Monday, November 11

How to Promote Kindness in School


How to Promote Kindness in School


Kind kids are the best kids! But what is kindness in schools and how to we promote it? How do we go about teaching kindness? With National Kindness Day fast approaching I thought I would share my top ways of promoting kindness in my elementary classroom and school.
 
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Promote a culture of kindness in your classroom and school. Photo credit Photo Clipz

Teaching Kindness

kindness-in-schools
Build relationships with students and encourage kindness.

Students may not be displaying kindness in school for the simple reason of they do not know how to. I know this sounds silly, but we know children come from all different sorts of home lives. It is our job as educators to give every child a common background in how to treat one another as human beings on this Earth. O.K. so how do I start teaching kindness in my classroom? Start with some games and activities! Morning meeting is a wonderful time to foster peer to peer relationships and model kindness. Looking for an easy activity to get started? Try this FREE kindness activity! This activity allows students to practice giving compliments to one another, Click HERE to check it out.

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How to Promote Kindness In Your Classroom


Model, model, model! Children are constantly learning new information from the world around them. So, we must continuously be modeling the kind behaviors we wish to promote. This means using kind language and posting visual reminders. Is it difficult to always choose your words wisely? Um, heck yes! It is crucial we take a deep breath and model the language we want our students to use. For example, if a student’s becomes angry and is speaking unkindly, I will take a deep breath (or two) and respond with, “I know you are angry, but listen to the way I am speaking to you. I don’t raise my voice at you because I know it would make you upset. So, I am going to give you some space to breath. When you’re ready to talk calmly so I can hear your words, I would love to listen.” I am constantly reminding my students of this when they become upset. However, if you’re going to talk the talk, you gotta walk the walk. This means when you tell a child you will not raise your voice at them, you have to actually stick to that. Active modeling kindness through your words and actions is the most powerful way we can demonstrate and teach kindness.

Another powerful strategy we can use to encourage kindness in schools is to make it visual. Hang pictures, post kindness bulletin boards. The more students see it, the more they will realize how valued it truly is! Make the word and the images of kindness present in your hallways and classrooms.
Would you like some FREE KINDNESS POSTERS to get you started?
Click the DOWNLOAD button below!


Kindness Challenges


Students love challenges! So, why not do kindness challenges in your school or classroom? I love doing these fun challenges, and my kiddos love seeing how many kind acts they can accomplish. It brings about a wonderful feeling in our classroom each time we tackle a new kindness challenge. My favorite kindness challenge is the one we do in the space between Thanksgiving break and Christmas break. It’s called the White Christmas Kindness Challenge and you can check it out HERE. Every year I cut up the list of kind acts and place them in a jar. Students will reach in and take out a task to complete. Once they complete a task they write it on the snowflake and we hang these snowflakes from the ceiling. The students love seeing the acts of kindness and “snowflakes” grow in our classroom.

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Click HERE to check it out.


Well, there you have it, from active modeling to morning meeting activities; I hope I have provided you with some ways to promote kindness in your school this year!


Sunday, November 3

3 Steps to Setting Up a Successful Writing Station


Do you have a writing station in your classroom? A one stop shop for students to find writing resources and tools? Your writing bulletin board can be such a valuable tool! Read more to find out how you can take three easy steps to set your students up for writing success!

Show it off

Expectations shouldn’t be a mystery. Think about it, are your classroom expectations posted, oh course they are! So, why shouldn’t your writing expectations be posted too? How can students reach the bar you are setting if they are not really sure what the bar even is or looks like? Each unit, I post an example story of where I want my students to be by the end of the unit. I tell my students that this is an example of a great writer (I tell them that this is a story from a student in a nearby state that I blew up for use in our room). We start the Historical Fiction unit in November, so the first chunk of the unit focuses on creating a character who journeyed upon the Mayflower! Students journal each day as this character and we make feathered pencils to write with. It is a lot of fun! The second section of the unit focuses on writing full length Historical Fiction stories.

I also label different sections of the story. I highlight components such as dialogue, indents, the climax, conclusion, and more. We dissect writing a lot through my units and it truly makes a difference in my students abilities to use these components when they can recognize them in other works of writing. When students are exposed to good writing, they can see it and work toward creating great writing too.


Another way I make my expectations clear is by posting our writing rubric and matching scored examples (the students and I create the examples together). When my students see where I have set the bar, they now have a fair chance to strive for it. Clarity is the key to helping your students grow as writers.


Give them Options

You get a writing option, and you get a writing option, everybody gets a writing option! Think about it folks, when you go to write your lessons, does anyone hand you a specific planner and a number two pencil and say, “write”? No! We spend oodles of time picking just the right planner for us, and buy all the Flair pens to fill it with. Here’s my question, why should we not offer the same opportunities to our writers? I say give them all the options! If your students prefer to draft on plain paper or a graphic organizer, let them! Allow them to have these options at their fingertips. Getting set up to share your ideas is not a one size fits all model. Give your students the freedom to use whatever paper helps them get their amazing ideas down.

Looking for the graphic organizers pictured above? 
Click HERE to check out the graphic organizers I use when teaching Historical Fiction writing.


Easy Access to Tools

Don’t hoard the pencils! Teachers, trust me I get it! I use to hide pencils away because I always knew we would hit that halfway mark in the year and our classroom would look like a barren waste land for writing utensils. Not a pencil to be found. However, I have found that reluctant writers are more likely to jump in and write if they feel they are getting to use a special tool. So, grab some washi tape and label all the special writing pencils, pens, and what nots. Allow them to use these tools any time writing class is in session. See what happens, honestly just try it!