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Garden of Kindness

A wall of cut out flowers that says "Garden of Kindness"
OVERVIEW

This lesson provides an opportunity for students to work collaboratively to create a classroom or school-wide display to demonstrate their commitment to kindness.

OBJECTIVES
Students will be able to explain how kindness can be used as a tool to end name‐calling in schools.
Students will develop a campaign to raise awareness of the importance of kindness as a tool to end name-calling in schools.

AGE/EXPERIENCE LEVEL
Grades K-5.

THINGS TO PREP & TOOLS NEEDED
Construction paper, safety‐scissors, markers, crayons, tape and glue. Optional: Glitter and paint.

TIME
30 minutes.

PROCEDURE: PART 1—GUIDED FANTASY (10-15 MINUTES)
Begin the activity by discussing kindness as a way to end name‐calling and bullying in schools using the following questions:

  • Is name-calling and bullying mean, or nice?
  • Do you like it when other students are mean to you?
  • Are you mean to other students?
  • What would it look like if everyone were kind to everyone else?
  • Would there still be name‐calling or bullying?
  • How can we make this happen?

Tell the students that they will be making a kindness garden to show to school what being kind can look like. Have students cut their flowers out of construction paper or provide them with flowers you have already cut out. Ask the students to draw or write something kind they have recently done or witnessed, or why they feel it is important to be kind to one another. After students have decorated their flowers, ask them to share with the rest of the class. Once everyone has shared, you can display the flowers in the classroom or the school’s cafeteria or library, creating a Garden of Kindness to show other students the importance of being kind.

OPPORTUNITIES FOR DIFFERENTIATION
When working with younger students or students with fine motor challenges, cut flower templates out of construction paper before starting activity with students. For older students, the opening discussion should be adjusted to reflect their understanding of name-calling and harassment at the school, and ask them to discuss how slurs or hurtful comments are showing up in the school for them and those around them. Their projects can be posters or flowers, or can be accompanied by a writing piece that describes their plan towards a more respectful school through their art piece:

FOLLOW-UP/EXTENSIONS
This lesson can be done as part of GLSEN’s No Name-Calling week. Additional lessons and conversations around names that students want to be called, and ways to work towards a school that puts kindness in action can increase the impact of this project for the classroom. Extend this lesson with follow up activities around the students’ ideas for how we can make a bully-free, respectful school.

OTHER LESSONS TO EXPLORE
Building a Bully-Free School, That’s a (Gender) Stereotype!