Resources for teachers
Some ideas for growing mindfulness, compassion, empathy, and gratitude
in your classroom and school community...
Tree of kindness: Encourage compassion for self & others
Purchase a little tree (they are often easier to find around the holidays!) and some pre-cut tags. Students design a tag to represent a kind wish--it could be a kind wish for themselves or for someone else. A nice activity for students to do independently when they are done with other work or as a stand alone lesson. Younger students can draw their wish and older students can write and draw.
brain bulletin board: celebrate learning & develop an understanding of how the brain works
This bulletin board is especially effective after introducing your students to the different parts of the brain and how they work (we highly recommend the book Your Fantastic Elastic Brain Stretch It, Shape It, Deak & Ackerley). Use the brain diagram in the book to help you free draw a larger version of the brain OR photocopy and enlarge an outline of the brain. Use cards to identify the major parts of the brain and their functions. Every time a student has a *big brain breakthrough* give them a card to fill out (ex. I used my hippocampus when I...). Tip: we colored our brain diagram to coordinate with color-coded index cards, helping to reinforce the connection between specific parts of the brain and their functions.
We did not come up with this idea, but we love it, we added our own little twist, and have used it with many students. Our twist--over the course of a week, have students work on gratitude lists. A week may sound long, but that is the point--working on their lists over time, will eventually deepen their gratitude for less obvious things (modeling this for them with your own list is very helpful!). At the end of the week, let their lists culminate in this lovely art project--students trace their hands (fingers spread like branches), wrist, and top of their forearm. Inside each leaf they draw, they can write the name of someone or something for which they are grateful.