When I was in the classroom, apart from academics, I always had one primary focus. I wanted to foster an environment that was like a family. Creating a community that leans on kindness, collaboration, and empathy is the basis for a nurturing learning space. As with so many aspects of education, this year has presented quite a challenge for teachers. Whether you’re teaching in-person, remotely, or somewhere in between here are acts of kindness you can implement with your students. We all know that the world can use some now more than ever.
Clean Up Your School
We know that it takes a lot to keep a classroom and school looking sparkling clean. Show your appreciation for the custodians and janitorial staff by making a point to tidy up your classroom with your students. It’s a great way to finish off a terrific day of learning. Explain to your students the intention of why this is important and they’ll be much more inclined to “buy-in” to the task at hand.
Write Thank You Cards to School Staff
There are so many unsung heroes at almost every school: the custodians, the cafeteria workers, the groundskeeping crew. Students should really know who these people are and why their job is important. Take some time to explore this with your students, especially what small steps your class can take to make their job easier. Finally, finish it off by having your students write sincere thank you notes to the support staff at your school.
“Adopt” a Younger Classroom
If you teach an upper elementary class, see if you can team up with a colleague in Kindergarten or 1st grade for this weekly activity. Their younger students may be honing in on their reading skills and reading to an older student will bring a huge wave of confidence. It also is a great feeling for these younger students to have a “big kid” as a friend. Be sure to work with your administration to follow your school’s social-distancing guidelines.
Remote Learning & Homeschooling
Find a Local Charity
If your students are learning at home, you may have more flexibility during the school day to find a project that is truly special to them. Have a conversation with your student about local and national charities or special interests that may interest them. From there, see if there is something nearby that has availability for young volunteers. It gives back to the community, but also lets students take ownership of what they choose.
Start a Neighborhood Food Drive
Together, with your child, reach out to neighbors to see if they have any food that they are willing to donate to the local food bank. The past year was particularly difficult for many families around the country and many food banks have experienced shortages. Even one can per household can make a difference.
Send a Care Package to Deployed Men and Women
Show your students how to be thankful for the men and women who are overseas with the Armed Forces. Put together a care package with some essentials (sunblock, socks, lip balm) and non-perishable snacks. Your local post office can be a great resource for what to send, where to send it, and how to ship it.
For acts of kindness, sometimes your students don’t need to look much further than their own family. Do they have a grandparent they haven’t been able to see in a while? By teaching your students the value of kindness, you can help create a new generation of carers and helpers.