I began this lesson by sharing the book Each Kindness by Jacqueline Woodson. This beautifully illustrated book highlights the ripple effect that can occur from one simple act of kindness. The main character, Chloe, learns that she must take advantage of opportunities to show kindness to others, even people that she doesn't know as well.
Prior to the lesson, I acquired enough paper plates for every student in the class, one for myself, and one for the classroom teacher. Next, I punched two small holes along the rim of each paper plate. I then attached a strand of yarn (probably 1.5 feet) from one hole to the other, so that it was a sort of paper plate necklace. If classroom time permits, you could allow students to do the aforementioned steps themselves. Different materials could also be used!
Students were then instructed to put the string around their necks so that the paper plate hung on their back, with the bottom of the plate facing outwards. We then spent approximately ten minutes roaming the classroom writing short compliments on each others' paper plates. I encouraged students to really think about the unique things each person brings to the classroom/school. They were also challenged to write something different on each of their peers' plates. You can see mine below:
The students were so excited to read their plates, and could hardly wait for me to give them the okay to take them off. The whole atmosphere of the classroom changed, and students wanted to wear their plates around school for the remainder of the day. I think classroom teachers enjoyed the little boost, too! Some students attempted to figure who wrote what on their plate, but I encouraged them to not be concerned with this aspect and embrace the kindness shown to them by ALL of their peers. :)
The idea for this came from something similar that I did as a high school student. I still have my paper plate hanging on my bedroom mirror!! Such a simple project that can have long-lasting effects!