Five Tricks to Increase Kindness in the Classroom
Written by Mariah Cummings
My name is Mariah Cummings. I am currently teaching 5th grade in St. Paul, Minnesota. Most of you are probably familiar with the book Wonder by R.J. Palacio, and the movie that recently came out. The first read aloud I chose for this school year was Wonder, and we had the privilege of going on a field trip to see the movie as well. The book and movie are a big part of how I introduced kindness and respect into my classroom at the beginning of the school year. I am going to share with you five ways to increase kindness in the classroom.
- Read Wonder: I would highly recommend reading the book Wonder in your class. It sets the stage for good conversations about the way we treat each other. The students are able to read about situations where peers are not kind to each other. Then students see how it affects both the bully and the victim. As you read, students build feelings and sympathy for those hurt in the book.
- Create a Choose Kind Contract: After we read the book, I created a Choose Kind Contract. We discussed what the contract meant and what kinds of things we would have to do in order to follow the contract. All of my students signed the contract agreeing to be kind to one another. By doing this, it created accountability between students.
- Set high Expectations: Another thing I do is explain to students how important kindness and respect is to me. I explain to students that I will treat them with kindness and respect, which means I will expect them to treat each other the same way. Rude comments and negativity will not be tolerated.
- Build Rapport: Building rapport between students will help in all aspects of the classroom. However, this will also establish kind, close, harmonious bonds between students where they have each other’s backs.
- Praise and Model: Model kindness when talking to students and other adults in the classroom. Praise students when you see them showing acts of kindness and going out of their way to be kind to another student.
On behalf of Bulldog Solution we want to thank Mariah Cummings for sharing how she choses kind to develop our leaders of tomorrow. You are an inspiration!