Kindness is one of our core values in our school, classroom and lives. We try to find ways to encourage kindness every chance we get. Our room is full of kindness books (you can find our favourites on this Books About Kindess list). We try to show videos whenever we have a few small moments in between teaching and we positively reinforce kind acts when we see them.
We were looking for a new project to do this year with our students to connect us all together. Collaborative art pieces are fun to construct and so instead of picking one out, we decided to try something a little different.
We had our students come up with the possibilities, narrow them down and then convince us which ones might work in our classroom. They went online and found all kinds of interesting pieces of art. Most were quite extravagant and would require a significant investment, but one little voice spoke up with an idea.
What if we did something where we were all in each other’s art?
That is when we designed this project.
Kindness Art for Everyone
Every student in our classroom painted two pieces of paper. One piece was their “background” where they painted it one colour. The other piece could be painted however they wanted as long as they understood their painting was going to be chopped up into pieces.
We did our painting near the end of the school day and after cleaning up the room left them to dry overnight. Students put their names on the back of the painting that would NOT be chopped up. This is to signal which painting could be chopped.
Ninja Note: Don’t forget to have the adults in the room do the paintings, too.
In the morning we had two parent volunteers bring paper cutters into our room and then chopped up the paintings. They started on the short side of the painting and cut pieces across the paper in strips about .5 to 1 cm wide. They don’t have to be perfect. It took about twenty minutes for twenty-eight paintings.
If you don’t have parent volunteers, you might have to do this yourself or have students use the paper cutter (it will depend on the design of the cutter for safety reasons).
Once the pieces are cut, the fun part starts.
Students take their pile of chopped up painting and give one or two (depending on how many pieces they have) to classmates until they have run out. We asked our students to start at their desk and pass out one to every desk until they ran out. If they still had some leftover, they could pass them out to whomever they liked.
This meant every students now have one copy of their own paint and then one pile of pieces from everyone else in the class.
Now they had materials to make their own piece of art.
Some students chose to do some weaving. They cut straight lines into their original painting and then wove pieces from the class through it. When the weaving was done, we allowed students to use a little white glue or tape to secure the edges. Some students cut out shapes and then attached these to other papers.
Other students glued all the pieces like stripes onto a piece of paper. They cut out shapes (almost all of them were hearts) and then attached these to their paintings or pieces of paper.
And yet other students glued the strips down in all different directions and then cut out shapes. We had lots of hearts, but some students did other things like spell out kind.
We put all of these pieces of art on one bulletin board (which we let the kids design and put together). They put all of their art up together. We titled our display We are All Woven Together.
One of our students wrote a little blurb about how we did our art project.
Videos that Show Kindness
This one is a cute and short little video from A Better World. When you watch it the first time you’ll notice that the picture slowly changes from black and white to colour. We didn’t tell our students this in advance. If they don’t see it the first time, watch it a second time.
This video has a song that references God, but the video is really great so if you cannot reference God in your classroom, play it without sound. Have your students watch for the different acts of kindness.
This is a short film out of Australia. It is a great one to get students talking about what it means to be kind. A question we pose to our students is, “Should we expect something in return for being kind?”
This one is a little longer. It’s a silent film written, directed and acted by students. It is worth the watch and lends itself to a discussion about bullying. We asked our students, “What would you do differently?”
Acts of Kindness
Our class brainstormed a huge list of all the things we could do to be kind to one another. Our only stipulation was that we wanted things that didn’t cost money. This way there was no excuse for anyone to be able to try to perform as many of the acts as possible.
- Hold the door open for someone.
- Tell a joke.
- Pick something up off the floor. Return it or put it away.
- Tidy up one of the common areas of the classroom or school.
- Put items in the lost in found when you find them.
- Make a bookmark and leave it in a book for someone.
- Leave happy notes in someone’s desk or locker.
- Pick up garbage and throw it away.
- Compliment a friend.
- Straighten out the book shelf.
- Smile at someone.
- Say hello to someone.
- Ask someone new to play.
- Let someone go in front of you in line.
- Write a thank you note to someone who works at your school.
- Tell someone why they are special.
- Draw kind notes with chalk on the sidewalks.
- Talk to someone new at school.
- Start a food donation drive for your local food bank.
