Don't just teach kids to count, teach them what counts:
Gratitude has long been considered an invaluable virtue. In modern society however, we often undervalue, or forget, the importance of such virtues in our daily lives. With so many distractions and wonderful technological advances, our human connection to each other is suffering. These lessons are meant to reward and encourage grateful hearts and minds in our youth rather than nourish an attitude of entitlement. Gratitude is the key. It is the cornerstone to so many other great qualities and characteristics that make man….kind. Many of the lessons include the teaching and reinforcement of other positive character traits. When your lessons are complete, please considering sharing your experience and results with us.
Character Building Life Stories:
A lesson in overcoming hardships:
This 3 day lesson gives students a chance to celebrate and embrace their story, to be inspired to overcome and keep working to be “above” the challenges of life. It also teaches tolerance and compassion for others. Every person has a story.
Gratitude Quote Poster:
A life lesson in the virtues of Gratitude:
This is class or take home project emphasizes the virtues of gratitude though quotes. Quotes are like roadsigns. They serve as: reminders, guides, teachers, inspirations, and motivators. Quotes can help you on your way by reminding you of something, by keeping you focused, or by moving you in the direction that you want to go. This lesson is about understanding the meaning and value of gratitude.
"Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all others" - Cicero
A Gift of Gratitude
Any time writing activity:
A Gift-of-Gratitude is a collection of notes-of-gratitude that a student creates and puts in a box, bag or jar to share with someone they would like to show appreciation for. Gratitude is the cornerstone to so many other great qualities and characteristics that make man….kind. This lesson pays-it-forward by giving valuable life lessons to the creator and a memorable gift to the recipient.
Creating a Wealth of Gratitude:
A lesson on how to be grateful for what you have. The lesson will be a constant aid to the students when they need gentle reminders of what they have to be grateful for. When things don’t seem to be going their way, the gratitude bank will be there to remind them of the people and things around them that they have to be grateful for. The gratitude bank is a gift-of-gratitude that students give themselves.
Parent Child Take home Activity:
This is a “Parent-Teen Communicator!” The goal for this assignment is that parents enjoy talking with your teen while helping them get class credit! Additionally this
communicator on VALUES will give parents a chance to reinforce their own family’s values.
The Singing Tree Mural:
(Ages 3-21) Generously contributed by Laurie Marshall
Laurie Marshall's book & lesson plans turns art into a collaborative social process. We love this so much we are going to use the model to create a global "Mankind" mosaic mural. This mural will be featured in a film called, "Making man...kind". which explores the values & virtues that make man...kind. The foundation of the mural will be created in Aurora Illinois. A man & women's hands will create the roots of the tree, with their arms create the trunk. The finished heART-work will include artful leaves from all over the world, as well as world leaders that we interview for the documentary. Please consider sending us leaves that your students have created to add to our global mural. They should be roughly 2"x3" and represent a tree leaf native to your country. Also, download & enjoy The singing tree book & lessons.
Learning To Give:
Learning To Give Org:
Learning to Give.org has hundreds of lessons that create an introduction to philanthropy
There are lessons at each grade level that introduce a common language of giving and serving and help youth understand the importance of civic responsibility
Live & Learn & Pass It On:
Creating a Wealth of Gratitude:
(Ages 5-21) Generously contributed by Tracee Orman of Illinois
This anytime* activity was inspired by H. Jackson Brown, Jr.’s book Live and Learn and Pass It On. The book is a compilation of life lessons from people of all ages.
The classroom activity allows the students to compose their own “life lessons” learned.
It could range from lessons learned from the start of the school year to the end, or things they learned when they were younger. The lesson can also be used for graduations or teacher retirements.
“I’ve learned that just when I get my room the way I like it, Mom makes me clean it up. -Age 13”
“I’ve learned that my daddy can say a lot of words that I can’t. -Age 6”
Teaching the treasured value of respect:
(Ages 7-12) Generously contributed by Beverly Gonzalez of NY
Treat others as you would want to be treated. Treat people with dignity, making sure to value their opinions and thoughts. This download is packed with creative, easy to follow lessons, that will teach the wonderful character trait of respect for self and others. A fun & easy lesson plan that uses many games to understand the importance of having this great character trait.
A Note of Gratitude:
Discussion activity on the meaning of gratitude with note-of-gratitude:
The point of this activity is to slow down and recognize what we are thankful for, which among other things science shows increases our health and happiness. This is a life lesson on character building and specifically on growing and teaching gratitude. Video link, discussion keys and letter prompts.
Everybody knows that “thank you” is good manners, but recent science is demonstrating and proving inarguably that living a life of gratitude is also good for you. This is a writing lesson where students hand out tokens-of-gratitude. The lesson can be modified to apply to a broad age range. It utilizes Tokens of gratitude form our site. Schools may email us to apply for 4-color tokens and they will be provided as funding allows.
Random Acts of KIndness Foundation:
Random Acts of Kindness Foundation:
RAK & THe Foundation for a Better Life have been spreading kindness & positive values since 1995. They have recently created educator pilot lesson plans.
Research shows that students who learn in a positive classroom environment have a better school experience. They enjoy higher test scores, learn new skills at a faster rate and are overall happier at school.
We've seen first-hand that practicing kindness in the classroom transforms kids which leads to positive learning environments. Using the feedback from these teachers, we will continue to update these materials to ensure their effectiveness.
The lesson plans and activities listed below are fun and easy to teach. Each lesson plan meets multiple Department of Education academic standards, and work within existing standards of many school districts.
We encourage you to use these plans in your classroom and provide feedback so we can fine tune them for use by others. With your help, we'll build an excellent resource for every teacher to teach kindness in the classroom and help create positive learning environments for the kids.