“Kindness comes in many different forms, including patience, forgiveness, and through simple acts that lead to positive connections.”
— Christine McKee, Emerging Technology Consultant, Edmonton Catholic Schools, Alberta, Canada
This year, teachers, students, and parents have done an incredible job adapting to remote and hybrid learning. They’ve brought positivity to every interaction, made online learning engaging, found ways to stay connected, and shared acts of kindness throughout rapidly changing situations.
World Kindness Day is November 13, and it’s the perfect time to reflect on and appreciate the positive power of kindness—and recognize the heroes who model it all year round!
As part of our celebration, we are highlighting tips and lessons from teachers, educators, and parents, including you, on what you’ve learned about kindness during remote and hybrid learning. To make this easy and engaging, we’re using Flipgrid to record and display your responses. You can visit the World Kindness Day Flipgrid topic to see them all and add your own! There are already some great messages posted, and we’ve put some of our favorites so far on a one-minute Kindness Sizzle Reel.
Here are some more quick and easy-to-use ways to spread kindness and promote well-being:
New praise badges in Microsoft Teams and sticker packs in OneNote and Whiteboard
Praise badges were released not long ago, and we’re already hearing some great stories of how teachers and students have been using them to build up one another.
Cindy Ramirez, a teacher from the US, was excited to share that her students are celebrating their classmates with praise badges; Patrick O’Callaghan from Ireland said his students really like when he recognizes their hard work with a badge; and students in Sacha van Straten’s class in England surprised him with a badge to thank him for a great lesson.
Donald Gillespie, a teacher in Scotland said, “The pupils really appreciate receiving them and we find they really motivate not just the recipient but others who see the praise being given out.”
Reflect Messaging in Teams
More than ever, it’s important for teachers to understand how students are feeling. It can be hard to gauge well-being during distance learning, but with tools like Reflect Messaging in Teams, educators can create a quick and engaging check-in to get insights on the well-being of their students and classes.
These tools can have a tangible impact on students’ social and emotional health. My eleven-year-old son Max’s school used Microsoft Forms to create a Mood Meter check-in that students use to identify their emotions, and he says it makes him feel better just to be asked how he’s feeling. He also thought it was helpful to take the time to reflect on and better understand his emotions, and that it helped him learn how to navigate them.
As a recent article about social-emotional learning in TechRepublic shared, “At any age, the key to dealing with complexity, ambiguity, and change is emotion. Checking in to ask what emotions someone is experiencing is one of the simplest and kindest things you can do.”
Kindness Cards are available in many different languages, and each card has ideas, reminders, or inspiration teachers can use to model kind behaviors. Teachers can keep them handy to share with students or a colleague!
As educators, teachers, and students continue to model empathy and spread kindness around their classrooms and around the world, we’re working to support their incredible work with easy-to-use and personalized resources that amplify their voices. For more information, as well as support and guidance on the best tools to use for social and emotional learning, take a look at the social and emotional learning resource page.
As Brian H. Smith, Ph.D, a member of the Born This Way Foundation’s Research Advisory Board says, “When kindness is a norm, a strong value we hold, it can help guide how we approach the rest of the world.”
I sincerely hope that every small and large act expands the reach of positivity, and brings people of all ages together.
Remember: one kind word (or Praise badge) can change someone’s entire day. Wishing everyone around the globe a Happy World Kindness Day!