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Why you gotta be so mean? Build class community with a kindness challenge!

Building a positive class community is so crucial to your students feeling excited to come to school, feeling willing to ask classmates for help, and feeling like your classroom is a place they truly belong.

But it’s not as easy as slapping up a “be kind” bulletin board and hoping the message sinks in. Our students need to see examples of kindness, collaboration, caring, and respect modeled each day.

One way to do this is with a kindness challenge.

How to make a kindness challenge

Every year I start the fall with a 25 day kindness challenge with my students.

Each day is a new small act of kindness for students to try. Some are things they can do for classmates, some for people in the school, some for family members, and some for themselves.

The acts only take a few minutes but they’re so powerful. Each day students get a new, simple act of kindness and they get to see how they impact the people around them.

Student reflections

Don’t stop there though. Encourage students to reflect on how their actions make others feel and how they make them feel.

You can make generic reflections that fit all kinds of challenges, like Who were you kind to? How do you think it made them feel? How did you feel? Or you can make them specific to each challenge.

When students take a minute to reflect on and write about their act of kindness that day they better understand the impact their actions have and are more likely to try them again in the future.

These reflections make great conversation topics for morning meetings or community circles too.

Ideas for acts of kindness

If you’re looking to create your own kindness challenge try some of these ideas:

•Say hi to someone you wouldn’t normally.

•Smile at people you pass in the hall.

•Write a kind note to someone you appreciate at school and hand deliver the note.

•Offer to help with dinner at home tonight.

•Notice how others are feeling today and practice showing them empathy.

Display daily challenges

Curious about how to reveal each day’s new challenge?

Option 1: You could create a bulletin board or calendar and pull away that day’s number to reveal the hidden challenge.

Option 2: You could use a slideshow to reveal that day’s challenge right along with your daily agenda or morning work.

Option 3: Keep it simple. Read each day’s challenge out loud at the beginning of the day and remind students as they day goes on.

Try a week of challenges for free here! Or get the entire 25 days of challenges here!

Interested in more ideas for building class community? Try this blogpost on positive class culture!

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