Kindness Counts

World Kindness Day ~ November 13

There is no better time than the present to focus on kindness.  Around our globe, a special day is designated as World Kindess Day.  A day we can celebrate by showing acts of kindness for each other and celebrating how special each person is in our lives. 

With the current Black Lives Matters movement, Presidential Election, COVID-19, war and turmoil in communities across the globe, November 13 will be a day for us to rekindle some appreciation for humans.

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 “World Kindness Day was first launched in 1998 by The World Kindness Movement, an organisation formed at a 1997 Tokyo conference of like-minded kindness organisations from around the world. There are currently over 28 nations involved in The World Kindness Movement which is not affiliated with any religion or political movement. The mission of the World Kindness Movement and World Kindness Day is to create a kinder world by inspiring individuals and nations towards greater kindness.” (https://www.awarenessdays.com)

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Books About Kindness

Taking time to read books to learn about kindness is a great opportunity in the classroom and at home.  Sharing how others show kindness provides positive ideas that can be replicated by others, noticed throughout the day, and built upon throughout the year. 

Below are some of my favorite books to read to my students. Besides the social emotional lessons in these books, take the opportunity to provide some reading strategy work, follow up with discussion, and even create an “Acts of Kindness” class book where students engage in writing and illustrating their personal acts of kindness.

My Favorite Kindness Lesson

Besides using children’s literature to teach concepts, one of my favorite kindness lessons is about Maria.  To prepare for this lesson, I make a large paper heart and write “I Am Important” on the heart.  While I read the story to the students, whenever Maria’s heart is hurt by unkind words or actions, I tear a piece of the heart.  When I finish reading the story, the students can clearly see the impact our negative words and actions have on others.  After we hold a class discussion about what has happened, I reread the story and students help put Maria’s heart back together again.  We use tape for this task, and the students can see that even though the heart is complete again, there is certainly some remaining damage resulting from those negative words and actions.  This is a great lesson that really connects with my students.  ~ Ray, P. (1996). Resolving conflict creatively: A teaching guide for grades kindergarten through six.  Educators for Social Responsibility Metropolitan Area and the Board of Education of the City of New York, New York.

Maria's Story

One morning, Maria didn’t get up right away when her mother called her.  Finally her mother came in shouting, “Hey, lazyhead, will you get going!”  (Rip) She got up and put on some of her favorite clothes.  However, her older sister came into the room and said, “Are you going to wear those rags to school?” (Rip) 

She decided to ignore her sister’s remark and went on to fix her hair in a new style.  But when she went to breakfast, her father opened his eyes wide and asked, “What on earth have you done to your hair?  It looks like a rat’s nest.”  (Rip)  She helps herself to some cereal, the last serving in the box.  Her brother, who wanted a second bowl, complained that she always takes the most food and never leaves any for him. (Rip)

Maria was now really late for school. She grabbed up the math homework she had spent hours on the night before and raced off for school with the papers in her hand. As she was hurrying along, she stumbled and lost her balance. The math homework slipped out of her hands, and a wind came along that blew the papers along the street and into dirty rain puddles.  A sour-faced woman who was walking along and saw what happened, said, “It serves you right, girlie. Why don’t you walk like a lady?” (Rip)

When she got to class, her teacher had already begun checking the math homework with the class. When she learned Maria didn’t have her homework, she said, “Maria, you’ve got to start doing better than this. You won’t get promoted if you don’t keep up with your homework. I’m going to have to speak to your parents about your laziness.” (Rip)

At lunch time, Maria went to the lunchroom and got something to eat. But as she carried her tray across the room to a table, someone stuck out a foot, she tripped, and her lunch spilled all over the floor. (Rip) Then people laughed because she got mad. (Rip)

On the way home from school, Maria stopped in the corner grocery store and bought a box of cupcakes. “You better watch that stuff, honey,” the counterman said. “You keep eating that and you’ll soon weigh a ton.” (Rip) 

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Are you looking for more lesson ideas and opportunities to teach kindness to your students and children?  Check out these websites for more ideas.

Random Acts of Kindness

40 Kindness Activities

Bucket Fillers 101

Sing Along

Sesame Street Elmo’s Kindness

Sesame Street Sing Along

Kindness Art

Kindness Book Video

Oftentimes students learn by listening to a story.  I read this book, Have You Filled a Bucket Today?, as part of my classroom culture building lessons at the beginning of the year.  However, this is a great read anytime of the year AND focuses on kindness.  Listen as the author, Carol McCloud shares her story. 

Related Articles About Kindness

Final Thoughts About Kindess

Showing kindness can have a huge impact on the giver’s life and the receiver’s life.  THE BEST part of showing kindness is . . . KINDNESS IS FREE!!   

Don’t forget to mark February 17 as a day to engage in “National Random Acts of Kindness Day” to continue spreading smiles.

Whether using words or good deeds, being kind to others brings a smile to each persons’ face and heart!  Celebrate World Kindess Day by focusing on “throwing kindness like confetti” on November 13 AND everyday! 

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Annette Durbin

Annette has been an educator for 27 years working in the elementary classroom, district leadership, university professor, as well as a mentor for teachers nationwide. A National Board Certificated Teacher, Annette focuses her research on accelerating learning and advancing achievement, personalizing instruction, technology, and leadership in the education field.

This Post Has 13 Comments

  1. Angela

    We have a few of those kids books and love them still.

  2. Barbara

    Kindness is paramount to daily living!

  3. Kendra

    I love this post so much! We can all stand to place more focus on kindness these days, and teaching it to the youth is so important!

    1. Annette Durbin

      Thanks, Kendra! Yes, I completely agree!! I’m glad these books can assist all adults in teaching and being role models for kindness.

  4. Amanda

    What a fabulous post! I love the book suggestions and the story about Maria! Kindness is such an important concept to instill in our children.

    1. Annette Durbin

      Thanks!! The Maria story is very powerful. The kids feel her pain during the lesson and are eager to be kind and help her feel better.

  5. Sabrina DeWalt

    Maria’s Story is an excellent way to teach the concept of kindness.

  6. Elaina

    Love these book selections, we have been focusing more on kindness and ways to show it at home this week.

    1. Annette Durbin

      That’s a great family focus. Teaching this concept at home will flow over into their real lives AND your children will be able to help others see and use compassion, too.

  7. Alexis Farmer

    Awesome lessons here! Kindness is so important and not given the time of day by some people.

    1. Annette Durbin

      Yes, and you are unfortunately true about spreading kindness.

  8. Karie

    I love teaching lessons with children’s books. I would love it if all of us adults would listen and learn. I guess all we can do is it starts with us. Set an example and hopefully, it spread like wildfire.

    1. Annette Durbin

      I agree!! There is so much to learn from children’s perspective.

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