Waves of Kindess

Make just one person happy each day and in forty years you will have made 14,600 people happy. For a little time, at least. ~Charles Willey

This lesson’s goal is for children to be able to define and apply the caring trait. Instructor will provide a visual, using the “Color of Care” activity. Instructor will read the book “How to Heal a Broken Wing.” Students will engage in activities, interact with one another, and recall information during the formative assessment taking place at the end of “Wave of Kindness.”

What does it mean to care for something or someone?

How can one demonstrate caring acts?

What is the difference between caring about something and being a caring person?

Materials: “How to Heal a Broken Wing” by Bob Graham, beach ball, two clear glasses, blue food coloring, and bleach

Lesson Plan

Anticipatory Set: Teacher will MODEL: The Color of Care Activity (5 minutes)

  1. kindnessTwo large glasses will be filled half way; one with water, one with bleach.
  2. Pour four drops of blue food coloring in the water glass,
  3. Explain that the blue water represents someone who is sad, hurt, and lonely on the inside. They are “feeling blue.”
  4. Explain when we care for someone who is sad, that can make a difference in their lives.
  5. Explain that the glass of bleach represents “caring.”
  6. Pour the bleach into the colored water.
  7. Explain by caring for others look at the difference we can make.
  8. Watch as the water slowly turns back to clear.
  9. Return to the water at the end of the discussion
  10. Watch [the video] at the top of the page

Discussion (8 minutes)

  1. Pair students up with someone from a different grade and different hair color.
  2. Once everyone has a partner, ask students to answer the following questions on a piece of paper: What does it mean to be caring?  What are things you care about? Who are people you care about? Where are places you care about? What would the world look like if caring acts didn’t exist? What are some ways we can demonstrate caring acts? Why is it important to be caring towards others?
  3. All partners come together in a circle and discuss the questions as a group. This is the chunk of the lesson. Get deep. Encourage them to open up.

Book Reading (10 minutes)how to heal a broken wing

  • “How to Heal A Broken Wing” by Bob Graham will be read by a 3rd, 4th, or 5th Grader
  • “How to Heal a Broken Wing” is about a boy who is walking with his mother in a busy city and suddenly notices an injured bird in the midst of chaos. Will and his mother nurse the bird back to health. This story shows that each living thing matters and that one person can make a difference in a life.

Post Book Reading: Wave of Kindness Activity

  1. Teacher explains that one of the nicest things about caring for others is that they’re likely going to be kind in return.
  2. Teacher encourages students to close their eyes and imagine yourself at the beach and you throw a beach ball as hard as you can in the ocean.
  3. The ball will return to you no matter how hard or far you threw it, the waves would bring the ball back to shore.
  4. Kind words and actions are the beach ball.
  5. As you toss out caring actions, before you know it someone else is doing something kind for you.
  6. Caring makes the world a better place for everyone.


downloadAfter explaining the analogy, take the beach ball and throw it to a student. That student must explain one thing they learned that day or a way to demonstrate a caring act and throw the ball back to the instructor. The instructor throws the beach ball to another students, the student answers, then returns the ball back to instructor. Instructor repeats this until everyone in the group has been asked one question.

Alignment with the Developmental Assets

  • Strengthens #26 Caring
  • Strengthens #33 Interpersonal Competence

Put Yourself in Someone Else’s Shoes

This activity will help students understand empathy, identify ways to be more understanding toward others.

Essential Questions: 

What does it mean to put yourself in someone else’s shoes?

What kind of behaviors show that you understand someone’s feelings?

Materials: 4 – 6 pairs of shoes,  Poster Paper, Markers/ Crayons,

Empathy: The ability to put oneself in someone else’s shoes / To identify with and understand another’s feelings.

Compassion: The desire to help with another’s problems or sufferings.

Empathy Poster
Empathy Poster


  1. Students volunteer to choose a pair of shoes to put on. Attached to the shoes are written scenarios. Based on the information given, the student has to “put themselves in that person’s shoes” and identify how that person might feel.
  2. The class then suggest ways we might show compassion to the person in the shoes.
  3. Explain: It is pretty easy to show empathy and compassion to those we like or love. The challenge is giving those gifts to everyone around us!
  4. Make: A Poster about Empathy

Extension Activity992a0f24744c549a0c26798748c3b468

  • The above activity can bridge to another topic of how others feel when we interrupt and blurt things out. Read “My Mouth Is A Volcano” by Julis Cook & come up with ideas that might help us not to “erupt” on someone.


