Spreading the Kind Word
Learners take action for the common good to promote kindness in their school. They give smiley stickers to others or create posters to display around school with messages that promote kindness or teach people how to respond to bullying behavior.
The learner will:
- recognize that citizens have a responsibility for the common good.
- list ways to help both the bully and the victim.
- brainstorm ideas to prevent bullying behavior.
- (K-1) spead kindness and recognize words and acts of kindness with smiley stickers.
- (second grade) create posters that teach others to stop bullying behaviors in the classrooms, school, and playground.
- Read aloud copy of "Have You Filled a Bucket Today? by Carol McCloud
- a small bucket, such as a sand pail OR make a poster with Bucket Filler vs Bucket Dipper
- lots of small paper hearts to put in the pail
- (optional) poster paper and art supplies for decorating (markers, crayons, colored paper)
- (optional) circle stickers (one page per student)
- (optional) Handout One: Bucket of Kindness
- bullying: repeated teasing, hurting, or scaring of someone who seems different
- bully: a person who likes to tease, hurt, or scare people. A bully often picks on people who seem different.
- philanthropy: giving time, talent, or treasure and taking action for the common good
- victim: a person cheated, fooled, or harmed by another
- bystander: a person who is present at the action but isn't involved or isn't one of the main participants
Communicate with the students' families so the families can support the anti-bullying campaign from home. Share information with families about bullying behavior and how to respond to bullying. Send a few of the paper hearts home with each student. Ask them to explain practicing kind behavior to their family members and to fill a container when acts of kindness occur.
Guide students in reflection before, during, and after they take action to prevent bullying and promote kindness.
- Before they take action, reflect with students on what they might need to be sensitive about as they carry out their plan.
- Reflect with the students as they carry out their plans. Discuss how it is going, how students are responding, whether they see any new acts of kindness, and what they should do next.
- Discuss whether their action has made a difference. Do they feel more safety and trust at school.
Remind the students of the book you read yesterday about filling buckets with kindness. Put a bucket in front of the class. Set paper hearts next to the bucket. Describe for the students a kind word or action you observed this morning or in the recent past. As you describe the kindness, put one heart in the bucket. Ask students if they did anything kind today or observed something kind. The students may put a heart in the bucket as they describe something kind. As the bucket fills, ask the students if they could make a plan for filling buckets in their classroom and the school. Discuss ways to promote this idea throughout the school.
Remind the students about the discussion in the previous lesson about ways to stop bullying behavior and other unkindnesses at school. Pair students and ask them to come up with ways to help the bullies and the victims at school by "filling their buckets." Walk around the class and listen to what the students are talking about. Have some pairs share what they talked about.
Tell the students that in all communities some people step forward and take action to make the community better. Those people are called philanthropists because they share their time, talent, or treasure to help others. Discuss things people do in the community (donate money to a hospital or volunteer at school). Tell the students that they can be philanthropists because they have a lot of information to share with others about how to prevent bullying behavior at school.
For kindergarten and first grade:
- Tell the students that they are going to fill one another's buckets with kindness in the classroom and school. Give each student a supply of circle stickers on which they draw happy faces. They hand out stickers to others when they hear kind words or see kind deeds.
- Brainstorm kind things they can say and do for others to fill their buckets. Talk about filling the buckets of people in the class and in the school and community. Optional, provide a copy of Handout One: Bucket of Kindness. The students can wear the stickers they earn or put them on the bucket handout.
- The students may explain their project to other classes and teach them about kindness and about filling buckets with kindness around the school.
For second grade:
- Group students into teams of four. Have them first discuss unkind behaviors they see at school (without using names) to determine the issue/need. Ask them to come up with ideas for promoting kindness in their classroom and in their school/playground.
- Bring the class together to share what they discussed. Write students' ideas on the board. If none of the teams came up with the idea of making posters and displaying them around in the school corridors, suggest that idea and discuss with the students what the posters could contain.
Help them make a plan that will teach others about bullying behavior and how to address it. The service project may include making posters with positive messages or anti-bullying tips. Or the students may perform role-plays for other classrooms. (In the role-plays, students should not perform the role of bully.) Or they may start a campaign of kindness that includes filling buckets with kind deeds. The class may do one project, or each group may do a different project.
Reflect with students about ways to be sensitive to students' feelings as they carry out their plan.
Supply to each team the following items: poster/construction paper, crayons, markers, colored paper, scissors and glue. Ask them to work together and come up with an idea/scenario about bullying, which they will create/draw on paper. Their drawings can vary: They can make a comics sketch, a small narration, illustrations of acts of kindness, or write a poem. Explain that these posters will be displayed in the corridors/classrooms of their school and the idea behind them is to help students prevent bullying in their school. Ask them to be as creative as they can.
Reflect with the students as they carry out their plans. Discuss project progress, how students are responding, whether they see any new acts of kindness, and what they should do next.
Students determine the needs at their school. They make a plan that will teach others about bullying and how to stop it. The service project may include making posters with positive messages or anti-bullying tips. Or the students may perform role-plays for other classrooms. Or they may start a campaign of kindness that includes filling buckets with kind deeds. See this YouTube video about one boy's action against bullying: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5Ctb1ehw3W0
Read about the service-learning project called Swing Into Kindness by Indiana students who were taught using this Spreading the Kind Word lesson to guide student learning and action.
Ms. Koch is an Indiana teacher who says, "teaching service and philanthropy to students builds leadership skills, confidence, empathy, and a culture centered on kindness and helping others."
Strand PHIL.I Definitions of Philanthropy
Standard DP 01. Define Philanthropy
Benchmark E.1 Define philanthropy as the giving and sharing of time, talent, or treasure intended for the common good.
Benchmark E.3 Recognize that citizens have a responsibility for the common good as defined by democratic principles.
Strand PHIL.IV Volunteering and Service
Standard VS 01. Needs Assessment
Benchmark E.1 Identify a need in the school, local community, state, nation, or world.
Standard VS 02. Service and Learning
Benchmark E.1 Select a service project based on interests, abilities, and research.
Standard VS 03. Providing Service
Benchmark E.1 Provide a needed service.
Benchmark E.3 Describe the task and the student role.