Kindness Curriculum: Adaptations and Suggestions for Lessons

 

Lesson 1

  • The bell practice is included in every lesson of the curriculum. At first, children might not understand the exercise, or they’ll blurt out observations. That’s normal! Eventually, all kids recognize the bell practice as a time to get quiet and listen.

  • The idea of paying attention on “the inside” and on “the outside” is a new concept for kids. They might not understand initially (and that’s okay). Repetition will help.

  • If the “A for Attention” poster relates to other classroom expectations (e.g., “Give me 5” or “Be helpful, safe, and kind”), then make use of that connection.

  • You can include additional breathing practices. For example, “Smell the flower, blow out the candle.”

 

 

Lesson 2

  • For ease of materials, sometimes a few bulbs are given to an entire classroom (rather than every child planting their own seed). This makes the planting easier but doesn’t provide enough “jobs” for the kids. Some variations: Break into two groups, allowing all kids to touch the bulb and cover it with a handful of dirt; decorate pots in which to plant the bulbs; create another “job” for kids while they wait.

  • Teachers mention wanting more materials for this lesson. This is a conversation you can have with your director. Within these lessons, there’s a balance between ease of use (buying materials and organizing them in the classroom) and engaging all the kids.

  • Some children won’t know what a flower needs to grow. You can add a book into this lesson (e.g., The Very Best Pumpkin).

 

 

Lesson 3

  • The book, Sumi’s First Day of School Ever, is out of print. It’s a beautiful story yet is also long (needs to be summarized for most classes) and the children might not easily identify acts of kindness within the book. You can choose a different book that demonstrates kind acts (especially kind acts in the classroom). Here are some suggestions:

  • When you introduce the kindness garden, the kids will love the stickers. To encourage generosity, you can ask the children, “What’s something kind that a friend has done for you?” rather than “What’s something kind that you or a friend have done?” (The kids love to share their kind acts because they get a sticker.)

  • It might be helpful to include visuals of kindness (e.g., sharing, cleaning up, helping a hurt friend) next to the kindness garden.

  • The sign-language descriptions in the booklet are not accurate and have some typos. For a short,  easy-to-follow video, go here: https://vimeo.com/300087152

  • To include more movement in the lesson, you can have the kids stand up to learn the Growing Friendship Wish (GFW).

  • Just like the bell, the GFW is included in every lesson. The first time through will be confusing for the kids. This is a wonderful chance to model curiosity and play (and that making mistakes is okay).

  • This is a long lesson, so you might not have time for the “Follow Me” game. Remember the flexibility of this curriculum: Shorten lessons, made additions, or spread out a lesson over many days. You can use the “Follow Me” game at a different time or a different day.

 

 

Lesson 4

  • The book, “A Quiet Place,” is beautiful but long. Kids often stop paying attention. Two alternatives: Read the book during a different time of the day and then reference it in the KC lesson; re-read the book (for yourself) and then summarize the story for the kids, while showing the pictures.

  • If you use stones for the belly buddies, it might be difficult for the children to differentiate the rocks. If you’re feeling creative, you could have the kids decorate the rocks in some way, so they’re easier to distinguish.

  • In some classes, the rocks don’t work well as belly buddies, especially if there are behavior issues (with the possibility of a rock being thrown). Some teachers use beanie babies or stuffed animals, as that’s more comforting for the kids (and they’re soft). 

  • This is a good lesson to tie in with the “safe place” you already have in your classroom. For many kids, the concept of a “quiet place on the inside” might be too abstract, but it can still be mentioned.

  • The CD, Calm Down Boogie, is no longer in print, so it’s not part of the materials moving forward. The most important song (which is used in this lesson) is “Breathing In, Breathing out.” The song is included as its own page in the Teacher Resources.

 

 

Lesson 5

  • The book, “The Listening Walk,” is long. Two alternatives: Read the book during a different time of the day and then reference it in the KC lesson; re-read the book (for yourself) and then summarize the story for the kids, while showing the pictures.

  • Before doing a listening walk, you can begin by having children listen to sounds in the room.

  • The “Sounds on the Farm” song (as referenced in the booklet) is not included with your materials. You can find a replacement on YouTube (e.g., farm sounds or animal actions by Greg and Steve) or you can use our 2-minute audio, which includes the bell sounds. Our version of “Sounds on the Farm” is included as a separate page in the Teacher Resources.

 

 

Lesson 6

  • Remember that you can modify any lesson! If your kids aren’t paying attention, then choose a few parts that might interest them. If your class is large, then simplify certain activities. You’re modeling flexibility, awareness, and kindness for your classroom. And you know your class best. Shorten, elongate, or change any lesson.

  • Children seem to like the book “Quick as a Cricket,” and they enjoy moving like the animals. The emphasis on kindness and emotions fits nicely with the Pyramid Model—feel free to use your own language to bring things together.

  • Regarding the belly buddies and the “Breathing In, Breathing Out” song, look back at the tips for Lesson 4.

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