This is a three-part lesson that helps students become aware of being caring and kind citizens in their school, home, and community. The first part of the lesson introduces the meaning of caring and kindness to the students, in terms of recognizable behaviors. Students realize how they are already caring, kind citizens. The second part of the lesson focuses on their community outside of school and how it is a caring or kind community. The last part of the lesson gives the students an opportunity to demonstrate thoughtfulness in school and at home.
- identify and participate in caring/kindness activities at school
- identify and participate in caring/kindness activities at home
- identify and participate in caring/kindness activities in the community
- produce a community of caring/kindness poster
- Caring/Kindness cooperative learning sheet
- Talking chips (counters, poker chips, etc. – one per student)
- 3 pieces of chart paper
- Several copies of local newspapers
- Poster Board
- Paper tree and paper “ornaments”
Have students sit in cooperative groups of 4–5. Give each group a Caring/Kindness sheet and ask students to participate in a Round Table. Say “begin” and ask the first student to write down one way he/she can be caring or kind to others and then pass the paper to the next student. The paper goes around the group until it comes back to the first student. Then it is time to share: using the talking chips, give each student a chance to share one of the items on their sheet. While the students share the ideas, prompt them to recognize where the acts of caring/kindness occur: school, home or in the community. Record each response on one of the three chart papers that has been labeled Home, School, or Community. After all recorded responses have been shared, add more examples to the lists if desired.
Part Two: 30-40 minutes
Have students get into a circle and count them off by fives. Each number will represent a new cooperative learning group. Once in their new groups, ask students to try and find more ways their community is caring using their local newspaper. The groups should find at least five articles, captions, or advertisements that show compassion in the community. The students will cut and glue the items on a poster board and label the board OUR CARING COMMUNITY. When each poster is completed, the groups should share their posters with the class and hang them in the school where others can celebrate how caring their community is.
Part Three: 10 minutes
In closing, have students verbally reflect on how they feel about the kindness in their community. Ask them if they think they can do more. Next, give them the opportunity to do more by introducing a Caring Tree. Hang up a paper tree and tell the students it will be their job to catch each other performing acts of kindness or compassion. When they witness an act of compassion, they should write down the person’s name on a paper ornament, leaf, etc. Provide students with a regular time to hang the slips of paper on the tree and tell everyone about what they witnessed (such as during class meetings).
Creation of Caring Posters
Additions to the Caring Tree
Extensions and Adaptations
The teacher should be available to help each cooperative group as they complete each part of this lesson. The students in each group are also working cooperatively with a common goal of completing the task to the best of their ability. The groups should be heterogeneous.
Related Links and Resources
Kagan, Spencer. Cooperative Learning. (Kagan Cooperative Learning, 1997)