School Kindness Challenge
Spreading Kindness Campaign challenges local school leaders and teachers to let us know how students in their schools are creating a culture of kindness. Stay tuned for our 2019-2020 challenge focusing on using kindness so that “everyone belongs.”
How Schools Use Kindness so that ‘Everyone Belongs’
The following examples of kindness activities were taken from the Winter 2019 School Kindness Challenge, and are designed so that ‘everyone belongs’ or can be adapted slightly so that everyone belongs. The most common adaptions are for paired activities (make sure typically excluded students are paired with a kind partner) and for entire class activities (make sure that excluded children are included).
One of the most powerful ways to make every student in a school feel included is to have the staff (not just teachers) go through a list of every student in the school and mark the ones they have a personal relationship with. All the students without a mark are students who probably feel they do not belong. The staff would then go through the names of these students and mark the ones they will establish a personal relationship with. When all student names have a staff name, then the stage is set to make every student feel that they belong.
- A class wrote three encouraging notes to each other, mindful to include students they wouldn’t normally interact with. The class had read about another school writing positive notes to each other and decided to do that instead of another class activity.
- Fourth graders are paired with Kindergarten buddies for the year. Every kindergarten student had a fourth grade buddy. Together, with their buddies, students made various valentines for the senior citizens at a nearby memory care facility. The valentines were handed out to the senior residents during their Valentine’s Day party.
- A teacher created a Kindness Project that included pairing classes for Kindness Buddies, writing kind notes, and paying forward Kindness Coins. Students normally excluded were included. The goal was “Spreading happiness and helping kids thrive.” More Kindness activities are scheduled such as a 30-day challenge workbook/journal for kids to encourage living kind, a kindness rock art project, a Kindness Club, a Positive Hopscotch Art Project, and a kindness wall in the Commons.
- The Acts of Kindness Club celebrated World Kindness Day in November and wrote a note to EVERY student in the entire school (about 1200 notes.) Kindness notes written by Acts of Kindness Club were also posted around the school to be taken by any student. The slips were gone in less than two days.
- Cheerleaders decorated every locker and hallway with kind and motivational Valentines with messages like “You can do it”, “We appreciate you”. Many students posted receiving their Valentine on social media. Every student received valentines.
- Every student made cards for hospital patients. Themes were kindness, raising spirits and Valentine’s Day. Cards were taken to Sacred Heart University District and given to patients, families and staff on all the patient floors including pediatrics.
- A group of students formed The Kindness Police, as they wanted to promote kindness throughout their school environment. They started making RAKRocks, large flat rocks with a message of kindness written on them. Students sneak into classrooms at lunchtime to place a few RAKRocks on desks. The goal is that a student’s day is brightened by this surprise RAKRock, and then that student spreads the love to others. Teachers are on board for encouraging the messages and the spreading, especially to those who might be struggling for some reason and are often not included. When the student receives the rock, it will fill the bucket of both the receiver and the giver.
- Students in two classrooms made bookmarks with kind messages. They hid them in books in the library for others to find. 90 bookmarks were made and hidden, so potentially 90 students received encouragement.
- A group of students committed to making their school a kind, safe, and inclusive place made bookmarks with encouraging messages or reminders to choose kindness. The bookmarks were then distributed to every students.
Winter 2019 School Kindness Challenge
THE RESULTS ARE IN!
In January 2019, Spreading Kindness Campaign challenged local school leaders and teachers to let us know how students in their schools are creating a culture of kindness. Twenty local elementary, middle, and high schools answered the challenge. View the results here: