Tag Archives: Kindness

Some Preschools Are Including “Kindness” Training in Their Curriculums

“Thanks to a challenge from the Dalai Lama, a number of preschools are trying to teach something that has not always been considered an academic subject: kindness… preschoolers are introduced to a potpourri of sensory games, songs and stories that are designed to help them pay closer attention to their emotions.” R. Schiffman, New York Times

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post  with Answer Key

Excerpt:  Can Kindness Be Taught?  By Richard Schiffman New York Times

“Can you look inside yourself and tell me what you’re feeling?” Danielle Mahoney-Kertes asked a class of prekindergarten students at P.S. 212 in Queens recently.

‘Happy,’ one girl offered. ‘Sick,’ said another. A boy in a blue T-shirt gave a shy thumbs down. ‘That happens too,’ Ms. Mahoney-Kertes, a literacy coach, reassured him. The exercise was part of the  Kindness Curriculum, developed by the Center for Healthy Minds at the University of Wisconsin, Madison…’Our world is kind of a scary place,’ Ms. Mahoney-Kertes said. ‘We can’t always control what is happening outside us. But what we’re teaching them is that they can control how they respond.’

P.S. 212, is in a neighborhood in Jackson Heights that is home to many new immigrants…’A child can come in and say, ‘My father was deported last night.’ How do you deal with that?” said the school’s principal, Carin Ellis. ‘We give them tools to cope with their hurt and pain.’

Ms. Ellis believes the Kindness Curriculum has also helped kids manage the stress of standardized testing and cut down on interpersonal conflicts…Richard Davidson, the founder of the Center for Healthy Minds, believes that ancient Buddhist wisdom provides clues. He was inspired, he said, by a request from Tibet’s spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, who asked him to take insights from contemplative practice out of their religious context and use them to develop strategies to help improve people’s lives... On “Sesame Street,” the characters model a variety of kind actions. For example, Big Bird’s friends help him conquer his stage fright; Elmo patiently waits as Zoe learns to use his scooter. The program then cuts to its ‘kindness cam,’ which shows real children engaging in similar behaviors… Ms. Mahoney-Kertes points out, however, that, educators must practice what they preach for their lessons to be truly effective.”

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post

NOTE: Lessons can also be used with native English speakers.

Level: Intermediate – Advanced


Language Skills: Reading, writing, and speaking. Vocabulary and grammar activities are included.


Time: Approximately 2 hours.


Materials: Student handout (from this lesson) and access to news article.


Objective: Students will read and discuss the article
with a focus on improving reading comprehension and learning new vocabulary. At the end of the lesson students will express their personal views on the topic through group work and writing.

I. Pre-Reading Activities

Stimulating background knowledge: Brainstorming

Directions: Place students in groups, ask students to think about what they already know about  the topic (kindness).  Next, have students look at the pictures in the text and generate ideas or words that may be connected to the article.  Regroup as a class and list these ideas on the board. Students can use a brainstorming chart for assistance.

G. Cluster Brainstorming-workshopexercises

 

II. While Reading Activities

Word Inference

Directions: Students are to infer the meanings of the words in bold taken from the article. They may use a dictionary, thesaurus, and Word Chart for assistance.

  1. The Dalai Lama presented the challenge.
  2. Preschoolers are introduced to a potpourri of sensory games.
  3. The Kindness Curriculum has also helped kids manage the stress of standardized testing.
  4. We give them tools to cope with their hurt and pain.
  5. The Kindness Curriculum is part of a growing global movement.
  6. Dr. Davidson said he used the Buddhist  concept as the basis for teaching children.
  7. Children are able to empathize with the feelings of others.
  8. Sesame Street’s own research prompted its focus on kindness.
  9. The period between ages 4 and 7 is a critical developmental window when the brain is reorganizing.
  10. Youngsters who received the kindness training become more altruistic as they grew older.

Color Vocabualry Map by Enchanted Learning

 

Reading Comprehension

Fill-ins

Directions: Place students in groups and after they have read the entire article, have them complete the following sentencestaken from the article. They can use the words and terms from the list provided, or provide their own terms. They are to find the meanings of any new vocabulary.

One ___working on ___with older ___ the Los Angeles-based ‘Kind Campaign’, founded in 2009, organizes middle and high school that ___the problem of ___between young women. The girls are ___to write a ‘kind apology’ and___it to who they have wronged.

