A few ideas:
Modeling, reading books that focus on this, role playing with stuffed animals, and recognizing verbally when students are kind to one another.
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Model the behavior you want to see in students and celebrate it when demonstrated by students.
I agree with Lauren. Just one more thing - try to be an example of kindness and gentleness for kids and they'll reflect you.
Not to engage in legal talk but when did teaching kindness and/or values become part of some curriculum in gradeschool? Isn't this one of those primary functions of a guardian or parent? Sorry for my ignorance.
I agree with Lauren. GREAT literature is a powerful motivator for young minds. Books such as Charlotte's Web (Grades 2 & up, supports Common Core) and The Kindness Quilt (project connection) help students to relate and reflect as they progress academically.
Extended to math, you might create a daily graph that measures different acts of kindness. Students could use the data to analyze areas in need of improvement (smile).
Finally, all themes create opportunities for writing! Students can keep a kindness journal filled with descriptive detail and drawings (a practice used by scientists).
Our school integrates character development with reading and writing. The kids love it and we can see the affect through improved behavior. (We used materials by Zaner-Bloser.)
There are two great books you can read to your students that show the importance of kindness and are great for early childhood and elementary classes!
here are the books:
1) Have You Filled a Bucket Today? by Carol McCloud
2) How Full is Your Bucket? by Tom Rath
Modeling is always the best. I start the first day of school I instilling an environment that is safe, predict-able, and consistent.
You need to treat ALL children with respect, even those that continually cross the line in class. The students see respect through your reactions in these trying moments. Taking every teachable moment that will mirror respect through books, and situations.
Children are incredibly perceptive and know when a teacher's actions and verbiage are sincere.
The problem of modeling kindness is that it is just one of many character traits we want our children to have. So how to model or teach all? Actually, it is easy. Google Pax Good Behavior Game. Find a training near you. Contact Paxis Institute - Dr. Dennis Embry. Not only will you teach character, but the long range impact is amazing. Using GBG in one year in First grade reduced drug abuse by 50 % at age 19, and just about every negative behavior by 35-70%. Look up NIDA Notes 2010 Behavior game reduces...
Best part: spend NO time adding "stuff" to your curriculum. Pax reduces disruptions and increases teaching time. Win, win, win!
Teaching children to be kind from their hearts starts with empathy-- the reward of kindness is seeing that you have positively impacted someone. When children learn to identify how to read expressions and body language they better understand how their actions impact others. Here are some good free printable worksheets and character education books that help children learn empathy: http://www.talkingtreebooks.com/blog/?p=357
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