Christmas Kindness - Teaching Kids to Give!

I am so excited to celebrate Christmas with my students this year. We have 15 days before break and I know it will fly by. I am trying to be very intentional with my lessons and activities. I don't want to just incorporate the typical holiday symbols and call it good. I want my students to learn about the true meaning of Christmas, and have some fun too!

I wanted to celebrate kindness and giving. I know there are lots of teachers out there using kindness elves and random acts of kindness in their classrooms and I think that's great! Here's how I decided to teach about kindness in my classroom.

Being in a Christian school I am focusing on Christ and his birth this year. I found the perfect book to help us get started.
The Sparkle Box is a wonderful story about a gift that we can give to Jesus on his birthday. This gift is what we do for others. The boy's parents write down things they do for others on small pieces of paper and put them in the sparkle box under the tree. On Christmas morning they open the box and read them together, these are the things they have given to Jesus as a birthday gift. It is a great story with wonderful illustrations and my students loved it.

I got this sparkly box from the Dollar Tree, and the cute ornament that I attached to the front. I put it under our class tree and we are going to add our own strips of paper to it each day for the next 15 days!

I picked up small notebooks for each student and candy cane shaped pens just to make it special and fun. I made these cute labels for the notebooks and placed them on each desk over break so they would walk in and find them this morning.

When they walked in this question was on the board...
They wrote their answer on the first page of their journals and we discussed together what kindness is. I was amazed at the responses, the depth of their understanding surprises at times!

We brainstormed ways we could show kindness in our classroom and around our school. We made a list of people we would like to do something special for and chose 15 activities for us to do. One for each day now until break!

Today we began by making an "encouragement jar" for our wonderful principal. I created these simple kindness tags for students to write a kind or encouraging comment on...(click on the picture to get them for your class!)

After everyone wrote their note we folded them up and placed them in a small jar that I got from the Dollar Tree.

One of our students took it down and dropped it off in the office for our principal to find. They were all so excited to leave a surprise for someone else. Our principal stopped them later in the hallway and thanked them. It was wonderful to hear their whispers of excitement over having made someone else happy! They couldn't wait for tomorrow's surprise.

We are going to leave these notes and candy canes or small candies for each of the other classes in our school. We plan on leaving kind notes on lockers of the older students, and making more encouragement jars for other staff members including the secretary and janitor.

I love how this has taken the focus off of getting and put it on giving, none of the things we are doing will cost the students anything but they will have big pay offs when they see the smiles on other's faces. We are going to keep using our journals each morning to record our thoughts on kindness and throughout the day they are using them to record acts of kindness that they see in our school and classroom. It is amazing how much kindness you find when you look for it, and you give it back!

We've got a lot more going on over the next few weeks! I'll be back to share more later this week including our Christmas writing center activities and some cute ornaments we are making. I hope every one is having a wonderful start to their December!
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  1. Fun idea - glad you are able to have your kids do this! And that they are enjoying it so much!

  2. I loved the Sparkle Box book and the idea surrounding it. I think this would be a great classroom idea with the reading of the class related notes in class before vacation and then at the end of the year. It goes along with another idea I have just read on (bottom right corner of page). The kids make gifts for each other on a random basis, even making gifts for kids who aren't in the same social group. Lesson learned about giving and taking.


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