Is Your Classroom Cultivating Kindness?

This is the seventh article in the “Creating the Classroom of Your Dreams” series. This series will uncover a multitude of concepts for teachers to implement that will create a well-functioning, parent-inclusive classroom. Check out all articles in this blog series HERE.

Thanksgiving is just around the corner. As we approach it, we are provided an opportunity to reflect on our own occupations. In classrooms, we strive to cultivate kindness and create an atmosphere of teamwork among peers and staff. Through this, our expectations are set for our students. Have you created a classroom to cultivate kindness this year? Are you being the coach for your team in leading Character Choices in and among your teammates?

Kindness cultivates in the classroom with our Character Choices. This starts with you!

Character Choices develops our students into who they are going to become, so integrating these into our classroom every day has to be our number one goal. Integrating this can be challenging at times, but far worth the results in the end.

Here are a few ways to integrate Character Choices into your already busy daily schedule:

  • Scenario Cards: While lining up to leave the classroom, or during transition time, use scenario cards to discuss different scenarios that may arise during the day. Students share out and hold a conversation on how something may play out from start to finish. This gives students a realistic situation and a realistic solution to the problem that could tie in any character trait learned throughout the year.
  • Good Things: At the end of the day, discuss “good things” that have occurred that day or week. Unlike the traditional sharing of good things, these good things should take place at school so students are prompted to think about the positive aspects of school. You will likely hear good things like, “I saw another student being responsible in our classroom today,” to “I watched a few students use citizenship on the playground by cleaning up trash.”
  • Daily Conversations: Another easy way to integrate Character Choices is to use your monthly trait when talking with students. This gives students an opportunity to apply each trait in real life – right then and there. It also helps students to use traits in their daily conversation to start forming their character.
  • Gratitude Journal: This journal could be implemented during morning work time. The easiest way to have students go about these is simply making a bulleted list of things they are grateful for. Another idea is drawing a thinking map of things they are grateful for. In the end, students can share out these ideas. This idea is great for the traits compassion, perseverance, courage, and cooperation.

All four of these ideas are simple to implement and easy to use on a daily basis and will hopefully start to develop an atmosphere of teamwork among peers and staff in your classroom. Our expectations in the classroom will start to fall into place after character is discussed and cultivated. This all takes place through you and your reflection on daily interactions in and among your school.

We strive to grow our students in every way possible, and using Character Choices in your classroom will start this process. Through this, your students will grow and develop their character. We want them to be the best they can be academically and personally.

Strive to cultivate kindness in your classroom this year. Be the best coach you can be, so in the end, you see the best character in your teammates.

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Kassandra Reynolds is a Kindergarten Teacher at West Michigan Academy of Environmental Science in Walker, MI. She has been in the education field for almost three years. Kassandra went into teaching to impact children’s lives and make a difference. She received her Bachelor’s in elementary education from Cornerstone University.