The Lasting Effects of Teaching Kindness

Our students got a big win today! Our school was named the national champion in the Middle School Kindness Challenge, and we celebrated with an assembly where we surprised the kids with the exciting news! 

We saw the challenge as an opportunity to enhance students’ sense of safety, support, and acceptance in our school. Our school has experienced many changes over the past few years. The challenge helped boost teacher morale and had a positive impact on student accountability and kindness awareness. 

Some of the activities we participated in included creating a Kindness Quilt. Students wrote down on paper patches kind acts they saw or did. During Saturday School, a few students were asked to help hang the kindness patches in the lobby. These students were excited to be asked to participate in something so positive, and it was a great way to incorporate kindness and positivity for students who may need it the most. 

The teacher and students worked together to display the quilt and were able to have a conversation and a laugh as they got the work done.  As a result of this interaction, positive relationships were established which helped with students’ behavior and motivation while in class together. 

Students also decorated a kindness tree with positive letters and messages students wrote to one another. Homerooms also participated in a door decorating contest focused on messages of kindness. Students were so moved by activities that they started suggesting some of their own. One class had the idea to create get-well cards for a fellow student who was in the hospital. 

A middle school day is very busy, teachers are often teaching six classes with 30 students in each and students are traveling to seven different classes a day where they are expected to complete classwork in each content.  We are often so focused on daily routines and overwhelmed by all of our deadlines that we don’t think that we have the time or energy for anything else including spending a few minutes to participate in a kindness activity. After completing the Middle School Kindness Challenge, students and teachers realize that we can make time for kindness instruction. The impact is worth it by showing kindness in our day-to-day interactions, creating a positive environment and boosting teacher morale!