Kindness is an essential social emotional skill for kids to learn early. It’s something that can be taught with both actions and words and learning to be kind is a skill they will use and benefit from every day. Learning the little effects that kindness can have on a community or even just another persons day can change their worldview, and this collection of books and videos will teach your little learners all of that and more!
Books That Teach Kindness
The following four books were specifically chosen to teach kids about kindness because each book shows how to be kind in a different way. You can also find follow up question and answer sheets within The Encouraging Classroom if that is something that interests you when using these read alouds in the classroom!
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1. Stick and Stone by: Beth Ferry
This book is a light and enjoyable approach to a recognizable narrative about making—and helping—friends by being kind.
2. The Jelly Donut Difference by: Maria Dismondy
This earnest story of being a good sibling, neighbor, and friend may inspire your little learners to find ways to be generous in their own lives.
3. Ordinary Mary’s Extraordinary Deed by: Emily Pearson
This book is a feel-good story that inspires and celebrates a world full of ordinary deeds!
4. A Sick Day for Amos McGee by: Philip C. Stead
Friends come in all sorts of shapes and sizes. In Amos McGee’s case, all sorts of species, too! Every day he spends a little bit of time with each of his friends at the zoo, running races with the tortoise, keeping the shy penguin company, and even reading bedtime stories to the owl. But when Amos is too sick to make it to the zoo, his animal friends decide it’s time they returned the favor.
Videos That Teach Kindness
The assortment of animated videos below are a great way for kids to see kindness in action and hear the positive ripple effects a kind action can have in the world. You can find follow-up questions to each video within The Encouraging Classroom to have deeper discussions with your students if that is something you would enjoy!
1. Color Your World With Kindness
This video shows how small everyday actions can make a big difference!
2. A Short Story On – Kindness
This story visually shows how treating those who are different than us with kindness can be in turn rewarded with similar kind actions.
3. Kindness Counts: “Kindness is a Muscle”
Sing along to Sprout’s “Kindness is a Muscle” official lyric music video. Every day we can make our hearts grow stronger by showing one another that kindness counts!
4. Kid President and Glad to Give Present How Good Spreads
This video highlights the many ways in which we can easily spread good to others with kind actions.
Kindness Activities for the Classroom
We suggest the following activities to be used in the classroom to help reinforce the concept of kindness. All of these resources can be found inside of The Encouraging Classroom full-year curriculum. There are 12 different character traits in total as well as, daily lessons, songs, videos, read alouds with questions, art projects, home connections, and more! You can also find video trainings about Calm Down Corners, Breathing Techniques, Morning Meetings, Self Regulation, Developing Student Relationships, and more included in the curriculum!
1. Kindness Anchor Chart
Use this anchor chart as a whole group activity, independent activity, or both! There are many options for this chart. You could display it on the SMART Board and fill it out with your class or even have your students fill out their version along with you! I have also seen teachers enlarge this anchor chart as a large poster and given their students post it notes to place on the anchor chart to make it more interactive.
2. Kindness Sort
Students cut behavior actions off the bottom of the page. Then they read and sort the actions into two categories: being kind & not being kind
3. Read and Respond Passages
These read and respond passages include a 1st grade and 2nd grade set with correlating text level complexity. Students can do this independently, in a small group, or whole group with the teacher walking them through the activity. Students read the passage. The passage has a difficult situation with no ending. The students need to decide how to respond to the situation. These are similar to the scenario cards except with a longer passage and guided opportunities to respond with writing.
- I Like to Challenge Myself at all Times
- I Have a Growth Mindset
- I Believe My Brain is a Muscle
- Mistakes Help Me Grow
4. Home Connections
Home connections help bridge the learning that is happening at school and brings it into the home. Home connections are a quick task that all families can do at home with their child(ren) to help reinforce the character focus skill. There is one per week for the entire month.