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WeekExploration QuestionsStudent ChallengesEducator ChallengesCurated Resources

Week 1

💭 What is kindness?

💭 How do you know when a person is in need of kindness?

💭 Can kindness ever be hurtful or not go the way you intended it to?
✏️ Kindness Log:

Keep a class or individual log(s) this week of ways you shared kindness with others.

What did you do? How was it received? What would you do the same or differently next time?
✏️ Acts of Kindness:

Think of colleagues, families, or students that you could perform a small act of kindness for (surprise cup of coffee, pick up the office mail for, unexpected note, etc).

After, reflect:

What gets in the way of performing these acts more regularly?

What do the people you did these things for have in common? Why do you think you chose them?

Are there some people you purposefully took off of your list? Why? What, for you, would compel you to want to perform an act of kindness for one of these other people?

📖 🎥 🖥

Picture Book: The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein

Novel: Amina's Voice by Hena Khan

Video: Take a Seat, Make a Friend (Soul Pancake)

Website Article: Kindness Ideas (SpreadKindness)

Older Students

Novel: American Street by Ibi Zoboi

Flyer: The Dos and Donts of Digital Kindness (Guilford Press)

Video: Charity that Hurts (Poverty Cure)

More Resources & Lesson Ideas

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Older Students

Lesson Plan Ideas

Week 2

💭 How do we know when someone feels grateful?

💭 How do you show that you are grateful?

💭 When is it hard to show gratitude?
✏️ Gratitude Letters:

Reflect on people, events, or opportunities you are grateful for but maybe have not expressed. Write a letter (or poem or create a video or some other form of expression) and share.

Option: Create a Gratitude Board in your school by taking photos or including QR codes of students and their Gratitude Letters
✏️ "Delayed" Gratitude:

Along your teaching career, think of someone, from either the present or past, that your feel grateful for. Write that person a letter, email, note, or social media post letting them know.

After, reflect:

What was this experience like for you? For them?

Why do we not always share thoughts like these?

Do some people hear or feel gratitude more often than others? Who? Why? Is there a way you could change this?
📖 🎥 🖥

Picture Book: Last Stop on Market Street by Matt de la Peña

Novel: Amina's Voice by Hena Khan (continued from week 1)

Video: Kids President's 25 Reasons to be Thankful (SoulPancake)

Website Article: Do You Have a Positive Attitude? (Wonderopolis)

Older Students

Novel: American Street by Ibi Zoboi (continued from week 1)

Article: Teenagers: Are You More Entitled Than Grateful? (UC Berkeley) 

Article: Stop Making Gratitude All About You (Harvard Business Review)

Video: The Science of Gratitude (The Tremendousness Collective)

More Resources & Lesson Ideas

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  • An Awesome Book of Thanks by Dallas Clayton

  • Did I Ever Tell You How Lucky You Are? By Dr. Seuss

  • Thanks A Million by Nicki Grimes

  • Andy and The Lion by James Daugherty

  • The Mine-O-Saur by Sudipta Bardhan-Quallen

Older Students

Lesson Plan Ideas

Week 3

💭 What is empathy and why is it important?

💭 What can help you move from assuming you understand someone to really understanding them better?

💭 What makes it hard to do this?
✏️ Mix It Up (At Lunch or in Your Classroom)

Watch the videos at Teaching Tolerance by Monita Bell, the coordinator of Mix It Up At Lunch. Host a Mix It Up At Lunch event in your school or adapt for your classroom.

Here are several "Mixers" activities by Teaching Tolerance to get you started
✏️ Trading Places

(With permission, of course), trade places with a colleague for a period or other set amount of time. For example: teach a different grade (as a substitute); or during a lunch period shadow a different role than yours (like Library Media Specialist, or paraprofessional, or principal, or English teacher); or shadow someone not in education over a weekend or evening; etc.

After, reflect:

What did you assume before and experience now? What are you taking away from the experience?

What assumptions might you carry about others you were not able to shadow or trade with, both inside and outside of education? How can you learn more about their experiences?
📖 🎥 🖥

Picture Book: Sam's Pet Temper by Sangeeta Bhadra

Picture Book: Far Apart, Close in Heart: Being a Family When a Loved One Is Incarcerated by Becky Birtha

Novel: Amina's Voice by Hena Khan (continued from week 1 and 2)

Video: Empathy: Sesame Street

Website Article: Developing Empathy: Early Grades

Older Students

Novel: American Street by Ibi Zoboi (continued from week 1 and 2)

Article: How Empathy Can Change Your Life,
According to Science

Video: The Danger of a Single Story (TED Talk)

Video: Against Empathy (The Atlantic) *mild themes, language*

More Resources & Lesson Ideas

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  • Yard Sale by Eve Bunting

  • Enemy Pie by Derek Munson

  • The Smallest Girl in The Smallest Grade by Justin Roberts

  • The Three Questions by Jon J Muth

  • The Invisible Boy by Trudy Ludwig

Older Students

Lesson Plan Ideas

Week 4

💭 How do we take action?

💭 Can action sometimes hurt more than help?

💭 How can we be partners with those we would like to "help"?
✏️ Participate in a service learning project to show empathy in action. Here are some suggestions for service projects you can take part in:


✏️ Known and Unknown Stories

Charitable giving and charitable acts often help us feel good, they let us know we are making a positive difference for others. Depending on the act, however, we sometimes are left only assuming we know other people's experiences.

Alone, with your students, or with colleagues, plan how you can uncover more stories and experiences of the people your action project(s) have helped. Who can you interview? What could you watch? What could you read?

Some inquiry questions could include: Are people who benefit from charitable assistance "helpless"? What are their goals? In what ways are they helping others? What can we learn and gain from the people we are aiming to "help"?
📖 🎥 🖥

Picture Book: After the Fall by Dan Santat

Anthology: Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls edited by Elena Favilli and Francesca Cavallo

Video: Kindness Boomerang Video

Website Articles:
Grades K-2 Kindness Project Ideas (Random Acts of Kindness Foundation)

Design for Change

Kind Campaign (Girl-on-Girl Bullying Prevention)

Older Students

Article: How to start a Kindness Club(Random Acts of Kindness Foundation)

Video: #Hashtag Lunchbag (HashtagLunchbag.com)

Video: Generous Store

More Resources & Lesson Ideas

Click to Open

Boxes for Katje by Candace Fleming
Miss Rumphius by Barbara Cooney
King for a Day by Rukhsana Khan
Chicken Sunday by Patricia Polacco
The Quiltmaker’s Gift by Jeff Brumbeau
Malala: A Brave Girl from Pakistan
One Plastic Bag by Miranda Paul Older Students

Ways to Inspire Global Collaboration
Teaching Empathy through Design Thinking

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