I don’t know about you but I love the Christmas season. I love the twinkle lights, the music, the food, the smell of evergreen, decorating the house, and celebrating the birth of Jesus. I love the JOY that this season brings and this year I really wanted to bring the love, joy, peace, and kindness of the season into my classroom.
I know that MANY people use the “elf on the shelf” as a holiday tradition and I saw a blog post early this year about a spin on that elf. Anna, from the Imagination Tree blogged about using “kindness elves” in her house and I fell in love with that idea. I wanted to create a version of this idea without using “elves” and incorporating academic standards into it. Therefore, I created a packet called “The Kindness Helpers.” In this packet, the helpers leave your students a letter each day sharing an idea for your students to do throughout the day to share kindness to those around them. The packet includes picture book suggestions to read, writing prompts, and activities that you can do with your class.
My helpers made a grand entrance and took over my entire white board on the first day. They left “spread kindness” notes all over the classroom along with a letter, a video, a book, and a gift. My students were in AWE of our new friends and loved listening to our first book on kindness.
As I read our first book on kindness (Ordinary Mary’s Extraordinary Deed), my students ate their candy cane gifts from our new friends.
After we read our letter, we discussed ways that we could be kind to our friends at school that day. My class came up with a BUNCH of ideas that I wrote on the board. We then greeted our friends during our morning meeting by giving our friends either a hug, handshake, or high five. My students spoke kind words to all of their friends during this greeting and you could FEEL the joy and kindness in the room. Just like the book had said, when we share kindness with others, WE feel joy, too.
We also watched this video to give us some ideas as to how we could be kind!
Throughout the past week, our helpers brought us letters and writing prompts on how we could be kind to our friends. We read “Kindness to Share from A to Z” and then wrote letters to people who were important to us. We also wrote letter to our friends this week.
On Friday, our Kindness Helpers left us the book “Heartprints” (a FAVORITE of mine!) for the second time this week. However, this time, along with the book, they left the ingredients for us to make tangible heart print ornaments/keepsakes for their parents. We had been charting the heartprints that we were leaving on our friends on the board (I drew a heart each time I heard a student speak a kind or encouraging word during the day) but my class was SO excited to make REAL heartprints.
As a class we made 4 batches of salt dough. The recipe was very easy. All you need to make it is: