FOR SCHOOL LIBRARIANS

KINDNESS ACTIVITY IDEAS FOR SCHOOL LIBRARIES

The school library should be the heart of any school. It’s where students’ lives can be influenced, and good human behavior cultivated, all through the power of books.

These activities are designed to promote the idea that each student who visits the school library has a voice – each student has feelings and each student matters.


Kindness Pledge Books and Book Chains

You can use fancy journals or black and white copy books, just make sure they are sturdy and will last the whole year.

These books will be a place for students to write and reflect on kindness:
a self- worded, dated, and signed pledge never to bully anyone while in school
a short story
a poem
an essay
a persuasive piece

Students should be allowed to check the book out while in the library to either add to it or read through it. Since the books belong to everyone, the books should remain in the library.

VERY IMPORTANT: The success of these books rests 100% in the set up. Students need to understand the purpose of the books, the power the books hold, the expectations of what is and what isn’t allowed in the books. Set up will be king. Remind your students that this pledge book will be open for anyone to read or refer to.

Once you have amassed some student entries, extend the books and begin the book chains. Invite various people within your district to write their own stories, pledges, etc…such as administration, colleagues, parents, teachers within your building and your district. Include a letter of explanation for them to continue the chain of kindness. See letter example below.


Dear Lunchroom Staff,

Here is our Kindness Book. You are invited to read the students’ entries and then add your own thoughts.

We hope you enjoy the experience as much as we did!

Sincerely,
Mrs. Walton’s Class

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Kindness Baskets

Keep two small baskets on the circulation desk each filled with slips of paper. One basket will have slips with kindness idea already printed on them while the other basket will have blank slips where students can jot down their own Random Act of Kindness ideas.

Ask anyone with a pulse in your building to contribute: students, teachers, faculty, administrators, parents, students’ family members, community members.

Align a designated “Kindness Day” with each classroom’s library visit and have students pick out a slip or contribute a slip. Students who do a kind act or contribute a kind act could add an entry to your Kindness Book (mentioned above), explaining how it felt to be kind and/or how the other person felt about them doing the kind act.

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Random Acts of Kindness Seasonal and Interactive Bulletin Board

Designate a bulletin board in the library to be the “Random Acts of Kindness” board.

Fall – A large tree with paper leaves.
Winter – A large snowman with paper snowflakes.
Spring – A large flower with paper petals

You AND your students can generate things to add to your board by contributing the following:

- Related or inspirational quotes from books they’ve read – or you’ve read
- RAK they did or saw someone else do (see KINDNESS DETECTIVES on the next page for more on this idea). This would be the perfect place to add some great idea slips from the RAK idea basket.
As with everything, set up will determine the success of your bulletin board.

Spend some time explaining the purpose of the board and how it can benefit students who visit it.

- They can add something new
- Read current postings for inspiration
- Find something to compliment a fellow student on
- Get ideas for kind acts they could try out

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Kindness Detectives

Proclaim students to be “Kindness Detectives” who will look for kind acts done at school, at home and in their community. They can record their findings by adding to your interactive RAK bulletin board (explained above).

Kindness Detective’s findings can be read over the morning announcements, just one or two a day.

This idea lends itself to creativity. You could:

- Create detective badges
- Use small notepads for detective notebooks and students could decorate the front
- To jumpstart the project, watch a few clips of old detective movies or TV shows
- Adults in the building could write students up for being “caught in the act of being kind”

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Research Opportunities

If teaching students the ways of research is in your curriculum, make it work towards your overarching goal of building school community. The librarian has the golden opportunity to use his/her research unit to better the students. I call it sneaky brilliance.

Have students learn how to research underneath the umbrella of the nine focus topics:
Kindness
Tolerance
Volunteering
Donating
Leadership
Empathy
Sympathy
Community service
Social Action

For example, while in your Kindness Unit, if you use the I-Search method, let the students come to their own burning question about kindness after a class or two of you exposing them to some of the major and most intriguing kindness topics.

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Quotations that Matter

Quotes are the perfect springboard for original writing and thinking. Throughout history people have made statements that have changed the world or made others think or change their mindset. People are continually saying or writing statements that matter, statements that need to be shared and addressed. Putting a quote on the whiteboard starts any session out with thinking and discussion.

Quote resources:
- www.quotationspage.com

- www.quoteland.com

- www.brainyquote.com

- The Change Your Life Quote Book by Allen Klein

- Most Brilliant Thoughts of All Time (In Two Lines or Less) by John M. Shanahan

- 1001 Motivational Quotes for Success: Great Quotes from Great Minds  by Thomas J. Vilord

- Best Quotations for All Occasions by Lewis Henry

Ways to bring quotes to life in your library:

1. Have the kids interpret the quote – they could discuss it in small groups first and then write a writer’s notebook entry.
- What do they think it means?
- Why is it important?
- How do they feel about what it says?
- Share notebook responses with a partner or small group.

2. Take it a step further and have them investigate the person who said the quote – use the internet for research.
- Who are they?
- Why did they say that quote?
- What kind of a person were they?
- What did they do in their lives?
- When did they live?
- What kind of childhood did they have?  Adulthood?

