By joining our mission at Classes 4 Classes, Inc., you are providing hands on experiences for your students that teach kindness, compassion, and empathy. The following ideas will enhance your social curriculum and keep your classroom caring!
Curriculum Ideas to Actively Engage Your Students:
Keep track of acts of kindness on your students’ behalf: Keep a “caught being kind” jar and fill it throughout the week with things you observe. At the end of each week choose a few to post in “The Caught Being Kind Corner” of your project page.
Have each student keep a “Kindness Journal”: Encourage students to write about their own acts of kindness or acts that someone else has done for them. Post excerpts, on your project page.
Encourage students to reciprocate the kindness: If someone does something nice for them, they then need to do something nice for someone else. Brainstorm with your students what some acts of kindness might be. Consider trying to tie them into other areas of your curriculum.
Pick a theme to focus on for a day, or a week: (caring, kindness, compassion, empathy, love, etc). Focus on that theme in writing, illustrating, reading and any other subject areas it would be appropriate.
Have students sign a kindness pledge: “I pledge to be kind…,” “I will be kind to…” Post these in your classroom. Alternatives could include a caring pledge or an empathy pledge. Discuss with students what each of these looks like and, if appropriate, ask for their help in writing it.
Write and illustrate how the receiving class can use or benefit from what you’re giving them:These can be pictures, paintings, letters, poems, short prose, etc. Upload these to the site for the receiving class and donors to see.
Read books with common themes of friendship, kindness, compassion, and empathy: Keep a list of the books, their themes, and how the authors explore these different themes. Post them on your project page, in the “Book Nook.”
Have students write reader responses to the books: For younger students, provide sentence starters, and have them write responses to the books you’ve read. Post these reader responses to your project page. For example: “In ‘A Chair For My Mother’ by …they worked together to…”.
Encourage students to “pay it 4ward” in their own lives: Share these in your class and keep a running list. Post them on the site, in the “Ways we’re Paying it 4ward” section of your project page.
Give weekly awards: Create prizes for “the kindest act”, “the friend award” or “the most creative way to pay it 4ward” and use them as incentive for students to practice these themes. Get creative; the possibilities are endless!
Have students work with buddies or Appreciation Partners: Pair students up have them interview one another. Depending on grade level, you can make standard questions or have the students brainstorm 2-4 questions for each other: “What’s special about you?” “What are you really good at?” The next day, have students “introduce” their partners based on their answers to these questions. This builds community and allows each child in your class to shine!
Think of larger projects to do as a class: Write letters to troops, Veterans, residents of a local nursing home. Create cards for the school’s staff, the students’ bus drivers, etc. Working as part of a team to create and accomplish goals together is an important community building activity.
Write a class book: Have the class work together to write and illustrate a story around the themes of friendship, caring, kindness, and compassion. Have each student contribute a page. It could be narrative, non-fiction or poetry.
Create an art project as a class: As a team, create something you can display in your room or school hallway, such as a painting, drawing, mural, or sculpture, and use it to generate awareness of your involvement with C4C. In the process, discuss with your students what’s required to be successful when working as a team and highlight themes such as patience, acceptance, kindness, and taking turns.
Keep track of your project on the C4C site: Allow your students to follow the progress of donations so they can clearly see how they are helping on a daily/weekly basis. They can also keep track of their own work and the effort they are presenting through their curriculum on your project page.
Have students write about their experience: Ask your students questions to generate ideas: “What did you like best about the project?” “What was fulfilling about giving to someone else?” “How did it make you feel?” “Who would you want to help next?”
Prepare your students to be pen-pals with their receiving class: We encourage you to continue your communication with the students of the receiving class, even after your project for them is complete. Brainstorm with your students about what questions they might have for the receiving class and what they’d want to know about them moving forward whether its questions about the gift given, or questions about the receiving class’s “pay it 4ward” experience.
When we use active experience to show our students the impact of helping someone else, it ultimately changes our social climate. Our hope is that every K-8 student in the United States will have the opportunity to be a part of Classes 4 Classes.
Kaitlin M. Roig-DeBellis
Executive Director & Founder
Classes 4 Classes, Inc.