December 1st was our school’s annual Holiday Bazaar. I have to tell you that bazaars overwhelm me. There are so many bright lights, loud noises, and crowded areas, and I really need to remind myself that I can make it through our classroom visit because the children truly do love to go. Yesterday though, I had a very interesting conversation that changed things for me.
Some real world math learning at the @DrJEDavey holiday bazaar. pic.twitter.com/mgjlQHIOZ7
— Aviva Dunsiger (@avivaloca) December 1, 2015
I quickly ran down at the second nutrition break to pick something up in the gym, and I ended up talking to one of the community members that had a table in the corner. She was selling candy. She told me a story about the bazaar. One teacher brought her class down to visit, and many students didn’t have money with them. They were looking at all of the items for sale, and so excited by everything that they saw. This woman called the teacher over, and asked her how many students she had in her class. She then gave the teacher enough candy for all of the students, so that they could each have a special treat from the bazaar. As this woman mentioned to me, “It’s not about how much I sell, but seeing the smiles on the children’s faces that matter the most of all.” And smile, they did …
This was a great reminder about the true meaning of the holidays. I don’t know this woman’s name, but I can’t thank her enough for what she did for these students … and what she did for me. In the midst of the candy, the decorations, the crafts, the presents, and the songs this holiday season, how are you going to spread some joy? How are you going to help children understand the value in “kindness?” I’m still thinking of some ideas, and I’m eager to hear what our students have to say as well. But a special “thank you” to this kind stranger that GAVE me the reminder that we can all give a little something to others.
We love taking time during the holidays to spread joy to others. Our big family tradition has been to buy toys/gifts for children who would not otherwise have a Christmas and donate them to a local toy drive. In addition to our toy drive tradition, this year we decided to sponsor three children who would not ordinarily have Christmas. My kids and I went shopping and they got to choose gifts for another child instead of buying gifts for each other. It has been a great way to teach them to give back. They loved being able to choose special things for someone else. The only downside is ththey have expressed is that they won’t get to see the child opening the presents. They have figured out that it is more fun to give than to receive and it is the reaction of the receiver that makes it great. We are trying to help them to understand that knowing the child will have a nice Christmas is enough and they they will have to be happy knowing they have put some kindness out into the universe.
Sarah, this is such a wonderful story! I love that your children are giving back to others and seeing the value in doing so. I’m thinking of ways to bring this same “joy” into the classroom. Last year, in Grade 1, we generated a list of acts of kindness and performed a different act, each day, during the month of December. Students loved the feeling it gave them to give or help someone else. Kindergarten has been different this year, but I still hope that we can perform some acts of kindness, as many people, give to our students. It’s nice for them to realize what it’s like to give back.
I think a similar acitivity could be done with your current students. There are loads of great picture books out there about kindness. Share some with the class and have some small group discussions about what it looks like to show kindness.
We started our tradition when my children were 3 or 4. They may not have understood the full meaning at that time, but they were starting the learning. You could start by group writing letters to staff/students in the school who help in the classroom to say thank you and show appreciation for the specific tasks they do for you. Then if the kids get interested you could have a letter writing centre and post office.
Even talking about children who may not have all the things that your students do may be enough to stimulate talk about how to give back. A food drive or small change collection to purchase a gift from your class for a toy drive might be another option.
Good luck with the project. I am sure your students will love finding ways to show kindness.
Thanks for your reply, Sarah! For our learners, I think that small group conversations and activities would be the most beneficial. I’d definitely like to do them.
I do work at a school where many students are recipients of various charitable donations. We’re very fortunate to have so many people that give back to our amazing community! As recipients of “acts of kindness,” it’s also great to give back. Words and actions can speak just as loudly and monetary donations, and it’s great that our students (including our youngest learners) can see this. I’m excited to see how we can make our Kindness Crew work in Kindergarten!