Even though I teach at a Catholic school, my students are not angels. Like all humans, they sin and sometimes make bad choices. We constantly instill in the children to treat others with kindness and respect. We teach them how to be leaders and peacemakers. But we keep in mind that they are still children. Children sometimes say things and do things that go against what we teach. We uee these moments to serve as examples of what not to do.
Lately some of my students have been complaining about being teased and excluded from a couple other kids in class. We had a class meeting about this and I spoke with the children in question. A few quiet days passed and the complaints started once again.
Today in class I passed out a sheet of paper. I told the children to crumple the paper-they could even stomp on it if they wanted-but they could not tear the paper. The children were slightly confused, but did it anyone. While they were crumpling it I told them to say mean things to the paper.
After a minute passed I told them to stop. They were instructed to smooth the paper out and say sorry to it. The kids did, some giggling, others still confused. I asked them if the paper was back to normal and they said no. So I told them to say sorry again and really try hard to get the wrinkles out.
Needless to say, the paper would not go back to normal, even with all of our smoothing over and saying sorry to it.
This lead to a discussion about being kind and how mean words/actions forever scar a person's heart/soul. I even told them stories about times that I was a kid and teased/excluded. I told them that all these years later, I still remember and it still hurts.
I think I'm going to start planning anti-bullying/team building each week. It fits right in with religion!
What do you do to teach kindness in your classroom?