FAQs

Here are some answers to questions we're often asked about our foundation and our educator materials. If your question isn't answered here, please ask us via email. We read every message we receive and will reply quickly. You can also read more about us here.

GENERAL FAQs

ABOUT OUR EDUCATOR MATERIALS

What does RAK stand for?

Excellent question! ‘RAK’ stands for The Random Acts of Kindness Foundation.

Who is RAK?

We’re glad you asked! Established in 1995, RAK is an internationally recognized nonprofit based in Denver, CO. We consist of a small team that is dedicated to inspiring everyone to practice and spread kindness in their own lives. Ultimately, we’re here for the kind-hearted do-gooders who are looking to spread kindness where they can which is why we provide FREE online resources to encourage acts of kindness across the globe (schools, communities, every-day experiences, etc.).

What are RAK’s goals?

Other than to make Earth the kindest planet in the universe? Ultimately, we’re striving to make kindness the standard in every aspect of life. Whether it’s helping a stranger in need on your way to work, instilling the importance of kindness in students in a classroom, or a mutual demonstration of appreciation of those closest to us, our end-goal is to make kindness not an act at all, but a reflex. And to make the need for kindness obsolete by the overwhelming and undeniable presence of it everywhere.

How is RAK funded?

We are very fortunate to receive funding through a private endowment. Because of this, we are unable to accept donations from public or private donors but how kind of you to think of us—we’re blushing!

How many people work at RAK?

Our little family of four here at RAK is a small but effective team who, with the help of so many others (Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!), works hard to keep kindness alive in schools, homes and communities!.

What are RAKtivists?

Random Acts of Kindness activists! Imagine walking into a party with some of the kindest people you could ever imagine meeting. Best party EVER! Basically, all of these awe-inspiring people unite as one community to share kindness stories and ideas in the hopes of making our world a better place and the day-to-day not only rewarding but life-changing. Don’t they sound great?! They are. The best part is you can become one too! Apply to be a RAKtivist.

What is RAK week?

RAK Week is a worldwide celebration of which takes place the second full week of February each year.

What are other important dates for RAK?

Well, every day is an important day for kindness so we strongly encourage it daily. However, there is an internationally- recognized day of kindness on November 13th known as World Kindness Day. Additionally, we have an annual Random Acts of Kindness Week that is held the second week of February! In 2017, it will take place February 12th through 18th. Actually, now that we think about it, any nationally- or internationally-recognized day can be a great opportunity for some extra kindness (National Coffee Day, National Sibling Day, etc.)! Excellent question! You can download monthly calendars with all kinds of cool celebrations here.

Are you affiliated with any other organizations?

Yes. Our sister organization, The Foundation for a Better Life, is the only organization with which we are officially affiliated. Please visit their website for ideas on how to live universally positive values: www.passiton.com.


What is “Kindness in the Classroom®”?

“Kindness in the Classroom®” is an interactive, fun, evidence-based K-8 curriculum that uses kindness as a framework to teach social and emotional skills to students! The program was designed to bring intentional kindness instruction and practice together with social and emotional learning (SEL) skills.

Helping students become self-aware, able to self-manage, have greater social awareness, stronger relationships and an easier time making responsible decisions; this is why “Kindness in the Classroom®” exists. They reflect these skills through expressions of kindness at school, at home and in their communities.

Why is it important to teach social and emotional learning (SEL)?

There are so many reasons! Aside from increased academic performance, SEL programs like “Kindness in the Classroom®” improve attitudes and behaviors and reduce emotional distress. Students receiving the curriculum had greater empathy and sympathy for fellow students and teachers, were intrinsically motivated to be kinder and caring and showed decreased aggressive and antisocial behaviors. Interestingly, teachers reported they had significantly fewer conflicts with their students after teaching the curriculum and said they had more time for teaching... which means the students had more time for learning.

How long are the lessons and how much preparation is needed?

Teachers’ time is precious. With that in mind, the lessons are divided into several fun activities which can be taught for 30-50 minutes once a week. There are additional project ideas that can be completed over multiple days and give students a deeper level of understanding of the material they’ve just learned. Each lesson gives a time estimate to aid teachers in adapting the lesson into shorter class periods. Most teachers report needing no more than 15 minutes to prepare for the lessons.

How will I know if “Kindness in the Classroom®” is working in my classroom?

