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Monday, January 16

Kindness ALWAYS Matters! SEL Kindness Unit for Social Emotional Learning

Developing Social Emotional skills is an essential part of student learning. Facilitating and navigating kindness with first graders can be challenging, but our efforts are so important! Spending time in our classrooms on activities and conversations that focus on teaching children the importance of being kind to others is time well-spent.

My SEL: Kindness Unit is interactive and filled with a variety of kindness oriented activities. I use it throughout the school year starting with back to school, continuing through World Kindness Day in November, Random Acts of Kindness Day in February and on through the end of the school year. It's always a great time to be teaching kindness!

You might be familiar with this unit, having seen it mentioned in this Classroom Community post from a few years back. The unit has been updated since then for a cleaner look, which has helped students and teachers.

Social Emotional Learning Kindness Unit
 Using original poems, a Kindness Pledge, printable practice pages, teaching projectables, RAK cards and a family letter, this unit:
- defines what kindness means and why it's important
- teaches children different ways to show kindness, such as through words, actions and gestures
- reads and discusses books suggested for their themes of kindness
- has students performing random acts of kindness in the classroom, at home and in the community
- discusses kindness in a variety of settings

This unit has had some wonderful feedback from teachers who have used it in their primary grade classrooms.
  • We used this resource throughout the year. Any time we needed to talk about kindness in our class, I went back to this resource. There is so much included. I liked the book recommendations as well.
  • It's awesome to use when teaching lessons on kindness and respect towards their classmates and other students in school!!!! A couple of parents let me know that their child came home talking about the poems and other things we talked about while using this unit!!
  • This was the perfect resource to use to form a classroom community! We also used it during kindness week!
  • I am looking forward to using this as it is so well planned and the visuals are terrific. Thank you!
Kindness Unit - Social Emotional Learning


Social Emotional Learning Kindness Unit


The Kindness Pledge is basically a refrain in my first grade classroom - known by my students and their parents, too! I hope it helps you in your classroom, too. 

Feel free to reach out with any questions or feedback! You can contact me at lisa@growingfirsties.com any time! I'm teaching full time in the classroom and will get back to you as soon as possible because I love helping teachers!

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Saturday, December 31

Status of the Class for Writer's Workshop

Volume of writing is important for beginning writers. There are MANY reasons that writers may not produce a high volume of writing. The best method I've used to increase the volume and quality of writing in my classroom is taking the Status of the Class. It's been a game changer in my classroom. Taking Status of the Class helps me know where each writer is at in their current piece of writing. It's a couple of minutes worth their weight in gold.

I take a few minutes at the beginning of each writing work time to have each student report which stage they are at in their current piece of writing. We meet at the rug and all students have their current piece with them and I have the stages posted on our projector so they can easily name their stage.

You might have seen this Writers Workshop post chock full of writers workshop tips

It's important to teach writers to balance their volume of writing with the quality of their writing. When I track writing status, it gives me information for that day as well as patterns of their work habits. It helps me know which students need some extra support and what small or whole group lessons might be beneficial.

Here's an example of my notes, including a tracker I use for their writing topics.
Status of the Class Writers Workshop

I love knowing quickly where each writer is at with their writing, which students might need support and what small or whole group lessons would be beneficial. If your writers are struggling for personal narrative writing ideas, it's important to spend time nurturing their writing ideas.

Here are some more pictures and info about what I use to track the status.
Status of the Class Writers Workshop

Status of the Class Writers Workshop

Status of the Class Writers Workshop
I have two options available for you if you're looking for a way to take the Status of the Class - this one is free (not editable) and this version is editable.

Put your questions in the comments or shoot me an email at lisa@growingfirsties.com - I love to help teachers!

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