Right from the get-go as soon as you can, make sure parents understand the importance of working together to ensure their child's academic, social and emotional growth.
Try to restate this idea every time you speak with parents/guardians, write an email, send a message through a text or anyway you communicate with parents/guardians.
At the bottom of homework sheets, e-mails, or even at the end of a conversation, I always would write or say, 




Compassion is a Character trait that we should model and practice daily with our students and our own children.  Compassion so important to support a positive mindset and empathy.  


A person who shows compassion has concern for others; is warm and kind and treats others as one would want to be treated ...remember ...."The Golden Rule?"

I remember when I was a tall elementary student.  I am 6 feet now and definitely looked like a third grader in first grade...In fact the hall monitors, on my first day of school, tried to send me to the third grade hall... I kept telling them I was in first grade...but they did not believe me!

The kids called me "The Jolly Green Giant;" asked me 'How is the weather up there?" ANNND there was, "Here comes the leaning Tower of Pisa!"  Compassionate? No...hurtful? YES! Did I survive it?  YES! 

WHY?  Because my parents told me that...those kids just want to be tall like you and remember "sticks and stones will hurt your bones, but names will never hurt you"....ANNNND I believed them! 

AND guess what? I showed compassion and kindness to every person I met. Maybe because of my experiences as a child or maybe it was really my family modeling kindness and compassion daily in their actions to others. 

Those stories are life lessons I will never forget.

So...when I was asked to review the book:  A New Alphabet for Humanity written by Leesa McGregor and illustrated by Daniela Sosa,  I knew just from the title I would love it. In fact I thought, this is exactly what our world needs right now... this second.  


I can easily say it is a great book and it is!  But it is more that a great book...it inspires all of us to think about how to treat ourselves and others.

Each letter of the alphabet stands for a word that exemplifies positive character traits and teaches children new words that are important to be your best self and to support others in the journey!  

Each page demonstrates an example of the focus word in action...words and actions that young children can and will identify with as they go through the alphabet!  

The words selected give kid friendly definitions that will stick with them and colorful illustrations that they can easily visualize.  

I am thinking that all children will identify with this alphabet book and be drawn back to the pages and letters that represent words that will help them make good sound decisions of how to treat others as well as how to treat themselves when they are faced with a sticky situation.   



Here is a little sampling of this book:




So, as the title of this blog post suggests, A New Alphabet for Humanity shows us 26 ways from A-Z (Abundance to Zen) to inspire our children (and all of us ) to be compassionate, kind and loving!  Let's empower our children to exhibit and communicate all 26 positive character traits today and everyday!

This is book should be in every home, classroom and library! 


Something to Remember:
"Kindness is the Best form of Humanity!"  Doris Hill


In today"s crazy life, it is harder than ever to keep our home life calm. and "normal"...so just imagine how teachers must feel with all the uncertainty surrounding everything around them. Some are back without masks while others are still going to school with masks. 


Spread kindness like confetti.  There is power in kindness.  A little kindness goes a long way.  These are all so true.  But lately my experiences have been a bit different.

A bit ago, as I walked into Wawa, which, for those who do not live in the Delaware Valley, is an awesome convenience store that has everything from great coffee and soup to nuts and breakfast sandwiches to name a few things,  
I saw an older gentleman running toward me as I was about to open the door. 

He was wearing an US Navy baseball cap and said, "No, let me get that door for you!"  I looked a bit bewildered because I had nothing but my pocket book on my shoulder and by no means did I need any help whatsoever, but I replied,"Sure, Thank you! Now aren't you kind." He limped into the store and wore a smile from ear to ear and I...well...I wallowed for a while in his kindness and began to reminisce to "the old days" when doors were held and opened for others and people...well...people seemed to expect that these actions were simply what you did without even thinking about it!

I grabbed my coffee and juggled my purse as I threw the change into it and walked behind a man who opened the door to exit and well...he just looked straight ahead, unaware of me behind him, and simply let the door swing back at me...good thing I had the change in my purse and had a free hand or I would probably have a broken nose...well that might be an exaggeration, but you get the point.


"POOF" in 2 minutes I went from experiencing a simple kind gesture to a who cares if the door slams into a person attitude and then I had a revelation (soft inspirational music please).

In my opinion, kindness is becoming a lost social grace.  With Covid, masks, social distancing and more, it seems as though kindness has taken a back seat.

I am not saying that no one shows kindness, because they do...but what I am saying is we need to demonstrate kind actions everyday not just when our schools and neighborhoods decide to have a "pay it forward" or a "100 Acts of Kindness Week."  It reminds me of Mother's Day...we should be celebrating our moms everyday...not just one day a year...I know, I know...actually it is nice to have a special day where we celebrate kindness for moms or dads and especially teachers...BUT...it is important to demonstrate love, kindness and consideration every single day!

I am sure by now you are wondering where I am going with this, but just give me a few more seconds...my point is..


I think that Kindness is one of the most important behaviors that we can teach  our children and students.



 I want it and I am sure you want it too...I mean everyone wants their students and children to be kind and show kindness in school and at home. At times it can be a difficult task, especially in a world where children are exposed to so much more than years ago.


In order to be kind it is necessary to ignite thought patterns that encourage children to think beyond themselves and to think about others. Purposeful acts of kindness that encourage a strong foundation to embed positive lifelong character traits.



It is almost like stepping into the shoes of others to understand how they might feel. When children read a book, we ask them to imagine how a character might feel in a certain situation or even how they might feel if they were to experience what is happening in the story.  This is a form of empathy and a way to teach children how others might feel in different situations.  So it is important to give children opportunities to use real life situations.  For example, if they see a classmate crying, what would they do? A reminder to treat others the way they would want to be treated! YES..."The Golden Rule!"


So, here are 5 Ideas to Create a Culture of Kindness in your Primary Classroom That Will Make you SMILE!


1. Role Model and Practice Kindness:  You know the saying:  "Children Learn What They Live"...so if "Children Live with Kindness and Consideration, They Learn Respect."

We need to model kindness and consideration so our students will understand kindness and how to be kind.  We need to be aware of the words WE use when dealing with our students and our tone of voice. We need to USE those "Magic Words"or polite words..please, thank you, May I, Can I, etc.

I have created a resource entitled:  Social Skills Manners Be Polite and Use Those Magic Words.  This resource will encourage your students or children to remember these words with posters and situational task cards to reinforce how to be polite and kind!




Another way to model kindness is as your students come into the classroom, greet them at the door to make them feel special. This small kind gesture will stay with them the entire day!
If children feel good about themselves, they will be calmer, more positive and ready to learn not to mention if you demonstrate this small act of kindness, you will see your students being kind to each other throughout the day!


2. Morning Meetings:  

As soon as everyone is ready and all morning jobs are completed, provide a morning meeting where everyone joins in a circle on the rug and classmates greet each other in different ways.  They can pass a smile, shake hands to welcome their neighbor, elbow shake, butterfly greet or any ideas that you might think of for students to greet each other.  

You can also encourage a Compliment Greeting where each student gives a compliment to the person sitting next to them as they greet each other.  If you choose to do this, I always make sure that we compliment kind gestures or actions,
"Jimmy sat with me at lunch or Kelly shared her book with me" and not simply,"I like Johnny or I like Chrissy's dress!"



A morning meeting provides a positive time for students to interact get to know each other better and when you nod or shake a hand and say, “Good Morning, Jake. I am really glad you are here today,” it sets a positive tone for your class and supports expected behaviors throughout the school day as well as supporting kindness, consideration for others and respect for each other.

A Morning Meeting consists of a Greeting, quick Game, Sharing Time and a Class Message, which all provide a positive way to start the day and encourage positive classroom behavior. 





3. Teach about Kindness and What it is and Means:  


There are many resources out there and on Teachers Pay Teachers that have great ideas on how to encourage kindness and a plethora of books.

Here are a few books you may want to consider when teaching about kindness:
🌟  What Does It Mean to Be Kind? (Rana Diorio)
🌟  Kindness Counts (Brian Smith)
🌟  Kindness is Cooler Mrs. Ruler (Margery Cuyler)
🌟 Small Acts of Kindness (James R. Vollbracht)
🌟 Hey Little Ant (Phil and Hannah Hoose



Perhaps you may want to think about using my most recent resource:  Be Kind  

This extensive resource, jammed packed with many activities and ideas, will support your students and/or children to understand and be aware of ways to spread kindness.  I cannot think of a better time than NOW to empower your students to demonstrate kindness and be kind to others!  You know the quote, "One Day OR Day One...YOU CHOOSE!"









4. "Talking Turtle" a Spot to Talk and Work Out Problems:  


I had a turtle, which was an old sandbox I found at a garage sale...don't you just LOVE garage sales?  I mean they are right up there with Dollar Stores and the Target Dollar Spot as well as Wednesday trash days...I have been known to find some great FREE deals walking around the neighborhood...you know the old saying "Someone's Junk is another's Treasure" or something like that!  Any way you can use anything even just 2 pillows in a corner or a table with a few chairs in the back of the room.  

The main idea is to provide a spot where your students or children can talk out their problems independently in a nonthreatening considerate way giving each person a chance to talk and then coming up with a common solution on which everyone agrees. I can hear you right now...how long do you let them talk? What if they never come up with a solution and yadda, yadda, yadda! 

I place a poster with steps to solve problems and how to fix what you have broken in a kind and considerate way so everyone can feel good with the solution...I have to admit that sometimes it can go a bit long, but the upside is...they are learning how to take responsibility for their actions and how to solve problems...I may just have to write another post on "Talking Turtle" or a "conflict Corner as others call it.

5. Kindness Jar All Year Long:  


Have a Compliment or Kindness Jar during February or any month, for that matter.  I always placed the "jar" on a counter where it was easily accessible so children were able to write compliments about a classmate.  At the end of the day, I would simply pull a few out and read them to the class. This was also done during our morning meeting.  The jar I used was decorated with hearts to symbol kindness and I simply had a pencil/pen and heart-shaped sticky notes or paper next to the jar for students to write their compliments. If you notice that not everyone is getting a compliment, be sure to add some of your own so there is always smile!
       