3. Have students create their own catchy quote based on your current topic or theme. Hang up their quotes around the library or school – they could illustrate or decorate their quotes too.

4. Have students find a catchy quote in the current book they are reading – base it on your current topic or theme. Use your interactive bulletin board and have them record quotes and hang them up on the bulletin board.

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BOOKS THAT FOCUS ON KINDNESS AND/OR GET DISCUSSIONS GOING ABOUT KINDNESS

KINDNESS PICTURE BOOKS

Amos and Boris – Steig, William (1971)
Amos the mouse and Boris the whale have little in common except that they are both
mammals and save each other's lives.

BearWants More – Wilson, Karma (2003)
When spring comes, Bear wakes up very hungry and is treated to great food by his
friends.

Bootsie Barker Bites – Bottner, Barbara (1992)
Bootsie Barker only wants to play games in which she bites, until one day her friend
comes up with a better game.

Corduroy – Freeman, Don ( 1990)
A toy bear in a department store wants a number of things, but when a little girl finally
buys him he finds what he has always wanted most of all.

The Drinking Gourd – Monjo, F.N. (1993)
When he is sent home alone for misbehaving in church, Tommy discovers that his house
is a station on the Underground Railroad.

Enemy Pie – Munson, Derek (2000)
Hoping that the enemy pie which his father makes will help him get rid of his enemy, a
little boy finds that instead it helps make a new friend.

Gittel’s Hands – Silverman, Erica (1996)
Yakov boasts of his daughter's abilities but doesn't allow Gittel to speak for herself until
the day she makes an Elijah cup which amazes even her father.

I’m Sorry – McBratney, Sam (2000)
When two best friends have a quarrel, they are brought together again by two simple words.

Julius – Johnson, Angela (1993)
Maya's grandfather brings her a pig from Alaska and the two of them learn about fun and
sharing together.

Kindness – Moncure, Jane (1981)
Simple text and scenes depict such demonstrations of kindness as giving someone else a
turn on the swing, being gentle with puppy, helping grandfather rake leaves, and
buttoning the sweater of someone who can't do it.


The Kindness Quilt – Wallace, Nancy (2006)
Minna does a lot of thinking about her project to do something kind, make a picture about
what she did, and share it with her classmates, but finally comes up with an idea that
spreads to the whole school.

Maebelle’s Suitcase – Tusa, Tricia (1991)
An elderly woman sacrifices a treasured prize to help her friend, a young bird, make his
first flight south.

My Dog Lyle – Goldfinger, Jennifer (2007)
A child provides an ever-increasing list of characteristics that make Lyle a very special
dog, despite appearances.

One Winter’s Day – Butler, M. Christina (2006)
When a wintry wind blows away Little Hedgehog's nest, he sets out for his friend
Badger's house, and the generosity he shows to others during his journey is returned to
him when the snowstorm is over.

Pink and Say – Polacco, Patricia (1994)
Say Curtis describes his meeting with Pinkus Aylee, a black soldier, during the Civil
War, and their capture by Southern troops. Based on a true story about the author's greatgreat-
grandfather.

PrinceWilliam – Rand, Gloria (1994)
On Prince William Sound in Alaska, Denny rescues a baby seal hurt by an oil spill and
watches it recover at a nearby animal hospital.

Runaway Bunny – Brown, Margaret Wise (2001)
A little rabbit who wants to run away tells his mother how he will escape, but she is
always right behind him.

Silver Packages, an Appalachian Christmas Story – Rylant, Cynthia (1997)
Every year at Christmas a rich man rides a train through Appalachia and throws gifts to
the poor children who are waiting, in order to repay a debt he owes the people who live
there.

Super Duck – Alborough, Jez (2009)
When Goat makes a kite, Duck's plans to make it fly put Frog in danger.

That’sWhat Friends are For – Heidi, Florence (2003)
All the elephant's friends give him advice, but none can solve his problem until the
opossum announces friends are to help, not just to give advice.


The Wolf’s Chicken Stew – Kasza, Keiko (1987)
A hungry wolf's attempts to fatten a chicken for his stewpot have unexpected results.

When I Care About Others – Spelman, Cornelia (2002)
A little bear explains that he cares about the feelings of others and that others care about him.

Yes We Can! – McBratney, Sam (2007)
When a play date leads to disaster, resulting in name-calling, Little Roo and his friends
are left in bad moods until Little Roo's very wise mother comes up with a creative
solution to make amends.

Source of the above list: http://www.earlylearningcoalitionsarasota.org/pdf/2010/providers/KINDNESS_PICTURE_BOOKS%20rev.pdf

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MIDDLE GRADE NOVELS

Wonder by R. J. Palacio

The Misfits, Totally Joe, and Addie on the Inside by James Howe

Out of My Mind by Sharon M. Draper

Arlene on the Scene by Carol Liu

Freak the Mighty by Rodman Philbrick

The Lottery Rose by Irene Hunt

Shiloh by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor

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YOUNG ADULT NOVELS

Small Damages by Beth Kephart

Pretty Crooked by Elisa Ludwig

Everybody Sees the Ants by A. S. King

The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver

Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher

Sorta Like a Rock Star by Matthew Quick

Cracked by K. M. Walton

Empty by K. M. Walton