WORD LIST: somebody,students,bullying,hand, program, kindness,target, assemblies, invited,

 

Grammar Focus: Structure and Usage

Directions: The following groups of sentences are from the article. One of the sentences in each group contains a grammatical  error. Students are to identify the sentence (1, 2, or 3 ) from each group that contains the grammatical error.

I

  1. The exercise was part of the Kindness Curriculum.
  2. The Kindness Curriculum was an natural fit.
  3. When you’re unkind to another, it’s usually about how we are feeling.

II

  1. The program strengthened children’s ability to focus.
  2. They may also fare better later in life.
  3. The Kindness Curriculum is part of an growing global movement.

III

  1. Richard Davidson believes that ancient Buddhist wisdom provides clues.
  2. The program encourages children to identify there feelings and to put a label to them.
  3. On Sesame Street, the characters model a variety of kind actions.

III. Post Reading Activities

WH-How Questions

Directions: Have students use the  WH-question format to discuss or to write the main points from the article.

Who or What is the article about?

Where does the action/event take place?

When does the action/event take place?

Why did the action/event occur?

How did the action/event occur?

Discussion for Comprehension /Writing

Directions: Place students in groups and have them  discuss the following statements. Afterwards, have the groups share their thoughts as a class. To reinforce the ideas, students can write an essay on one of the topics mentioned.

The articles states, “Another group, the Random Acts of Kindness Foundation, has developed lesson plans for all age groups through high school. Students are guided in classroom discussions and asked to come up with positive actions, like sitting with someone who is alone in the lunchroom and writing imaginative thank you letters to their future selves.”

  1. Can you think of a time during your life when you were taught to be kind to others?  Share your experience with the group.
  2. In your opinion is this a good curriculum for  all students? Explain why or why not.
  3. With your group create a list of activites for young children that will teach the ideas of kindness, sharing and caring.

 

1-Minute Free Writing Exercise

Directions: Allow students 1 minute to write down one new idea they’ve learned from the reading. Ask them to write down one thing they did not understand in the reading.  Review the responses as a class. Note: For the lower levels allow more time for this writing activity.

ANSWER KEY

Category: Education, Social Issues | Tags:

After the Holidays… Kindness Still Matters

“As we enter the traditional holiday season, it has become commonplace for many of us to suddenly pay attention to serious issues such as homelessness, hunger, poverty and illness… As an activist and humanitarian, my heart has long been with those the world has seemingly forgotten…But let’s be clear, the holiday season is not the only time to show kindness and compassion toward others.” K. Powell, CNN

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post with Answer Key

Photo- care2.com

Photo- care2.com

Excerpt: Why kindness matters even more after Thanksgiving and Christmas By Kevin Powell, CNN

 

“I support this energy myself, as I’ve been producing an annual holiday party and clothing drive in New York City for homeless youths every December since the September 11 attacks… Of course, you don’t have to do what I do daily to feel that way. You simply have to have empathy in your heart for fellow human beings.

Homeless. Photo-eoan org

Homeless. Photo-eoan org

Look, who are you? Who are you really? George Bailey asks his guardian angel Clarence in It’s a Wonderful Life.

Actors James Stewart (George Bailey) and Henry Travers (Clarence Odbody-guardian angel) in 1944 film- It’s A Wonderful Life.

Actors James Stewart (George Bailey) and Henry Travers (Clarence Odbody-guardian angel) in 1944 film- It’s A Wonderful Life.

You can be Georgia’s Kupenda Auset, a two-time cancer survivor whose bright spirit is forever dedicated to the health and wellness of others in spite of her endless battles with the disease. You can be Maryland’s Antonio Tijerino, head of the Hispanic Heritage Foundation and one of the most selfless leaders I have met. He mentors countless young people and stands with the children of immigrants at the Texas border as he never forgets his own immigrant journey.

First Lady Michelle O. feeds homless in Washington DC. Photo- topnews

First Lady Michelle O. feeds homless in Washington DC. Photo- topnews

You can be Rhonda Bayless in Indiana, single mother, young grandmother and dynamic voice for the voiceless, who has turned the difficulties of her own life into a community garden and empowerment space for those seeking a new path. I think of this as I travel America, our America. I have witnessed the dissing of the homeless, including some of our military veterans…

US Veterans. Photo- veterans.org

US Veterans. Photo- veterans.org

I think of this as I hear those who blame poor people for being poor, never bothering to understand the conditions that create and perpetuate poverty…And I think of this when I hear folks mock or hurt with their words women, gay and transgendered people, the elderly, youth, the disabled, people of religious faiths different from theirs and even those who’ve been the victims of violence.

