Courtesy of Canon-McMillan School District

Two students look for their names on the “Pot of Kindness” in the second-grade hall at Muse Elementary.

The second-grade teachers at Muse Elementary wanted to shift what could be thought of as a challenging year for everybody where everything seemed gloomy and down to a year filled with kindness, love and hope. They, therefore, decided that spreading kindness would be their theme this year, and it worked alongside their Teamology school-wide program.

Jess Auman came up with an idea of a pot of gold and having students write adjectives on the gold coins about each other in her classroom. This then developed into a grade-level kindness activity displayed in the second-grade hallway. The students were working on adjectives in grammar, so the kindness exercise tied nicely into their curriculum. Students used adjectives in a sentence or many different adjectives to describe their classroom buddies. In Karleen Bileck’s second-grade classroom, they read a story, “The Class Promise,” part of the school-wide behavior program. This is a story where a new student uses unkind words to describe his new classmates. As a class, they discussed how it felt when somebody says something mean and how it felt when somebody says something nice. They discussed the nice qualities people have and how everybody is different, and what makes them unique.

Each student in second grade was given a “gold” coin and was asked to write their name on the front. These were then shuffled and passed around the class. Each coin has at least three different adjectives or kind messages on them.

Bileck said she loved seeing the students’ reactions to things said about them.

“While completing this activity, I found the children were very excited to share nice things about their friends with others. It led to discussions in the classroom and children were saying thank you to each other. The best part is seeing the children stop at the bulletin board looking for their name and reading all the kind words about themselves, sharing with other students and looking for other students who have similar qualities. It is a wall of smiles!”

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