Quick and easy, this is the perfect way to dip your toe into the 21-day Challenge in primary!kindergarten clip art

This fabulous twist on the age-old primary “special helper” routine, made me smile and is a simple, quick way to tie kindness into your day without overhauling your whole lesson planning approach or program!

I nabbed the idea from New Zealand teacher Mark Bracey’s article which was featured on the edutopia.org website (worth a look if you haven’t yet had the pleasure).

How I would introduce this routine into the classroom (for the month of Kindness or for the year):

  1. As part of reinforcing a classroom culture of kindness and helping, choose three separate special helpers during three separate times every day “randomly” (naturally, you would keep a list handy to ensure that students had regular turns).
  2. The student enjoys sitting on a special “throne” or chair during his/her “reign” of helping. *Never* underestimate the power of scarcity in the primary grades!
  3. As soon as the helper is chosen, he/she gets to choose three children and proceed to tell them and the rest of the class, what it is that they like about those children specifically.
  4. Modelling and brainstorming starter sentences beforehand is essential. Here are a few examples: What I like best about Bobby is… What I really like about Jenny is… One of Sam’s best qualities is… Dale is a good friend because…
  5. Students are usually honest and caring. If this activity is modelled effectively, it can have a powerful, culture-changing affect on the dynamics and interactions of the students.
  6. Don’t forget the science! Mirror neurons in our brains make it so that we tend to want to emulate the behaviours we see modelled around us. The American Psychological Association’s article The Mind’s Mirror describes mirror neurons as “a type of brain cell that respond equally when we perform an action and when we witness someone else perform the same action.” Offering multiple daily opportunities for students to see kindness and compassion in action, will encourage them to demonstrate kind and compassionate behaviour themselves!

Leave a comment below to share how you used and adapted this lesson for your classroom! I always get inspired by people’s stories and the things they do. You might just inspire someone today!

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Feel free to check out the rest of my website for my blog, additional tangible challenge ideas, journal template, videos-links, bios to cool people who influenced the challenge with their ideas, and the science behind the SABI challenge (peer-reviewed journal articles linked).