The Great Kindness Challenge

here's what you need to know

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Dear teachers and staff,

The week of January 26, 2015 is designated for The Great Kindness Challenge (GKC), where thousands of schools world wide will devote the week to making the world a kinder place. We at Shadow Hills will also be participating, and I would love if we could join together as a staff to show the kids how important kindness is.

Some things we will be doing:

  • Each student (staff are invited to as well) will be cutting out a hand print and decorating it - I will collect these and send them in to be part of the Guinness World Record for the "Most Kind-Hearted Handprints." Kids for Peace will display all the handprints at the Dignity Health hospital to break the official record for the Largest Collage of Cut-Out Handprints. Kids for Peace collected 10, 511 handprints last year, this year, they are hoping to collect the remaining 19,495. :)
  • A kindness challenge between grade levels. Dear Chris Hall has cut out a bunch of heart of various colors and each grade level will be assigned one color. Students will be instructed that as they perform kind acts or are the recipient of kind acts, they should jot down the act and their name on a heart and turn it in to Mrs. Erwin. Chris and I will then incorporate all the hearts into a bulletin board that will overflow (hopefully) down the halls, showing how kind Shadow Hills kids are. I'm hoping to continue this project for the remainder of the year...since what we regularly practice becomes a habit.
  • In conjunction with classroom lessons, we will be reading some version of "Have you Filled a Bucket Today" and discussing the idea of bucket filling and bucket dipping with your kids. If you can continue to incorporate this language in your classrooms, that would be great.
  • We will do some bullying lessons in your classrooms, but I really believe that we find what we look for--and I would prefer to focus on the positive. If people are being kind to one another, bullying is a non-issue. Our kids need to understand that EVERY person matters, NO EXCEPTIONS. They need to understand that we EXPECT kind behavior here at Shadow Hills and will not tolerate less. If we keep using the same language with them, it will become part of our culture.
  • We will also have a daily quote about kindness--I'll send them to Jeff and all teachers for announcements, and if you wish, you could post the quote and/or use it as a writing prompt. Or a discussion topic. Or whatever.
  • I will be sending another newsletter like this one to you to forward to parents - my suggestion to them is that they extend the kindness challenge to home as well. Talk at dinner about kind acts received, performed or observed. Talk about how kindness impacts the person giving it and the person receiving it.
  • Kindergarten, I'm going to do something a little different with you guys...stay tuned. But we are definitely going to be talking about kindness and what it looks like and displaying acts of kindness.

Maybe you can tell, I'm a bit passionate about this. If we all work together, we really can make Shadow Hills an even more wonderful place to be!

If you have any questions or ideas you'd like to share, please let me know. Thank you in advance for your support of this amazing project!

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Does Kindness in Schools Matter? You bet it does.

Related Studies & Research Articles:
“Bullying in Schools: An Overview” by Ken Seeley, Martin L. Tombari, Laurie J. Bennett, and Jason B. Dunkle
“Kinder children are more popular” by Victoria Gill
“Kindness Counts: Prompting Prosocial Behavior in Preadolescents Boosts Peer Acceptance and WellBeing” by Kristin Layous, S. Katherine Nelson, Eva Oberle, Kimberly A. Schonert-Reichl, Sonja Lyubomirsky
“Acts of Kindness: Key to Happiness for Children & Teens” by Marilyn Price-Mitchell, Ph.D. in The Moment
of Youth
“Brain can be trained in compassion, study shows” by Jill Ladwig

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School Climate Resources

School Climate Resources:
Characters Counts. The biggest character education program in the nation:
It Gets Better Project
National School Climate Center promotes community of upstanders trhough their BullyBust campaign, which
provides free resources for students and adults: This site includes:
• Educator Activities (
• Partner School Program: (
• Student and moderator toolkits encourage students to work in partnership with adults to develop
awareness campaigns. These kits are available by download after users register their information on the
BullyBust site.
• Upstanders In Action: This section includes a list of projects and ideas to get the entire community
engaged in upstander efforts.
• Upstander Central- Youth Leaders: Learn about the top 10 tips for youth-adult partnerships from national
youth leaders.
• Upstanders Go to the Movies: watch popular fim clips and use the guiding questions to spark important
discussions on what it means to be an upstander.
• Upstander Commitment Wall: Share your voice and show support for others on this wall representing our
global movement.
• 10 Ways to Be An Upstander- concrete tips for students
Random Acts of Kindness
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Have You Fill a Bucket Today? Read Aloud
How Full Is Your Bucket? For Kids

I haven't watched this video, so not sure of quality....

A Teacher's Guide To Bucket Filling