Ideas and activities (including bulletin boards) to help you celebrate kindness in the 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade classroom

8 Ideas For Celebrating and Rewarding Kindness in the Upper Elementary Classroom

Ideas and activities (including bulletin boards) to help you celebrate kindness in the 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade classroom

Drawing attention to and celebrating your 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade students for being kind is one of the best ways to encourage more kindness!  There are so many different and fun ways to do this in your upper elementary classroom.

Kindness breeds more kindness, so coming up with a plan to celebrate and reward kindness will only help you promote a more positive classroom environment!

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Ways to Encourage Acts of Kindness In the 3rd, 4th, and 5th Grade Classroom

You can make kindness a classroom job by either having a student be assigned to record the kindness they see, or have a student in charge of being extra kind.

4th grade teacher Allison Heisler has a "kindness recorder" in her classroom.  Every week, a different student student is responsible for writing down different acts of kindness they observed in the classroom in a journal.  She transfers all these kindness acts into a hallway display that is up all year.

An anonymous 4th grade teacher makes one student the "kindness ninja."  This student is responsible for spreading kindness throughout the classroom.

Check out these other meaningful classroom job ideas. 

2. Celebrate Acts Of Kindness with a Sound

Find something that makes a fun and distinctive sound, and designate that as your kindness noise.  Whenever you notice a student doing something kind, sound the noise!  Or, let students sound the noise!

Librarian Julia Curry keeps a bell on her desk, and if someone is kind to another student, the receiver of the kindness can give a "kindness ring-a-ling."

The beauty of this celebration is that you aren't giving students anything physical to celebrate, but students will still feel special.  Help students better understand that kindness is its own reward.

Plus, it takes up very little class time.  If you want to stop and talk about the act of kindness you can, but you don't have to!

There are a lot of different sound options:

Smiley Bell
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Applause Button
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3. Kindness Jar

Give students an opportunity to share how others have been kind to them with a kindness jar!  This is a great way to encourage and promote kindness in the upper elementary classroom.

When someone does something kind for them, students can write a quick note explaining the kind act and put the note in the kindness jar.  Periodically, take some of these notes out and read them to the class!

4. A Kindness Chain

At the beginning of the school year, cut out plenty of strips of paper to use for a kindness paper chain.

Whenever you see an act of kindness, have the student pick up sheet of paper, write their name on it, and add it to the chain.  Challenge your students to see how long the chain can get by the end of the school year!

a no cost way to celebrate kindness you see in your 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade students

5. Kindness Wristbands

Use these free editable brag tag bracelets (or something similar) to celebrate your students when see them demonstrating kindness.  Students will love wearing the bracelets, and it is an easy way to let parents know their 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade children were showing kindness as well!

You can print out different acts of kindness ahead of time and hand them out to students when you see them doing it, or print off some blank ones and hand-write different acts of kindness you spot.

6. Celebrate Acts of Kindness With Lip Candy

In general, a classroom management plan based on motivating students with candy is certainly not ideal.  However, when used sparingly and with a specific purpose, candy has a place.

Using lip shaped candy is a fun way to let students know how big a difference their words can make.  Pass out one of these lip suckers or one of these gummy lips whenever you a hear a student using particularly kind words.

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Gummi Lips Candy
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7. Kindness Is Contagious Bulletin Board

This free "Kindness is Contagious" Bulletin Board is a great way to display the acts of kindness your are noticing in your classroom.  It includes bulletin board letters and printable notes you can use to write out different acts of kindness in your classroom.

Or, check out 5th grade teacher Taylor Mackowsky's kindness bulletin board for some inspiration!

a kindness bulletin board to inspire kindness with your 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade students

8. A Kindness Bucket for a Class Party

3rd grade teacher Gigi Mahoney has a small bucket that she puts a pom pom into whenever she notices an act of kindness.  When the bucket is full, she has a class party to celebrate all the acts of kindness!

The reward party can be anything you want - you could have a board game day, watch a movie (preferably one that you can a compare to a book), have a pizza party, offer extra recess, etc.  Make it as simple or as complicated as you want.

Celebrating kindness you see isn't the only way to create a culture of kindness in the classroom.  These picture books are also a great way to intentionally teach kindness and empathy. 

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