Whether a student is coming to your school for the first time or they are advancing to a new grade, it is important to help everyone start off on the right foot. The beginning of a new school year is a great time to start something new by encouraging community and create a culture of kindness by getting everyone involved.
Two fun DIY kindness projects that will surely engage your students, teachers and staff in creating a culture of friendship, kindness, and excitement.
The Buddy Bench
You may have heard about the buddy bench movement; Christian Buck is one of the pioneers for the buddy bench moment in the U.S. Bucks presented a TedTalk back in 2014 about being a new student and how it was hard for him to make friends. He was feeling lonely, and so Bucks found a solution. Thus, the Buddy Bench was created. You can read more about Bucks in this Washington Post article: Kids don’t have to be lonely at recess anymore thanks to this little boy and his ‘buddy bench’
Build it, Buy it or Deem it.
There are several ways to create a buddy bench on your campus. You can build one from the ground up, buy one or deem a current bench a buddy bench. Get creative and make it inviting for all!
Create a list of questions.
Wherever you decide to put your buddy bench, we suggest you offer tools to help students engage in conversation by creating a list of questions they can ask one another. You can laminate the questions and attach them to the buddy bench.
Here is a list of questions you can use:
- Who is your teacher?
- What are some of your favorite foods?
- What kinds of games or sports do you like to play?
- What is your favorite book?
- What book would you like to read?
- What is your favorite movie?
- Do you have a brother or sister?
- How many people are in your family?
- Do you have any animals at home?
- If you could go anywhere in the world where would you go and why?
- What do you like doing when you are not at school?
- If you are new our school, tell me about your other school.
- What is your favorite TV shows?
- What is your favorite video game or App?
Take a Seat & Make a Friend Ball Pit.
This kindness project would be perfect for middle school and high school campus’. Take a seat & make a friend ball pit is a fun way to get students talking to one another. SoulPancake Street Team mission was to encourage people of New York to make friends with a total stranger. Check out their YouTube video: Take a Seat, Make a Friend.
Build it, Buy it & Place it.
If you are (or know) a carpenter then you can build your Make a Friend ball pit. Otherwise, you can simply create the same effect by using a kiddie pool. We suggest you place your ‘make a friend ball pit’ in the quad or other prominent location that students, teachers, and staff walk through.
Create a few questions.
Write a few conversation starter questions on balloons or bigger bouncing balls to help break the ice. Encourage students, staff and teachers to join in the fun! Empower your student leadership group or student club members by asking them to be the first to start participating.
Here is a list of questions you can use:
- Find something you have in common.
- What teachers do you have this year?
- What freaks you out more heights or spiders?
- What are two things on your bucket list?
- If you could visit any country, which one would you visit?
- If you had a million dollars to give to any charity, which one would you give it to and why?
- What is your passion?
- Would you rather play a sport or create art?
- What is the best advice you’ve ever been given?
- Who do you get along with more… your mom or dad?
- What would you say your best quality is?
Lay the foundation.
Create an environment of togetherness from day one. Breakdown the social cliques and encourage students to get to know others on campus. The more experiences people can create with others the stronger the connection.
Let us know.
Share with us which project you are going to do on your campus by commenting on this blog post or by sharing on our social media channels Facebook and Twitter.
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Note From the Founder
Hello. I am the founder of the 21 Day Kindness Challenge Program.