Be Kind!

This week, my school hosted an Anti-Bullying/Kindness week.  I'll tell you what, the timing could not have been more perfect.  My second graders were in need of some reminders about kindness (it's that time of year). Today's post is a quick peek at some of the activities we did this week.

I read aloud several books. Here's a look at some of the titles we read.  Each one is perfect for addressing kindness, friendship, and/or bullying.

After reading The Recess Queen earlier in the week, we brainstormed words to describe Mean Jean and made this poster, based on a similar one I found on Pinterest.  We talked about how these words described a bully, not a kind person.  Then, the students wrote in their journals about ways in which they are not bullies. Their writing focused on how they show kindness.  A few students ended up calling themselves the "Kindness King" or "Kindness Queen."  Hehe.

I always read Chrysanthemum at the beginning of the year, but I read it again this week.  The kids love it, and it's a great book to use when when talking about the impact of our words.  Second graders know that words can hurt, so after discussing this concept, we explored how easy it is to say unkind words.  I gave each table group a tube of toothpaste and a paper plate.  Their job?  Squirt all the toothpaste out.

Then, I gave them a plastic toothpick and asked them to put the toothpaste back into their tube.  Immediately, they realized how difficult this was.  They complained that it was too hard, and declared that it was downright impossible.  Then, we discussed how our words are like the toothpaste that was easily squeezed out of the tube.  That is, it's easy to say mean things to others.  Then, we talked about how those words can't be taken back, just like the toothpaste couldn't be put back into the tube.  It was a great illustration!  I found this idea on Pinterest.

One of my goals this week was to also remind the students that our differences are what make us unique and that if we were all the same, we'd live in a pretty boring world.  Our differences should be celebrated, not ridiculed.  I read Spaghetti in a Hot Dog Bun and we discussed the story (being comfortable with being different, standing up for oneself, treating others with kindness). 

Then, we thought about how we are all different/special and made these fun word frames.  The students thought it was hilarious to stick their heads through the opening in each of their frames. Truth be told, it was pretty funny. I originally saw this idea on Pinterest.

My favorite read alouds of the week were tied to some great discussions (The Yellow Tutu, Marlene, Marlene, Queen of Mean, and Bullies Never Win).  Originally, I planned to task the students with writing a poem after reading one of the books, and to make a class anchor chart after reading the others, but sometimes your plans go out the window.  After each reading, I engaged the students in conversation about the content/message in the book and found that they were so receptive to our discussions that we ran out of time for the other stuff!  It soon became obvious to me that the students felt like they had a voice and  could relate to the topic. They simply wanted to be heard.  And, sometimes, you just have to do what's best for the kids at a given point in time.

Don't forget to encourage your students to be kind today!  Toodles!

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