Monday, December 1, 2014

Kindness Elves in the Classroom - and a Freebie!

Happy December!!  It's Lisa here from Second Grade Stories.  The holidays are upon us and I love it!  Guess who's coming to visit our classroom today? 

It's time for the Kindness Elves to start making their daily appearance.  I started thinking about doing this last year in my room after seeing this blog post:
http://theimaginationtree.com/2013/11/alternative-elf-on-shelf-tradition-kindness-elf-kindness-elves.html

It really got me thinking about how I could infuse some kindness into our daily classroom activities.  Kindness can be hard to teach.  Some groups of students find it easier to be kind than others, and actually TEACHING kindness has to be meaningful and purposeful.  One of my teammates last year had her students each choose one person who was part of our school and write an anonymous letter thanking them for what they do.  The anonymous part was hard!  Most kiddos want to be recognized for what they do, so sneaking it in under the radar was not what they were used to.  But, just the feeling (new for some of them!) of doing something kind for someone was the idea here.

Last year I worked with my students to create a "Christmas Kindness" writing display.  We used this resource - love it!
http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Christmas-Kindness-Kit-2-Writing-Crafts-Display-459706
 
Students wrote a little blurb about how they showed kindness.  I added real holiday lights and it made for a great display.  I still plan on doing it this year, but I was looking for something more.  That's when I remembered the blog post I had read.

I know that Kindness Elves are not new this year - I've seen many classrooms doing them now instead of the traditional OTHER elf.  For me, I was looking to use them to show students how they could show kindness every day - even in the little things they did... and that the result of that kindness could be very powerful, even if they didn't know it.

I found some little elves on Amazon and knew they would be perfect for my little covert operation.  There are 4 different elves and they each have Velcro on their hands - perfect for hanging around the room! 

The next part was to come up with 17 different ways (yep, that's how many school days till Christmas break!) students could show kindness.  I wanted most of those ways to be easy and quick.  It's going to be the little things that matter when we're trying to develop a culture of kindness.  Most students are quick to think of ideas such as food drives, helping someone when they fall (does that one come up in your room ALL the time for being kind/caring/etc?), etc.  But I wanted them to realize that it's not always the bigger things we do that count - it's the little, everyday actions that mean the most.

Soooo... after a bit of brainstorming... here are the "Kindness Cards" that the elves will be bringing each day! (You can click on the image to download them - black and white version, too!)
https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B2ize_mAbVGMNWNRWXVEUEhhQ3c/view?usp=sharing
 
My plan is to have one of the elves bring a card every day until Christmas break.  They might show up in the morning, after lunch or even right before we go home.  I chose acts of kindness that would be easy for my kiddos to do, ideas were small things so they would understand it's not always about big projects, and mixed in ones they could do at home, as well.
 
I'm excited to start this with my class this year.  I have such a wonderfully caring group of students I know they will really take this to heart.  And who knows - if kindness elves take over classrooms everywhere, think of what a huge impact we can all have on our little part of the world!
 
If you're doing kindness elves - or any kindness acts in your classroom, I'd love to hear from you!
 



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