Here is one I made for Kindergarten that was created from a clear flexible plastic container.
Any container or basket will work!














So...there you have it...5 Ideas to Create a Culture of Kindness in your Classroom...I hope you are smiling...I promised these ideas would make you smile and I never go back on my promises and after all...Kindness is a friendly smile!





With a Wintery Mix Coming Our Way, I'm Ready to Talk SNOW!


Do I love snow?  Not really...BUT...I absolutely do LOVE the first snowfall, which we are supposedly getting on Monday!! I love that snowed in feeling...looking out the window and catching a glimpse of the early morning sun encouraging the snow to sparkle and glisten like tiny diamonds all around.... the white snow dust that swirls across the landscape as the wind crackles!  YES! That part I LOVE!

There's one more...there is one thing that really excites me and that is perceiving the snow through the eyes of a child...the excitement and squeals of the snow falling.  Everyone running to the classroom windows to see the tiny bits of snow falling down from the clouds...that's what it is all about...they simply LOVE the snow!

So...Let's Talk SNOW...snow resources and activities to ignite that learning. 



⛄ Here's a Wintery Mix of Snow-Themed Ideas and Activities: 

⛄ Any Story written by Caralyn Buehner; especially her snowman series is worth reading to ignite your students' imagination and creativity!  My all time favorite is Snowmen at Night.






Everytime I read this story, I think of another idea of snowmen might just do at night and the ideas that students share amazes me everytime!

If you are looking for a way for your primary students to write creatively, this definitely fits the bill.

You can take a look at the complete resource here and see what you think!   


Here is what is included:  


⛄3 different sized circles to trace and cut to make a snowman. These can be used as tracers or simply run them off onto card stock, cut and glue. 


Various templates for hats, shirts, a tie, and bow     


⛄2 easy writing frames.


⛄1 longer writing frame for stronger writers with handwriting lines. 

⛄1 longer writing frame for stronger writers with only lines for writing. 


⛄1 planning sheet for jotting down ideas and a few extra writing ideas.


⛄ 
Beginning Middle and End frames for easier writing or just simply writing what the snowman may do for a rough draft and then writing a good copy to display. 

⛄I then add lots of beads, scraps, tissue, shape stickers, and all kinds of craft media materials to assist creativity. 


⛄An idea with an outline of directions for a lesson. 


⛄Sample craft. 


 ⛄  Want a Digital version of Snowmen at Night created for Google Slides™?  Simply click and add your name to my email list to receive this SNOWY Resource FREE!  


Ummmm...if you would rather pay for it, no worries, click here!

  

⛄ Have Some Fun with Snow Dough!


⛄  All kids love snow or at least most of them do...

If they have ever played in snow, they will remember the cold icy feeling of making a snowman, snow angel or snowball.

You can make snow dough with only 2 ingredients...YES...I did say 2.  Baking soda and water.  All you need is one cup of Baking soda and 1/4 cup of water and you will bring that cold snow right into your classroom.  

Here are a few ideas to use SNOW DOUGH in your classroom:


⛄Make it and simply let your kiddos play with it...this "snow" feels cold, which makes it even "cooler" to manipulate.  This is great for sensory needs and you can talk a little about Science!


⛄Create a snowman. Name the snowman and use a frame from the packet above or your own frame to write a story about your snowman.


Create a snow scene by adding small trucks, people, cars, houses etc.  Maybe even create a cooperative town!


There is another recipe for "SNOW" that I found the other day that is super fun "playing" with snow.

It is simply: 

1 cup of Baking Soda
1 cup of shaving cream
1 tablespoon of water...(we added a tad more baking soda and stirred until it was the right consistency.

Here is the result:

                                       







Have you tried writing sight words in the SNOW?  


We have...this is with a mat underneath, but if you know it will be snowing, get out there and have some fun with your sight words...if you are a homeschooler...what a fun way to learn your words!!! Even in school, walk outside and grab a tray of snow and get writing!

 


    ⛄What about Some Fun and Easy Science Experiments for Home or School?

                                                   These fun experiments from igamemom are perfect!
     

        




    ⛄ You might also enjoy these ideas to make a snowy day a FUN DAY!   













    ⛄ Snowy Winter Station and Center Activities are Always a Great Idea


    I  love creating centers/stations that fit the seasons and that students can rotate through in a week or two.
    It gives me a chance to meet with Guided reading Groups or work one on one with students to meet individual needs of all students. Chatting about my ELA Centers/Stations is for another post, but if you are interested in some activities with a snowy theme, here are some that I used with much success!  It even includes a Reader's theater!




    I know things are a bit different this year,but I hope these ideas can be used somehow, some way with your students this year whether you are at school, homeschooling or virtual!

    If not...you can always save them until next year!

    I hope these ideas bring a little "SNOW"shine your way!   Thanks for stopping by!