A Uplifting Eggs-periment

10minutelessonThis activity, adapted from Jaime Miller’s 10-Minute Life Lessons For Kids and shared with me by Allene Byroad of Lovejoy ISD, requires a fresh egg, a tall clear drinking glass or vase, a 1/3 cup salt, and a long-handled spoon. Start the lesson by making a thinking map about what caring looks like, sounds like, and feels like. Once your map is complete, drop a fresh egg gently into a drinking glass or vase. Ask the kids to make observations – it sunk, it’s drowning, it’s covered with water – then connect those observations to how someone who isn’t receving any caring, affirmation or love might feel. Pose the question, “How much kindness might it take to give that egg hope and bring it back to the top?”

Remove the egg from the water. Using salt to represent kindness and compassion, sprinkle in one (1) Tablespoon for every suggestion that students give you about how they could make that egg feel loved and keep it from drowning. Make sure to use the entire 1/3 cup of salt. Stir in the suggestions vigorously for good measure, then gently drop the egg back into the water. It should float, but if it doesn’t, use that to reinforce with students that everybody’s different and maybe this particular egg needs even more caring, love and affirmation before adding another Tablespoon or two. When the egg floats, reflect with students on how we can use caring to lift one another up.

Check Out This Book!

littlefirtreeThe Little Fir Tree by Margaret Wise Brown is a TREEmendous holiday tale of generosity and gratitude. Hoping against hope to find its place in this world, the little fir tree just wants to be a part of something. Its wish comes true when the father of a bedridden little boy comes to get it from the meadow and take it home so that it can be a special part of his son’s annual Christmas celebration. They decorate the tree and sing carols around it. After that, it became tradition for the dad to dig up the tree to bring it to the boy, then replant it for another year after the holiday has ended.

Then one year, the dad doesn’t come and the tree is left feeling sad and alone. I don’t want to give away the ending, but I think your students will be pleasantly surprised about why the tree no longer gets to go to the boy. Use this heartwarming treasure to talk with your students about how the story illuminates the spirit of the season. What do your students think made the Dad think to go get that tree every year? Ask students what they think what it must be like to be the boy at the beginning of the story. Why do they think he can’t walk? And what is it like for him in the end. What must have happened so the boy doesn’t need the tree to come to him anymore? How must the dad have felt about that?

Show You Care With Good Manners

mannerstickersAre you looking for ways to reinforce a caring climate in your classroom while you teach your stars to shine? Then you’ll be glad you found these Be A Star with Good Manners stickers. My friends at Really Good Stuff sent me a complimentary pack – wasn’t that kind? – and I passed them along to a first-grade teacher to give them a try. That afternoon, she called her class together for a sensitivity circle and said that she was going to give one of her students a “We Are Polite” award. Instead of telling them why, she ASKED them why, and, sure enough, they all knew exactly what that child had done that day to be deserving of the manners award. Not an award with monetary value, mind you, or even remotely connected to anything tangible, just a sticker that she can share with her family that simply says, “I won the We Are Polite award today” and the good feeling inside that goes along with being affirmed. How much fun is that, winning a contest you didn’t even know you’d entered! And guess what happened the next day? You’ve got it – the students were all trying to win a manners award, just in case the teacher did it again. This time she gave the name of the award and they had to tell her which student they think earned it. Stick with good character; it always comes back your way.

Planned Randomness

snowbearSince the holiday season lends itself to gift-giving and merriment, it follows naturally that it would be the perfect time to plan some Random Acts of Kindness. I stumbled on Mrs. Carroll’s blog recently and her suggestion is to plan 25 Random Acts of Christmas Kindness (she calls it RACKing) as a fun countdown between December 1st and the 25th. Click here to see what she’s got in store.

I also recently saw that Mrs. Bockart’s sixth-grade class at Friendswood Junior High started an ARK (Acts of Random Kindness) Club. They met as a group and decided on their first mission – to give out high fives in the car rider line. Easy enough, right? The following week, they cleaned up in the cafeteria. A little messier, but much appreciated, I’m sure. I don’t know what they’ll think of next, but what I do know is that these strategically planned acts of kindness ultimately make the world a happier place for those who give AND those who receive.