- Start a sock drive for your local shelter that helps people struggling with homelessness.
- Teach someone a new game.
- Read to someone.
- Tell your teacher something you enjoyed learning about.
- Make cards and letters and deliver them to a nearby seniors home.
- Say hello to younger students.
- Wave at kids on the school buses.
- Share a special toy with a friend.
- Help someone tidy their desk.
- Clean up your desk or table after lunch without being asked.
- Write a thank you note to someone who does something nice for you.
- Tell the principal how great your teacher is.
- Donate board games to the classroom for indoor recess.
- Draw a picture for the custodian.
- Clean up after yourself.
- Write a poem for a friend.
- Let someone borrow your fancy pens. (This one might have been aimed at me.)
- Collect books for the library with the bar codes all the same way so it’s really fast for the librarian.
- Make a get well card for someone who is away sick.
- Donate coloring books and crayons to the classroom for indoor recess.
- Say thank you to people who hold the door open for you.
- Clean up your desk without being asked.
- Give high fives to a friend.
- Dry the slide at the park with a towel after it rains.
- Dump the sand out of your shoes outside so the custodian doesn’t have to sweep it up.
- Let someone have a turn first.
- Cheer for someone.
- Listen to someone if they need a friend.
- Ask someone how they are doing and then listen to the answer.
- Give someone a compliment.
- Tell someone they are doing a good job.
- Give up your chair to someone who needs it.
- Wait your turn.
- Find out when people’s birthdays are and then sing them Happy Birthday.
- If it’s raining, share your umbrella.
- Leave a kind note in someone’s shoe or boot.
- Recommend a book you think someone will like.
- Walk to or from school with someone.
- Ask someone who is alone to play with you and your friends.
- Offer to help with a problem.
- Help someone with their homework.
- Tell someone if their backpack is open and offer to zip it up for them.
- Teach someone how to do something.
- Help someone tie their shoes.
- Return something to someone.
- Offer to do an errand for your teacher.
- Clean up around the pencil sharpener.
- Hang up things that have fallen off the wall.
- Donate old books you don’t read to your classroom or a younger classroom if they are for younger students.
- Wipe up water that may spill near the drinking fountain.
- Say please and thank you.
- Say something nice about someone to someone.
- Whisper to someone if their pants are unzipped.
- Let someone else pick the game at recess.
- Eat lunch with someone who might need a friend.
- Use kind words when working with classmates (even if you disagree).
- Help someone with the water fountain (especially someone who can’t push the button and drink at the same time).
- Be ready when the teacher asks you to be ready.
- Don’t argue with the adults who are trying to help you.
- Offer to help someone with their classroom job or do it if someone is away.
- Say “Good Morning” or “Good Afternoon” to people.
- Learn someone’s name you didn’t know and then use it when you say “hello.”
- Write kind messages on rocks to leave around your neighbourhood.
- Give someone a hug (with their permission).
- Offer to help out another teacher.
- Make a card or picture for the people who work in the office.
- Offer to help out the custodian.
- Help organize the math tools (or art, gym equipment or anything else that needs help).
- Offer to show someone around the school who is new or doesn’t know where something is.
- Cheer up someone who looks like they need it.
- Offer to show someone how to do something so the teacher doesn’t need to.
- Offer to clean the whiteboards or chalkboards.
- Offer to sharpen the pencils or empty the sharpener.
- Show someone a book on a topic they like. This is helpful in the library.
- Tell someone you are happy to see them.
- Write your teacher a nice note on a sticky note and hand it in on your work.
- Include someone who doesn’t have a partner for class work.
- When someone is trying their hardest, be patient and let them figure it out (or help them if they ask for help).
- Tell someone you appreciate them.
- Tell someone when you hear something nice about them.
- Be kind every single day.
Some of our students need a bit more work than others to understand how to make and keep friends. We designed a Building Positive Relationships Unit a few year ago and have since added one for younger students as well. We have one suited for older students between Grades Four to Six (though we have used it with students as young as Grade Three) and another for younger students between Grades One to Three.
Kindness is contagious and it’s free. We hope you enjoy spreading kindness wherever you go.
Tell us about something someone did for you that was kind and let others get inspired by it. Leave us a comment below.