Kindness Immersion Example. Theme #4. “Contributing to the Family/ Community,Taking Care of the Elderly or Sick.” 11-13 years od age

What does kindness look like and feel in different contexts?

Time: 1-4 weeks

Steps: Do this activity when you know you have at least 10-15 minutes day for 2-4 weeks, and 2 large pockets of time for at least 90 minutes, each.

Show students the photo where the 1st and 2nd grade class students in Cape Verde demonstrate care to the sick and elderly people, and the second photo by 15-year-old, Brooke from California, USA titled: “Mentoring a neighbor”. See both at the bottom of the page.

Ask students what they noticed about the different places outlined in above? Are there any similarities or differences to where they live? Identify on the map the countries Cape Verde, where the first and second graders live, and California in the USA where Brooke lives, and discuss. 

Questions for the teacher: Is there anything about the people or places in the examples that serve as a mirror for your students? Does anything serve your students as a window into a new culture? How do the differences in cultures provide an opportunity for your students to learn about a new culture or to see them reflected within these cultures? As you frame questions and guide discussions, be thinking about these opportunities. How might this expression of kindness be an empathetic nudge for others to also do something kind?

Teacher-Generated Lesson Idea: Make a plan for students to do something to help the elderly by giving time to them up such as reading to them, talking to them, or doing something for them, such as beautifying a garden or grounds at their nursing home. Alternatively, if your school is walking distance to a school with younger students, forming a buddy class, where your students could give their time on a prearranged schedule, as a class (or individually if the younger students are on the same campus), to mentor younger students with predetermined projects.

Student-generated Lesson Idea: Ask students: Share an idea with a partner that would be a project where we can give our time by noticing, caring for or showing love to elderly people in our community? Or a way that the members of the class can mentor/give time to younger students? Ask students to share ideas with the group. 

Determine which idea works the best for the school, using consensus. (See resources for how to reach true consensus with students.) As this is a longer-term project it will be critical for the students to deeply consider how they can create an atmosphere of kindness within their school by showing that they notice, care for,and/or love people in the larger community.

Implement the teacher-generated lesson idea or the student-generated lesson idea.

If a nursing home, hospital or a similar type facility was involved, ask someone from there to share a first-hand account of how the class activity was received and how the students’ giving time, noticing others, caring for, or showing love/empathy impacted their residents/patients. This could be done over the phone, using a video, or via an email that is read aloud to the students. If your students gave time to younger students, be sure to make a plan for sharing what impact the mentoring had on individuals or the class.

Over the next few weeks, ask students to write short reflections using the following prompts: How did noticing others with our love, care, and/or time outside of our school make you feel? How did others feel as a result of our project? How do you know how others felt? How long do you think people will remember what we did? How did this project build-up their school’s community?