Courtney Sheinmel


Classroom Kindness Projects

1. The Appreciation Project

I think we can all agree that it's a ton of fun to open presents! And the right thing to do is to write thank you notes to the people who gave them to us.

But what about the people who give us gifts that don't cost money, but are still exceedingly kind things? Like the crossing guard who makes sure you safely cross the street every day, or the librarian who knows just what books to recommend, or your classmate who gave you the exact right compliment at the exact right time? They deserve to be thanked too, right? I think so!

Take a few minutes to think about the things people do for you that don't cost money, but are still important to you, and make your life better. Write a list, and then write thank you notes!

Not sure how to write a thank you note? You can find some tips right here.


Kindness Jar
2. The Kindness Jar

I read that the author Elizabeth Gilbert keeps a happiness jar. Every day, she writes on a slip of paper the happiest moment she experienced in the past 24 hours, and adds it to the jar. Even on bad days, she adds to the jar. Maybe she made a new friend when she was walking her dogs. (Does she have dogs? I don't know.) Or maybe her breakfast donut tasted extra delicious. Or she saw a tree with cool roots, or a bird with multi-colored wings. Or maybe a butterfly landed on her finger. There's always SOMETHING to add. Then when Ms. Gilbert is feeling blue, she can dip into the jar and reread the moments of happiness.

With inspiration from Elizabeth Gilbert, I recommend starting a Classroom Kindness Jar. Every time a kid (or a teacher!) does something kind, you can write it on a slip of paper and add it to the jar. What a fun thing to read back and remember all those kindnesses at the end of the year!


3. The Pen Pal Project

Mail is fun! Call your local Ronald McDonald House, nursing home, or other long-term care facilities and ask if there are residents who would be interested in having pen pals. Then set up a time each week for kids to write notes/draw pictures/make cards for their assigned pen pal. Even if you don't receive mail back, it is nice to know you're bringing a smile to someone's face.


4. The Compliment List

Recently I met with a Girl Scout troop and we did a kindness project that could also work in a classroom: each girl wrote her name at the top of a sheet of paper. The papers were passed around the room, and everyone wrote compliments to the person whose name was at the top. Compliments ranged from "I admire how excited you get about things," to "You were so brave that day you needed stitches," to "I remember when you shared your lunch when I forgot mine, and that was so kind."

This can be done anonymously (as we did in our meeting), or kids can sign their names to their compliments. Either way, at the end of the exercise, everyone will go home knowing they've been noticed and appreciated.

Girl Scouts visit

Check out more kindness ideas on the Meeting House blog.

Click here to download the entire Kindness Kit! (PDF)