First Food Not Bombs group feed homeless. Photo- nytimes

First Food Not Bombs group feed homeless. Photo- nytimes

Yes, I am appreciative of any holiday celebration that allows me to spend time with my mother, the only parent I’ve ever known, especially as she moves deeper into her golden years.

Kids showing Random acts of Kindness. Photo- ellenshow

Kids showing Random acts of Kindness. Photo- theellenshow

Photo-the guardian

Photo-the guardian

Yet I want that love, that compassion, that spirit of togetherness, of giving, of sharing, of being thankful, to be as natural to us as breathing, every single day of our lives.”

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post

NOTE: Lessons can also be used with native English speakers.

Level: Intermediate – Advanced


Language Skills: Reading, writing, and speaking. Vocabulary and grammar activities are included.


Time: Approximately 2 hours.


Materials: Student handout (from this lesson) and access to news article.


Objective: Students will read and discuss the article
with a focus on improving reading comprehension and learning new vocabulary. At the end of the lesson students will express their personal views on the topic through group work and writing.

I. Pre-Reading Activities

 Predictions: Analyzing headings and photos

Directions:  Have students  examine the titles of the post and of the actual article. After they examine the photos, ask students to create a list of  words and  ideas  that they think might be related to this article. 

II. While Reading Tasks

Word Inference

Directions: Students are to infer the meanings of the words in bold taken from the article. They may use a dictionary, thesaurus, and Word Chart  for assistance.

  1. As we enter the traditional holiday season, we pay attention to serious issues.
  2. There is a desire to bring diverse people together.
  3. I’m an activist and humanitarian.
  4. People should have empathy for the less fortunate.
  5. I was financially destitute.
  6. We contribute toward the healing of our planet.
  7. Extreme indifference is dangerous.
  8. I think of this as debates rage about immigrants from Latin America.
  9. In the world there is so much violence and destruction.
  10. I have witnessed the dissing of the homeless.

 

 

Reading Comprehension: Word -Recognition

Directions: Students choose the correct word to complete the sentences taken from the article. They are to choose from the options presented.

“And ___is having the ___to listen to the ___of those who might be ___from you like, say, ___ as they express what Thanksgiving or the ___season might mean to them, given their very different___ on this land.

Indeed, I’ve heard countless ___say that we are living in ___and difficult times. Yes, we are. But I also believe we have it in us, as ___beings, to make every day a___ day, and every moment we interact with each other an endless ___of the possibilities of our humanity.”

Word List: history, caring, different, voices, ability, ugly, individuals, Native Americans, celebration, holiday, human,  holy.

 Grammar Focus: Using Adjectives  to describe pictures    

Directions: Have students choose a picture from the article  and write a descriptive paragraph using adjectives.

III. Post Reading Tasks

WH-How Questions

Directions: Have students use the  WH-question format to discuss or to write the main points from the article.

Who or What is the article about?

Where does the action/event take place?

When does the action/event take place?

Why did the action/event occur?

How did the action/event occur?

Discussion/Writing Exercise

Directions: Place students in groups and have them answer the following questions. Afterwards, have the groups share their thoughts as a class. To reinforce the ideas, students can write an essay on one of the following discussion topics.

  1. The following  three statements were taken from the article. Rephrase each statement in your own words, then discuss the meaning with the members of your group.

“As an activist and humanitarian, my heart has long been with those the world has seemingly forgotten. Of course, you don’t have to do what I do daily to feel that way. You simply have to have empathy in your heart for fellow human beings.”

“Yes, I am appreciative of any holiday celebration that allows me to spend time with my mother, the only parent I’ve ever known, especially as she moves deeper into her golden years. Yet I want that love, that compassion, that spirit of togetherness, of giving, of sharing, of being thankful, to be as natural to us as breathing, every single day of our lives.”

“The homeless person was told he was a waste to society, a bum and the reason our communities have deteriorated. In his tirade, this angry man did not even bother to read the cardboard sign in the other man’s hands: I did two tours of duty in Iraq. The wars hurt me. I lost everything. Can you please help an American veteran? Please?”

1-Minute Free Writing Exercise

Directions: Allow students 1 minute to write down one new idea they’ve learned from the reading. Ask them to write down one thing they did not understand in the reading.  Review the responses as a class. Note: For the lower levels allow more time for this writing activity.

ANSWER KEY

Category: Social Issues | Tags: ,