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Teaching Kindness to Students

teaching kindness to children

Preschool Social Emotional Lesson

The highlight of my day/week/month, whatever it is, is when I go into a classroom to do a guest lesson. I’m now getting into the habit of putting onto paper what I’m doing so that I can share with other parents and teachers. I love getting to share the joy I get from doing these! (You can find the previous lesson recap posted here.)

This week’s lesson is brought to you by silly poo-poo jokes and red hair….

I Can Be Kind

Using children's literature and digital materials to teach a social-emotional lesson to preschoolers

Learning Target: I can be kind during my day so that everyone around me has good thoughts about me.


Kindness Starts with You – at School by Jacquelyn Stagg illus by T. Omaskat

We Don’t Eat our Classmates by Ryan Higgins

I Can Help a Friend Boom Cards™ or Google Slides™

Feed the Monster Boom Cards™ or Google Slides™

(links contained in the lesson plan through TpT)

I had everything in the room and set up before we called to the students to the carpet.

Introduction (1-3 min)

Start the lesson with a brief introduction and instructional control activity. You can ask questions such as “Would you rather eat a spider or sleep in the snow?” Bridge into the topic of the day with, “Now, tell me something you can do to be kind! I’ll start. I was kind this morning when I put the clean dishes away.”

I started with “What do you eat for breakfast” and then did a few “Would you rather….?” Favorite questions were, “Would you rather pick up poo or eat a fly?” and “Would you rather wear a swimsuit in an igloo or a snowsuit at the beach?”

Book Chat (10 min)

Tell the students you’ll be reading two books, one learning, and one fun. Show the book covers and talk about what they might be about.

Read Kindness Starts with You – at School and stop throughout the book to check for understanding. Suggestions:

What is Maddy’s job?

How does mom feel when Maddy uses good manners?

What could you do if you saw someone alone at recess?

Do you sometimes get hurt? Does it make you feel good when someone helps you?

Did Maddy do her job well today?

Hand out the pictures that align with each page as you read the book or post them on the board as you read. After the book is read, you can go back and review or have the students “share” the picture they are holding to bring it back together.

Talk about what they can do today to show kindness. Share ideas now, but then tell them to keep their ideas for your activity later.

Read We Don’t Eat our Classmates. Try to link “kindness” during the book but still have fun with it!

I ran out of pictures for the number of students I had today, but they were flexible thinkers! The teacher was able to give a quick job to the student who didn’t get a picture (and the other student didn’t mind), but I made sure to include everyone in the discussion as we reviewed the pictures.

They LOVED the dinosaur book. I simplified some of the words to go quicker and used “friends” more often than “classmates” because they could relate to that better. We did lots of looking at emotions faces in the illustrations and thinking about “what might happen next?”.

Boom Cards™ / Google Slides™ (5 min)

Use one learning activity and one fun one. Suggested: I Can Help a Friend and Feed the Monster

The Boom Cards version will allow for audio, but the Google Slides version is just as good if you want to simply have a discussion throughout. Pull each slide up, read the scenario, see if you can make “smart guesses” about what the child might say. Smart guesses don’t need to be the exact same as the child in the scenario. They can have a different smart guess, as long as it makes sense. Make sure to praise all answers that are smart guesses. After discussing, reveal what the person DID say. “Did we have some of the same ideas?”

As we went through the “I can help a friend” Boom card, we listened to the scenario, and then students called out what they thought the person might say. Sometimes they said the same thing the person did, and sometimes it was different. It was important to point out that there was no right or wrong answer, but it was fun if we thought of the same thing! We made lots of “smart guesses.”

And the Feed the Monster deck was an absolute hit. Even my one little student who has severe social anxieties participated by feeding the monster when her turn came. Of course, they loved it most when the monster ate a toilet and a TV.

Worksheet Activity (10 min)

Prepare beforehand the “kindness options” by cutting out and having enough for everyone plus extras. Another option is to have students cut out their own.

Give worksheets out to each friend. Talk again about the choices they thought about to show kindness. Friends can color and paste the pre-made ones (from the story) or come up with their own kindness ideas.

Walk around the room and support those who need extra help. Connect the activity to “kindness.” End with a group share about what kindness they can show during class today and also when they go home tonight.

Students were given the worksheet and a strip of three icons pre-cut so they could just cut those three apart, making the skill of cutting easier. The teacher and I walked around the room and assisted as needed and facilitated discussion. I got to draw blue pig tails on a picture per a student’s request, and we giggled about our creativity and flexible thinking. The teacher did a fantastic job of supporting one of the students who uses minimal verbal language by giving her the words to repeat, “I need help.” The student imitated the teacher and received the help she needed. Teacher also did a great job of sitting herself between the tables of a couple IEP students so that she could swivel and support whomever needed the help in the moment.

Overall, another wonderful fun day in preschool-land! My favorite place to be!

You can get the full lesson here.

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