bad day. Hosting daily class “check-ins” also normalizes having discussions about mental health, acting as a step toward reducing the stigma surrounding this topic.
An important part of creating a safe, welcoming and inclusive space for students is celebrating diversity at school. Encouraging students to share their cultural traditions with their classmates, exposing students to books written by BIPOC and 2SLGBTQIA+ authors, and re-evaluating some of the teaching materials used in the classroom are some ways educators can begin doing this.
Participate in the 365Give Challenge
And last but not least, have your class participate in the 365Give challenge! The 365Give challenge encourages individuals, community groups, families and businesses to complete one give every day. Get started by signing up for a Class/School Membership for free and enroll in the Challenge to get your students to start giving daily.
Try Out These Classroom Gives This School Year
Teachers, as the summer holidays start to wrap up, we invite you to think about trying out one or more of these gives that celebrate kindness at school this year. If you are looking for some more guidance, sign up for a membership today!
Check out more giving ideas for classrooms and schools at 365Give. We have a ton of articles that provide numerous gives appropriate and impactful for students.