July 8, 2019
By Meena Srinivasan

Lesson plan

Spreading Kindness

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  • Students will be able to reflect on how it feels to show kindness to others.
  • Students will be able to articulate how mindfulness can support us in making healthy choices.
(10 minutes)
  • Bring students into a circle, either seated in chairs or on the floor.
  • Ask them to sit in mindful bodies (quiet and still, with their eyes closed or looking down).
  • Ask the class to take a few full breaths. As they breathe in, tell them to say "breathing in" in their minds, and as they breathe out, they should say to themselves "breathing out."
  • After 1–2 minutes of this exercise, ask students to slowly open their eyes.
  • Ask the students how they feel and what they noticed.
  • Explain to them that today they will be talking about making positive choices and spreading kindness to others.
  • Ask the class what helps them make choices in their lives and how they know when to make a healthy choice.
  • Ask how mindfulness, which is the practise of paying attention to a specific thing happening in the present moment (like they did with their breathing), can help us make healthy choices.
  • Explain to students that scientists have found that pausing and practising mindfulness each day, for as little as 1–2 minutes, helps us make positive choices and share kindness with others.
  • Place your hand over your forehead, and ask the class to do the same. Explain that the front part of their brain (where their hands are placed) is known as the prefrontal cortex, or PFC. Explain that this part of the brain is responsible for making decisions, and ask the class to repeat "PFC" so that they remember this term.
  • Explain that when we take time to breathe, we are able to slow down and make the choice that is best for us, which is also most likely the healthiest choice.
  • Show the class an image of the brain, highlighting the PFC.
  • Review all the things the PFC does for us (makes healthy choices; helps us be calm, focused, attentive, kind, and compassionate).
(5 minutes)
  • Ask students how it feels to care for others.
  • Ask, "What are some words that describe how it feels when we show kindness to others?"
  • Write their responses on the board under the heading, "We may feel..." (Possible answers may include love, happiness, joy, gratitude, connection.)
(5 minutes)
  • Share an example in your own life when you helped someone else (e.g. bringing a meal over to a neighbour in need).
  • Describe to the class how you felt when you showed kindness to someone else.
  • Read through the Making Healthy Choices worksheet, and model how to use the words on the board to answer each question: "How does it feel when you...?"
(25 minutes)
  • Ask students to return to their seats and complete the Making Healthy Choices worksheet, in which they will write about and draw a picture of a time they showed kindness to someone else.

Enrichment:Have students make a poster to share what they learned about kindness.

Support:Provide visuals and models for the worksheet.

(5 minutes)
  • Observe students during the independent working time. You may also collect their worksheets to check for understanding of the questions and spreading kindness to others.
(5 minutes)
  • After all students have completed their worksheets, ask them to share a time they showed kindness to someone else.
  • Ask the class how they felt after showing kindness. Where did they notice this emotion in their body?
  • Refer to the concepts mentioned earlier in the lesson by asking, "How does mindfulness help us again? What part of the brain does it affect?"
  • Ask the class if they have any ideas on how to show kindnes today (as a class) to another class or to someone else. Write their responses on the board. (Example ideas: Wash a classroom teacher's board; write a thank-you note or draw a poster of gratitude to the cafeteria staff for their hard work and yummy food.)
  • If there are several ideas, ask the class to vote to decide on one.
  • Have the class complete this act of kindness before the end of the day.

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