Kindness in the classroom is so important to me. Here are some tips that have helped me lead my students there every day.
It all starts with with a morning meeting (The Morning Meeting Book by Roxann Kriete and Carol Davis). Our morning meeting encourages unity, and when students feel united they treat each other with kindness and respect.
- We greet each other with a friendly handshake, a smile, and a “good morning!”
- Before students sit, they are given a prompt which often asks them to recognize another student for something positive. For example, “Tell about a time that one of your classmates did something thank-worthy.” We go around the circle and share our answers to the prompt.
- The students sit by someone different every day, they memorize each other’s names, and it creates an atmosphere of respect and belonging.
Because we start our day off immediately speaking kindly to each other and hearing each other’s stories, it sets the tone for every other part of our day. When they are all treating each other with kindness it creates a safe space in our classroom to learn and try new things without fear of being judged or laughed at.
When the students leave at the end of the day they may not remember what math facts or comprehension skills we covered, but they will remember how they were treated and how they felt.
I always want my students to look forward to returning to class each day, that’s why it’s so important to set a standard of kindness in my classroom.
-Jessica Wolpe, Pleasant Hill Elementary School, Oregon