School is just over a month in and you may see friendships and cliques beginning to form. Some kids have settled in,
others have not. One kindness in the classroom idea I suggest you try is what I like to call String Theory.
This activity is easy to follow and implement with your students. The main idea of the String Theory activity is for students to recognize each others good qualities and characteristics and compliment each other in an open setting. The instructions are simple: get a large ball of yarn (any color you would like) and follow the instructions below.
1) Before the activity starts ask students to write one word on a piece of paper explaining how they feel at that moment. Tell them to be truthful because the papers will be anonymous. Collect the papers and put them in their own pile.
2) Have students gather in a circle. They can be in chairs or sit on the floor, but being in a circle is essential.
3) The teacher will start with the yarn. He or she will choose a student at random, give them a compliment about a positive quality or characteristic trait they have. Once the teacher compliments a student he or she will hold onto the end of the string and pass the rest of the yarn to the student chosen.
4) Now the second person will choose another student to compliment and the process repeats itself. Encourage students to choose people other than their closest friends in the class.
5) Each person needs to hold onto a piece of yarn and pass the rest of the ball to the student they compliment.
6) Once the last student gets the yarn they will compliment the first person that started the activity (the teacher). The teacher will then tell the students to look out at the circle and see how all of the strings are connected and intertwined. This is an excellent time to speak about acts of kindness and how they play an important role in everyone’s life. Everyone is intertwined in some way. Taking 10 seconds out of their day to do a good deed, say something nice, or lend a helping hand can enhance a person’s emotions.
7) Have the students go back to their desk and fill out another piece of paper explaining their mood now. Take those papers and put them in a separate pile than the one collected before the activity started.
8) Tally up or compare and contrast the words you collected from before and after the activity. Do you see the difference in emotion? How did your students say they felt after the String Theory activity? Present the findings to the class the next day and show them proof of how being kind can affect a person’s happiness.
The power of kindness is inspiring. With this activity, and many others, teachers have the ability to show their students that noticing and complimenting others’ qualities or characteristics can really change the emotions people feel. It can turn a bad day into a great day. It can put a smile on someone’s face. It can give a person confidence they may not have known they had.
Total activity takes about one hour to complete. If you plan on trying this with activity your students comment on this blog and keep us informed with how it went. We’d appreciate your feedback!