5 Great Teacher Ideas to Celebrate the February Celebration of Kindness
February is the month popular for observing Groundhog Day, Valentine's Day, and the birthdays of two Presidents-Lincoln and Washington. Additionally, the month offers another special day: Random Acts of Kindness Day on February 17th. This special day was founded in 1995 to be celebrated by individuals and groups of all ages, including you!
Kindness is a Win-win for All!
Research has shown that both the receiver and the giver benefit when an act of kindness is performed. Think of a time when someone surprised you with an unexpected gift or gesture. How did you feel? It probably made your morning or day! Naturally, your mood was positively affected. But what about the person who performed the helpful act? Did he or she feel any differently? Research indicates that the giver benefits as much as the receiver. Kind acts need not be expensive, just thoughtful. There are hundreds of ways to celebrate Random Acts of Kindness, and the rewards are endless! Why not get started!
#1 Prepare and Send a Military Care Package.
If you need help with names/addresses, you can contact a local recruiting officer; if your school system has an ROTC program, the instructor can also help you. Students could also contribute names with addresses for soldiers who are friends or family members. For a list of needed/wanted items, check out this list for what to send.
#2 Decorate Paper Placemats for Senior Center
Picture this: It's a gloomy, cold day. You sit down for lunch and whoa! Right in front of you is a happy, colorful placemat! Wouldn't it make you smile? One can purchase blank placements from dollar stores and large hobby stores. If you don't want to spend the money, just check with a local restaurant, explain your project, and see if they will donate some of theirs. The students can always create a colorful picture on the reverse side. The placements can be delivered to a local senior center that serves lunch daily.
#3 Read a Book to a Younger Child or Student
Older students can choose a favorite picture book and read it to a younger child. Students can do this outside school, or it could become a school group project. If you work with middle or high school students who struggle with reading, this project has been found to build lots of self-esteem. Gather a collection of books or visit a library, and let the older students make their selections. Next, have the readers pair-up and practice reading aloud with expression. Team-up with an early elementary class, and let the sharing begin!
#4 Make Decorations for Nursing Home Residents
Gifts need not be expensive! A little paper, glue, and attention can produce unique decorations to display at nursing homes. These can be placed on doors, walls, and/or tables, depending on their needs.
#5 Plant Happiness!
Team up with a horticulture teacher, garden club members, or a local nursery and plant flower seeds. This could naturally lead to a science lesson. After the seeds have matured, deliver them to a nursing home, veteran's hospital, or have students take them home to give to others.
Random Acts of Kindness for Individuals
Encourage your students to carry out one or more of these ideas, or one of their own:
Open the door for an elderly or disabled person
Help a younger student cross the street safely
Offer to walk a neighbor's dog
Volunteer your help at a local animal shelter, or hold a fundraiser, like a lemonade stand, and donate the money to the shelter
Invite a new or lonely student to join your group at recess
Leave a note of encouragement on another student's desk
Paint some rocks with positive words or phrases. With permission, place each rock in a location where a passerby will notice.
Make a pine cone feeder and hang it from a tree in your yard or someplace where others can enjoy watching the birds who visit it.
This is only the start! Random acts of kindness should be performed every day of the year. Helpful acts bring smiles and lift spirits for all involved. So, let the journey begin-it could change lives forever!