Kindness Challenge presented to USC eighth graders
Who’s up for a challenge? This is no ordinary challenge. There’s no sweat, no tears, no winners and losers. In this challenge, the goal is simple….be kind.
Upper St. Clair eighth grade English language arts and social studies teacher Erin Lemon presented her students with a Kindness Challenge. Every week students are challenged to complete one act of kindness that ranges from learning about another country’s traditions to smiling at everyone you see for a day.
Motivated by other local kindness initiatives, Mrs. Lemon wanted to implement a similar program for her Fort Couch Middle School students.
“I’m familiar with the Pittsburgh Kindness Initiative
, which strives to make Pittsburgh a kinder city through small and simple acts of kindness,” Mrs. Lemon said. “I was looking for a way to bring that mission into my classroom and found this Kindness Challenge on Teachers Pay Teachers
To date, challenges have included the following: ask somebody new to play with you; let somebody go in front of you in line; ask three people about their day; smile at everyone you walk past all day; learn five new things about a classmate; clean up trash around the school; learn about a tradition from another country; offer to share something without being asked; and do a chore at home without being asked.
Overall, students have responded enthusiastically and most have completed at least one of the challenges.
“They seem to be excited to do some of the challenges, although some of the challenges take them outside of their comfort zone,” Mrs. Lemon said. “Some students have made it a goal to complete all of the challenges, others complete the ones that appeal to them.”
One of the challenges was to write a thank you note to one of the custodians.
“The custodian who takes care of my classroom was so touched that he wrote a thank you note to the student who wrote him the note,” Mrs. Lemon said. “The student was surprised and excited to know that her note was truly appreciated and that the simple gesture of writing a note meant so much to him.”
At the end of the first nine weeks, Mrs. Lemon hosted a pizza party for the students who completed every challenge and plans to have another kindness celebration soon.
“I hope that the kids will realize that small acts of kindness can make a big difference to other people,” she said. “I hope that they will try to make some of these actions into a habit, or at least try to think about making an effort to be kind to others.”