Inspiring people to practice kindness and pass it on to others
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Submitted by Kerri - Ashland, Kentucky
The objective of this lesson plan is to help students understand the need to consider others and plant seeds of kindness all around them.
Class Activities - over a period of time
Field Trip to Head Start Class (or younger students at same school)
Elementary to Junior High
For 1st activity -
Book: The Tiny Seed by Eric Carle
Large container to hold soil
Plastic to cover tables and fl oor
For 2nd activity
I started this activity in March to allow students the best time to watch their fl owers grow. You could also begin this activity in reverse order and plant the flowers last instead of first.
Before starting the activities, I brought a small flowerpot and a seed packet to my classroom. I also drew a picture of a flower on chart paper.
My fifth graders brainstormed ideas on how to be kind to others. We used interactive writing to write each idea around the flower picture that I had drawn. After each student wrote down his or her idea, I had them drop a seed into the pot. We continued to do this until our chart was overflowing. I then covered the seeds with soil and watered them.
At that point, I asked the students what we had just done. They explained that they had planted seeds. I asked what kinds of seeds and then went into detail about how with each seed we described a kind act. Therefore, we had planted several seeds of kindness.
After our introductory activity, as a class, we decided that we wanted to help others plant seeds of kindness - beginning with ourselves. The students and I worked together to practice reading aloud The Tiny Seed by Eric Carle. Once we had it down pat, we invited our Head Start Program to come and join us in planting seeds of kindness.
When they arrived, my students read the story aloud to the Head Start kids. They then asked questions about the book and what happened to the seed. The youngsters had many responses and we then described that we would be planting flowers. My students explained that as we plant a seed, it’s the same way we plant seeds of kindness to other people. They carefully explained our interactive writing activity and demonstrated how we did it together. Each of my students then paired up with one of the Head Start children and helped them plant their own seeds into their own flowerpot. The students then helped the youngsters label their flowerpot with their name. We reminded them as they left to remember that every time they looked at their growing flower to remember to pass on kindness to others.
For the next part of our project in May, we went to visit the Head Start class. We saw how their flowers were growing and asked how their kind acts were going. We asked questions to help the youngsters remember our previous activity. Many of the kids had even brought their flowers back to school to show off how their seeds had sprouted just like in the book we read!
Then my students paired up with their buddy again and this time we created clothes pin butterflies and coffee filter flowers to decorate around our growing flowers.
To make the clothes pin butterflies, the kids colored a coffee filter with the markers, then drew a face onto their clothespin, and then placed the coffee filter evenly inside the clothespin. They then used the pipe cleaners to create antennae.
For the flowers, the students colored three coffee filters with their markers and then bunched them all together, twisting them together with a pipe cleaner to create their flowers.
Once our crafts were finished, my students then escorted the little ones outside to the picnic tables where they served them snacks and juice. This was just another way to reinforce the idea of planting seeds of kindness because my kids served the Head Start students and helped them prepare their snacks, instead of eating with them. The older students loved the interaction they had with the younger children and truly walked away this year with a deeper understanding of random acts of kindness by planting little seeds of kindness.
Classrooms have the option of choosing groups within their schools instead of from other areas, or they could even visit a nursing home to create the flowers. Whatever you choose, this is a great activity where the kids get to really enjoy what they are doing!
My kids wanted to do more activities, but due to time constraints and testing we were only able to do two different activities. I have decided to start my activities earlier in the year next year, beginning with a craft for the fall and wintertime, prior to the planting of our flowers since they enjoyed it so much!
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