Picture Book SEL: What Does It Mean to Be Kind?

One of the areas that we are trying hard to focus on this year is simply being kind to one another.  After a year and a half of being out of physical school, the students are having some trouble speaking to each other in a manner that we would consider polite and kind.  So I decided we should start working on our kindness right here at school.

I read them What Does It Mean to Be Kind?  This is a very simple book with easy, practical suggestions for being kind to others.  We then thought about how those ideas could be applied to school.  The kids filled the entire front whiteboard with ideas!  (so they KNOW how to be kind....we now will work on actually implementing it!)  

I then asked the kids to draw a picture of what a KIND SCHOOL would look like. They could draw one big scene with lots of ideas of kindness in it, or several blocked off areas with examples of people being kind at school.  Most choose to draw a sort of zoomed out school with different vignettes of kindness happening all around.  

Then, the students took their pictures and wrote a paragraph describing what that kind school would look like.  Since this is third grade, I helped them construct the topic and closing sentences, and they pretty much wrote the body on their own.  

We then took those paragraphs and pictures, and displayed them on the wall.  This took a few days to complete, as drawing and writing both take new 3rd graders (who haven't been physically in school for a while) quite a long time, but all in all, it was time well spent.  Did they solve the kindness and interpersonal issues that we are having?  No.  But it set us on a good path towards working on those skills for this year!

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