Kevin Henkes inspired Projects for teaching Kindness

I have the good fortune of working with 2 wonderful kindergarten co-partners! Because of our partnership, it is so much fun putting our heads together to come up with something fun and educational for our kinder classes. This week we wanted to start the year off right by teaching and discussing ways to get along. Of course this is not a new concept for the beginning of school! But we wanted to put a twist on it by using children's literature and attaching a "craftivity" to it. Since we teach in a Catholic school, we actually used these activities for our religion lessons this week, but they can be used in any school setting, of course!

We started the week by reading "Chrysanthemum" by Kevin Henkes. This was our second time reading this story. The first time I used it to discuss the specialness of each of our names. The second time I read it, we talked about how words can hurt as much as hands. I am sure that many of you do this activity: Have a paper heart ready when you begin to read the story. Every time the children in the story make fun of Chrysanthemum's name, crumple a part of the heart. When the story is finished, show your students the heart and ask what they think should be done to repair the heart. When someone says to say "I'm sorry", put a band-aid over the heart and ask how the heart looks now. The children should realize that even saying "I'm sorry" doesn't fully repair the damage made when mean words are said to one another. Words hurt and we must think before saying them. Saying I'm sorry is the band-aid needed to heal the hurt that the mean words caused.

The second Kevin Henkes inspired story that we used was "Lily's Purple Plastic Purse". In this story, Lily draws a mean picture of her teacher and then feels badly for what she has done and writes a note to her teacher saying "I'm sorry!" Her teacher forgives her and Lily learns how wonderful it feels to be forgiven.

We decided to have our students create Lily and her purple plastic purse. We added words to the paper that said "We read the story of Lily and Her Purple Plastic Purse by Kevin Henkes. We learned that saying I'm sorry and asking for forgiveness makes us feel wonderful inside!"

When I do step-by-step drawing and cutting with my students, I usually project the steps onto my Promethean. This makes is easy to keep up with the steps and follow along. By the end of the year, all I have to do is project the steps onto my board and my students simply look at them and create their project. We are not there yet, of course, this early in the school year! I do the project along with my students one step at a time demonstrating how to make shapes from different sized rectangles. This Lily project took us about an hour to do. That is a long time, I know, but at the beginning of the school year, things just take longer to complete!

Here are some examples of their work. I think they did very good for this early in the year! Oh, by the way, I traced and cut out Lily's head and body - we aren't THAT advanced! :) If you would like the Lily activity, click here.

If you would like more ideas for teaching kids to be peaceful, I have a "Peaceful Kid" character education packet available. Click on the picture to take you there!

Until next time! Blessings,