  1. Mrs. Fields handed back Monday’s math test.
    Jacob said, “Finn, how did you do?”
    “I got a B,” Finn replied.
    “I got a perfect score!” Jacob told him. “My first A plus! I studied all weekend. I bet my mom will take me for ice cream to celebrate.”
    “Stop bragging, Jacob!” Finn yelled.
    How would you feel if you got a 100/A+ on a test that you studied really hard for? 
  2. Durrell threw a paper airplane at Mike. Mrs. Fields saw the paper airplane land on the floor in front of Mike’s desk. She thought Mike had thrown it. She made Mike clean the classroom before he could to go to recess.
    Durrell ran up to Mike at recess. He said, “I’m sorry I got you in trouble.”
    “Don’t talk to me, Durrell.”
    “I said I was sorry, Mike. Why are you being so mean to me?”
    How would you feel if you got in trouble for something your friend did?
  3. Mrs. Fields said to Tina, “Suri’s best friend moved yesterday. Why don’t you see if she wants to hang out at recess?” Tina agreed.
    “Suri, do you want to play a game?” Tina asked.
    Suri shrugged. “If you want to.”
    Tina set up the game while Suri watched. “Are you going to help?”
    “I guess so,” Suri said.
    “So what are you doing over break?” Tina asked.
    Suri replied, “I don’t know.”
    Tina rolled her eyes. “Are you always this boring?”
    How would you feel if your best friend moved away?
  4. “Hey, Meegan,” Valerie said. “Are you all packed for your trip?”
    “Yeeeees!” Meegan squealed as she hopped around her friend.
    “What is wrong with you?” Valerie asked.
    Meegan said, “Nothing!” But she kept hopping.
    Valerie started to walk away.
    “Where are you going?” Meegan asked between hops.
    “Come find me when you stop being weird,” Valerie told her.
    How would you feel if you were going on a fun vacation?
  5. It is your mother’s birthday, and you would like to get her some flowers, especially roses because they are her favorite. However, you do not have any money. Therefore, without permission, you pick some roses from a neighbor’s yard. The flowers make your mother extremely happy! She cannot stop talking about how beautiful they are and how wonderful you are for thinking of the “perfect birthday present” to give to her. Then, she asks how were you able to afford such beautiful  flowers with your small weekly allowance? Do you tell her how you got the roses? Why/why not?
  6. Tosi’s lunch money is missing. You saw Alfredo take the money out of Tosi’s jacket pocket. However, Alfredo has been your best friend for four years; you do everything and go everywhere together. Do you tell on your best friend? Why/why not?

Alignment with the Developmental Assets:

  • Builds #33 Interpersonal Competence

Everyone Is A Helper

This lesson is brought to you by Teaching Tolerance
This lesson is brought to you by Teaching Tolerance

This activity will help students understand the concept of strengths, struggles, and what it means to help. It also develops a sense of community, while creating visual representations of the concepts they discuss.

Essential Questions  

What are “strengths” and “struggles?”

What does it mean to help another person?

How can you use your strengths to help those around you?

Glossary: helping hands

  • Strength: Something you are really good at
  • Struggle: Something you sometimes have a hard time with
  • Help: To use your strengths to support someone who is struggling with something
  • Community: A group of people who share something, like an interest, a goal, or a living or working space; a group of people who cooperate and learn to work together

Materials: Sometimes I HELP; Sometimes I NEED help handout, Construction Paper, Crayons


  1. What is a strength? As a class, make a list on chart paper of STRENGTHS you think you might have. These are things you are really good at. Once you have a list, turn and talk to your neighbor about how you each might use your strengths during the school day.
  2. What is a struggle? As a class, make a list on a separate piece of chart paper of STRUGGLES you might have. These are things you might have a hard time with. Once you have a list, turn and talk to a different neighbor about times during the school day you might struggle, and how a classmate could help you.
  3. Now that you have two charts, go to your table and fill out the handout,Sometimes I HELP, Sometimes I NEED Help. Talk with your table mates about what you are writing. Draw a picture in each box using colored pencils; your pictures should show a situation where you are using a strength to help someone else and a situation where you are struggling and need help from a classmate.
  4. Come together as a class and share your work. Go around your circle and explain how you are able to help your classmates.
  5. On construction paper, “publish” the “Sometimes I HELP” part of your handout. Write your sentence neatly, and illustrate it using crayons or oil pastels. When everyone has finished publishing, your teacher will put these pages together to make an “Everyone’s a Helper” quilt. This quilt can hang in your classroom all year. When you need help with something, remember to consult your quilt and see if there’s another classmate who can help you.

Extension Activity

  • Learning about strengths, struggles and how we can help each other is important in every community, not just at school. When you go home, talk to your family or other children in your neighborhood about the activity you did at school. Have a conversation about your strengths and struggles and how you help each other. The next morning in school, write or draw something in your journal to show what you talked about and learned. Share these thoughts at your morning meeting.

Journal Questions

  • Who can you imagine yourself going to next time you need help with something that is a struggle for you? Why? Who do you think you might be able to help? How and why?
  • What do the words—strength, struggle, help and community—mean to you? Has your understanding of these words changed after these lessons? Explain why or why not.

Do you agree that knowing one another’s strengths and struggles helps make a community safer, stronger and more productive? Explain why or why not, and challenge yourself to use specific examples.

This Lesson has been brought to you by Teaching Tolerance

Alignment with the Developmental Assets:

  • Exposes the child’s #37 Personal Power
  • Provides a #5 Caring School Climate