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Teaching kindness

Discussion in 'Primary' started by rightasrain, Jan 5, 2020.

  1. rightasrain

    rightasrain New commenter

    I’ve been teaching for 8 years and my current class are the hardest I’ve taught by far in terms of behaviour. They are so unkind to each other. This term I’d like to do a focus on being kind. Does anybody know anything that would work well? I’m going to do lots of modelling but any nice picture books like ‘How to Fill a Bucket’?
    Thanks in advance for any ideas :)
    richardmthompson1 likes this.
  2. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    Tell them that this term you want them to 'Tell Tales'. They have to tell you every single time someone does something kind. When they do tell you, give both that person AND the person being kind a sticker or some such.

    Depends on their age, you can give each child a small paper bag on a wall display somewhere. Each Monday give a secret name out to everyone and they have to write a kind note to put in the 'bucket'. Give a time slot when everyone writes, but also make sure they know they can add any other kind note they want at any point in the week. On Friday afternoon, they get to take home all the notes from their 'bucket'.

    And keep them very busy, so that they just don't have time to think about being unkind, hey just don't have any downtime at all. Act being really furious every time someone is unkind in your sight/hearing...really go to town on it.

    All this will hopefully mean they spend so long thinking of kind tales to tell and notes to write that they forget about being unkind. And anyway they are actually scared to be unkind in your presence anyway.
  3. freckle06

    freckle06 Lead commenter

    Brilliant!! When I find classes tough I have to make myself go down the Joyce Grenfell route of kindness or it gets too negative. When I was an not I worked with the most wonderful teacher who was close to retirement who (for me) embodied Joyce and genuinely the children behaved beautifully as she gave them the impression she loved them all and was ever so disappointed if they kept her dorm. They couldn’t bear to let her down, very clever lady. I learnt a lot!

    richardmthompson1 likes this.
  4. TheIrishTeacher

    TheIrishTeacher New commenter

    There’s an Australian teacher on Instagram called @giftedandtalentedteacher. She has created a kindness challenge. Seems to be very very effective in classrooms as it’s easy to implement.
  5. TheOracleAtDelphi

    TheOracleAtDelphi Occasional commenter

    I've worked at a few schools which use PATHS and part of that is Compliments. It is supposed to be daily but you can also do weekly or whatever interval works best for your class (e.g. three times a week) as long as each child gets at least one go. You need a set of dedicated photos or lollipop sticks with the children's names or similar. Normally you draw in advance but could do it just before doing Compliments. Once a child has been drawn they get placed in a separate bag and only get drawn again once everybody has had a turn. Then an adult in the room (teacher or TA or whomever really) pays the child a compliment (recorded on sheet), two-to-four peers normally chosen by child (although you can specify that they have to pick an opposite sex peer or different people if it risks becoming a bit cliquey) to pay a compliment and crucially the child has to pay themself a compliment (this is the bit they normally find hardest). Ideally the sheets are then photocopied so you can add them to a class book of compliments and the child takes the other copy home where they are encouraged to discuss their compliments and be given one by family member/care giver.

    Depending on the age of the children you could potentially try some kind of Random Acts of Kindness type activity where each child is given the name of a child for whom they are challenged to do random acts of kindness. Alternatively (but with potentially less chaos) you could as a class come up with a list of appropriate acts of kindness and have tick or tally lists or a diary for recording when they have received or carried out one of the acts.

    You could maybe have a Kindness certificate or trophy for your class (decided by pupil nominations e.g. via box) or by yourself. With younger children, you could have a Kindness Kangaroo (or whatever soft toy you have available!) who likes to hang around with the kindest people and goes away if people are being unkind.
  6. mattdechaine1

    mattdechaine1 New commenter

    A few years ago I had a project in my school linking kindness with the arts. We collaborated with a charity called People United. They are a charity who explore how the arts and creativity can grow kindness, empathy and a common sense of humanity. They have produced resources for schools which may be of some help to you on their website.

    Best of luck.
  7. Kartoshka

    Kartoshka Established commenter

    Once year I had a class who were unkind to one another. We made a 'Kindness Chart' - basically a blank 100 square - and any child spotted being kind by a teacher was allowed to colour in a square of the chart and praised in front of the class. By the time the chart was all coloured in, they had got out of the habit of being unkind.

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