Social Emotional Learning in the Elementary Classroom: Kindness

Kindness might be one of the most important topics we teach all year to our students.  Building a culture of kindness in your room can have a huge impact on your classroom environment.  Teaching students compassion and empathy will help lead to stronger relationships between the students, as well as between the teacher and students.  With these tightly knit relationships comes trust and leads students to feel comfortable and loved in your classroom, which in turn fosters a culture of learning.  In this post, I will share some tips and strategies for teaching kindness to your elementary students through mini SEL lessons and fun, engaging activities.

Kindness activities for kids in the classroom, including social emotional learning lessons, kindness read aloud, kindness activities, kindness song, and more engaging activities to foster a culture of kindness in your classroom!


“Classrooms can be the safe haven where academic practices and classroom strategies provide students with emotional comfort and pleasure as well as knowledge. When teachers use strategies to reduce stress and build a positive emotional environment, students gain emotional resilience and learn more efficiently and at higher levels of cognition. Brain-imaging studies support this relationship.”

-neuroscientist and educator, Dr. Judy Willis

I hope that statement helps you understand how important it is that we carve out time each day to incorporate social emotional instruction.  I would allow more time during the beginning of the semester and then transition to quick, mini lessons that you can incorporate during your morning meeting time.  These lessons were designed with that idea in mind.


Kindness activities for kids in the classroom, including social emotional learning lessons, kindness read aloud, kindness activities, kindness song, and more engaging activities to foster a culture of kindness in your classroom!

The mentor text I used for these social emotional learning lessons is Be Kind by Zietlow Miller.  I love that it gives many different examples of how students can be kind to others at school and out in the community.  When I use a mentor text for these mini lessons, I very much treat it like an interactive read aloud.  We read a different portion of the text each day over the span of five days that relates to the lesson and activity that day.  I use 2-3 questions each day to guide discussions about the SEL skill, which in this case is kindness.

We also learn a song to sing each day about kindness to the tune of Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star.


Kindness activities for kids in the classroom, including social emotional learning lessons, kindness read aloud, kindness activities, kindness song, and more engaging activities to foster a culture of kindness in your classroom!

On day one, create an anchor chart with your students that includes different examples of ways to be kind to others.  I include three different options in the unit, this one contained clip art in which you can add labels as students describe the act.  There is also a blank one that you can add ideas that students come up with of different types acts of kindness.

Kindness activities for kids in the classroom, including social emotional learning lessons, kindness read aloud, kindness activities, kindness song, and more engaging activities to foster a culture of kindness in your classroom!

Students always make their own mini anchor chart that they add to their SEL Notebooks.  I only have them illustrate and label four acts of kindness from the class anchor chart.

Kindness activities for kids in the classroom, including social emotional learning lessons, kindness read aloud, kindness activities, kindness song, and more engaging activities to foster a culture of kindness in your classroom!

For day two, we learn about how to give others a compliment and how compliments can make you feel.  I assign students a partner, or you can just use your classroom partners.  Before they write a compliment to their partner, go over different examples of compliments.  I would ask them to focus on compliments related to their partner's character.  Make a list of different compliments for students to refer to during the activity.  They can afterwards, exchange compliments and discuss how it made them feel to hear the positive comments.

Kindness activities for kids in the classroom, including social emotional learning lessons, kindness read aloud, kindness activities, kindness song, and more engaging activities to foster a culture of kindness in your classroom!

Day three is always game day!  You will play Acts of Kindness BINGO with the whole group.  Give each student a game board and small items, such as counters, to cover their spaces.  You will pull out one card at a time a read the act of kindness on the card.  Students will cover that space if they have that scenario on their board.  You can play this a couple of times with your group.  This game exposes them to different acts of kindness that they can incorporate into their day.


Kindness activities for kids in the classroom, including social emotional learning lessons, kindness read aloud, kindness activities, kindness song, and more engaging activities to foster a culture of kindness in your classroom!

Kindness Koala is this week's SEL animal character.  Read the poem together and have students trace the poem to add to their own Kindness Koala.  


Kindness activities for kids in the classroom, including social emotional learning lessons, kindness read aloud, kindness activities, kindness song, and more engaging activities to foster a culture of kindness in your classroom!

Finally, on day five, each student will receive a blank puzzle piece.  After listening to the whole story, students will illustrate and write 2-3 sentences describing an act of kindness.  Once everyone is finished, you can put the puzzle together on your bulletin board along with the included label, "Big Kindness."  In the story, the author describes how small acts of kindness can come together to create something big.  This is a great way to illustrate that to students.  Their acts of kindness can spill out of their classroom and into the school and community.

By fostering a culture of kindness in our classroom, our students will grow socially as well as academically.  I hope these lessons help give the students the tools they need to be successful in the classroom and beyond.  You can find the Kindness Social Emotional Learning Activities by clicking HERE or on any of the photos in the post.

Join us next week, when we cover our last topic for the month of January, RESILIENCE.  You can read more about LISTENING and MAKING GOOD CHOICES on the previous two posts.  Although, we are finished with our January Classroom Reset Series, I will continue making these SEL lessons and posting them to my TPT shop.  They also will be sold in a growing bundle, if you would rather save by purchasing that.  Thank you, as always, for being part of this community and striving to teach your students to grow through SEL.

Kindness activities for kids in the classroom, including social emotional learning lessons, kindness read aloud, kindness activities, kindness song, and more engaging activities to foster a culture of kindness in your classroom!














2 comments

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