If the curriculum is being implemented with fidelity, classrooms (and entire schools!) should observe a substantial climate change... for the better. Research conducted on the “Kindness in the Classroom®” curriculum showed that those schools implementing the program saw increased empathy, greater peer acceptance, higher levels of intrinsic prosocial behavior and more noticeable positive emotions in the students. An easy way to measure the success of the program in your school is to look for fewer referrals to the office for discipline issues. That’s worth 30 minutes a week, right?

How can I successfully implement “Kindness in the Classroom®”?

The fact that you’re even considering implementing SEL in your classroom means you’re already on the road to success. The next step is to get the school leadership on board and request professional development for the staff. Research suggests that leaders provide the structural support required for successful implementation by allowing for dedicated time to teach the lessons (see principal’s commitment). Your school leader could choose a site coordinator to help with ongoing support of the curriculum. They can also support a successful integration of the program by providing time for content specific training/professional development (see training section).

What is the principal’s commitment to making the curriculum successful?

Leadership support is critical to successful school-wide implementation! A few ways of supporting the staff include:

  • Attend an introductory “Kindness in the Classroom®” principal/teacher presentation.

  • Share information on “Kindness in the Classroom®” with the school staff and school community, including parents. Host a presentation on the curriculum.

  • Allow for dedicated time to teach the curriculum.

  • Celebrate kindness during school assemblies, during morning announcements, at sporting events, in the hallways, etc.

  • Use kind/positive language in conversations with staff, students and parents.

See the Educator Guide for more ideas on how school leaders can support implementation.

How is “Kindness in the Classroom®” structured?

The curriculum is flexible. It can be started at any time during the school year and in any grade. It can be used in small groups in the classroom or as an entire school. Everything has been created in a way to fit seamlessly into any classroom and can be taught by paraprofessionals, teachers, psychologists, social workers, coaches, counselors and even student leaders.

The greatest impact will come when the curriculum is taught throughout the year, with fidelity in the entire school. To support a holistic approach of integrating SEL, class projects and home extension activities are included. Classroom toolkits and posters are also available for use all over the school campus to further reinforce student internalization of kindness skills.

Do I need training in order to implement “Kindness in the Classroom®”?

Training is not required to use the curriculum, but it is encouraged. The lessons are designed for ease of use and minimal preparation. If your school is planning to use the curriculum within a grade level or throughout the school, it is beneficial to use our free training called "Cultivating Resilience Through Kindness" to get acquainted with our materials.

Do I need to teach all the lessons? Do they need to be taught in order?

Activities are sequentially built within each lesson unit. The units are designed to help students develop their SEL skills through a process of being inspired, feeling empowered to be kind, acting on that feeling, and sharing their experiences. However, you may implement selected lessons and activities within a unit based on your needs.

How does the curriculum fit with district, state and national standards?

“Kindness in the Classroom®” is aligned to Common Core State Standards as well as the Collaborative for Academic and Social and Emotional Learning standards. The curriculum is also aligned to many of the Colorado Academic standards including Comprehensive Health, Reading, Writing and Communicating, and Science.

What are the ongoing costs associated with the program?

The curriculum itself is free of charge and available from our website. Many of the materials required for lessons are items that teachers and schools already have on hand. There are some suggested books that enhance the lessons which might need to be purchased. Teachers should plan on making enough copies of the handouts and worksheets to accommodate the students in their classrooms.

Can I modify and adapt the materials for students who need Tier II support?

Through the Universal Design for Learning format, RAK has developed a comprehensive and inclusive curriculum. Each lesson includes tips for diverse learners to assist teachers with inclusivity. It is also encouraged to ‘pre- teach’ lessons to familiarize students with the content before they experience it in a large group. We’re always interested in hearing feedback from teachers about what has worked for them, as well!

What is the Kindness Paradigm?

The Kindness paradigm is a 4 step process that the RAK curriculum uses to help students increase in their social emotional competencies.

Step 1 (Inspire): Each lesson is designed to inspire students to explore various concepts of kindness through different learning modalities.
Step 2 (Empower): Teacher-led instruction and discussion sections are designed to empower students to assess how they can be kind in their daily lives.
Step 3 (Act): Students set an objective to act kindly in the future through a project or activity that provides students with a chance to practice or demonstrate kindness.
Step 4 (Share): Lesson activities conclude with students sharing and reflecting on their acts of kindness with the class and others.