Imagine this: a week free of name-calling, teasing, or taunting...sounds heavenly, right? Many teachers focus on community building at the beginning of the year, but the "honeymoon phase" of a new classroom or teacher can quickly wear off. Whether it's a few weeks or several months into the school year, a refresher course on being kind may be just the thing your classroom needs.
There are many many factors which influence name-calling and bullying, which can lead to severe academic and social consequences. In an attempt to provide a solution, glsen.org (Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network) co-sponsors a week of kindness and antibullying each January. It has a whole host of resources for teachers, counselors, and administrators that are ready to implement. For a quick and easy list you can share with students or parents, check out this list.
Here are some other ways to #celebratekindness in your school or at home.
1. Challenge students of different demographics to work together to solve a problem. This can be peer tutoring, volunteering, or even a STEM challenge. Let students realize that they become stronger when they put their unique talents together.
2. Try teaching iMessages! I've used this strategy for years with my classes. I've found that sometimes my kids need to be taught the explicit words to use to solve a problem. Check out the full lesson and activity plan here.
3. Build up your classroom or school community with some team-oriented icebreakers. I love the hula hoop challenge, as well as the Save Sam activity. They get kids up and moving and provide an ongoing conversation starter!
4. Share inspirational quotes or posters. We all have them hanging in our rooms, but do we ever actually discuss what they mean? Kids look at these posters for 180 days in a row, so take one off the wall and talk about it. Just watch the insightful discussion unfold! Here are two of my favorites to discuss:
How do you celebrate and promote kindness in your classroom? Share in the comments!