Do your students struggle with empathy and kindness? It’s often challenging for my students with autism and social emotional disorders. It’s hard for them to think beyond themselves. Heres an easy way to begin targeting it.
MOVE THE FOCUS TO OTHERS
First, as a class we talked about how we like receiving gifts and how it makes us feel. Everyone was in agreement that getting gifts rock! You’re surprised, right?! Next, we talked about how nice it would feel to bring that joy to someone else. We made a list of things in the classroom that we really enjoy and decided to make those things to give to others.
This week we made no cook play dough and a card to give to another classroom. The whole time we were making the play dough, we talked about what the other class would like. For example, we took a poll of which color we thought they would like best.
BRAINSTORM WAYS TO MAKE IT SPECIAL
Before putting the play dough in a zip lock bag, we decorated that, too. We kept reviewing over and over that we wanted it to be as special as it could be for the other class. Everyone contributed in making the playdoh, the card and decorating the bag.
The other class was THRILLED with the unexpected gift! Not only did my students get a lesson on kindness, but the other sped class got to feel the joy of someone thinking about them. It was a great lesson for all! We’re going to be doing this once a week. Next week, we will be making a snack mix for another classroom.
If you are thinking this sounds like a good thing to try… do it! Not only does it help our students be better humans, but you do target academic skills. For example, to make the playdoh my students had to read a recipe, measure out ingredients, and sequence the steps. To make the card, students had to write phrases, sentences and write their names in small spaces. Lots of language opportunities, too!
KINDNESS IN THE CLASSROOM
Once you have students thinking about showing others kindness, brainstorm ideas for showing it in the classroom. Read the post below for a super simple idea for building this skill:
Build Social Skills & Classroom Morale
Want tips on using children’s books to build social skills? Check out this post: 10 Books To Teach Social Skills
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