Growing Kindness In Ourselves and Others
With the lesson plan Growing Kindness Ourselves and Others, we are introduced to mindfulness with the short parable "The Two Wolves." This story teaches young learners that inside of us we have both helpful and unhelpful seeds of emotion, and whatever seeds we choose to water, those are the seeds that will grow. Geared towards kindergarten and first grade learners, kids will reflect on how they can grow kindness in themselves and express appreciation for others—an important skill that fosters compassion and improves communication.
Students will be able to understand how they can practice kindness towards themselves and others.
- Gather students into a circle either seated in chairs or on the floor.
- Remind students of the raised attention signal, the talking piece, and circle guidelines developed in lesson 1.
- First have students practice the belly breathing they learned last week to help destress and cultivate calm.
- Welcome each student into the circle, have each student welcome another classmate. Example: "Hello Malika, welcome to our circle."
- Share that today we will be learning how we can practice kindness towards ourselves and others.
Explicit Instruction/Teacher modeling(15 minutes)
- Share the following with your students: “A Cherokee elder told his grandson that there is a battle between two wolves inside us all. One wolf is hatred, greed, anger, and jealousy, and the other wolf is kindness, peace, love, and generosity. When the elder’s grandson asked, 'Who wins?' his grandfather replied, 'Whichever one you feed.'" Two Wolves is a popular Native American legend. Inside of us we have both helpful and unhelpful seeds of emotion like the two wolves, and whatever seeds we choose to water, those are the seeds that will grow.
- Ask students to share examples of watering helpful seeds or reflections from the Two Wolves story.
Guided Practice(10 minutes)
- Ask how we as a class can water helpful seeds in each other.
- Using chart paper write down what students share.
- Guide students through grouping similar ideas.
- As a class, generate from the list guidelines for how as a class they can practice kindness towards themselves and each other by "watering helpful seeds."
Independent working time(10 minutes)
- Have each student's name on a strip of paper in a container.
- Walking around the circle discreetly, have students pick a name from the container and if they choose their own put it back in. Once every student has a name of a classmate their job is to create a "warm fuzzy" from the Warm Fuzzy Message worksheet.
- Explain that a "warm fuzzy" refers to the warm, pleasant sensations one feels in the stomach and heart area when emotionally moved by an act of kindness.
- Their job is to write a message to their classmate that says something kind about them, ideally something positive they observed. For example, "It was really cool how you put up the chairs of even our classmates who were absent at the end of the day."
- Enrichment: Advanced students may want to get more specific about the positive actions they observe.
- Support: Some students may need help deciding what to write to their classmate.
- During independent work time, circle around the room and make sure students who need support receive your help. Collect each warm fuzzy to make sure every student receives one and all of them are appropriate.
Review and closing(5 minutes)
- Have each student share how they plan to water helpful seeds in themselves and in others.
- If time permits, have each student present their warm fuzzy to their classmate.