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Teaching kindness is just as important as teaching Maths and Literacy. Creating a culture of kindness in your room means not only do your students feel safe and happy, but they are also more productive. This is one of our favourites ways to teach kindness at the start of the year.
When talking to your kids about bullying and the effect mean words can have on a person I like to do the 'wrinkled heart' activity.
You might like to read the story Chrysanthemum by Kevin Henkes
It is a funny and honest school story about teasing, self-esteem, and acceptance.
As you read the book, pass around the large paper heart. Each time Chrysanthemum was teased because of her name, scrunch up the heart. Every time someone did something nice to her, try to smooth it out. By the end of the story talk about what the heart looks like and the wrinkles could never be completely smoothed out.
Hopefully your students get the connection that their own hearts feel wrinkled and crumpled when not so nice things are said to them. You may like to put bandaids on the heart as a way to show that they can own their mistakes and apologise (with each students name on a bandaid). The heart will probably still be wrinkled, but it is healing. Add the poem to the middle of the heart and display around the room.
You could also use the heart and everyone goes around the circle saying something someone has done or said to them to upset their heart and make them sad. Each person scrunches a bit of the heart as they do this. Afterwards they go back around and say something they could do to fix the heart. As they do this they try to smooth a piece out.
After the heart has been smoothed out, ask the children, “Is the heart all fixed now?” Some kids might say yes while others might say “no, because it’s still kind of wrinkled.” Ask them how do you think this person feels now. Discuss that although we have tried to fix the heart, the scars are still there. Even when we say we’re sorry, people still remember the hurtful things we did. This can lead into a discussion about thinking before we before we speak and trying to prevent someone feeling this way.
Afterwards you may like to draw and write about how they can be a good friend and prevent bullying.
Or on the provided template draw in the heart and then write underneath how we can prevent a wrinkled heart.
Also included are little template as you might like to either make bangles, necklaces or badges to take home to remind them.
Before you speak,Think and be smart.It's hard to fix a wrinkled heart.Click to find links to the activities here