Lesson Eleven - Random Act of Kindness

Don’t you know yet? It is your light that lights the world.

– Rumi

CREATIVE ACTIVITY - Letter Writing

Lesson Intention:

In previous lessons we explored how easy it is to jump to conclusions about people and rush to judgments that are possibly not true. If we knew other people’s stories, or at least became more skilled at putting ourselves in other people’s shoes, then it would be easier for us to come from a place of compassion. Today’s lesson is an extension of this idea and is about putting this newfound compassion into action. As students practice a random act of kindness, they discover that kindness actually has a dual purpose: extensive research has illustrated that when we are giving and generous with our time and resources, we feel an increased sense of well-being in ourselves. In this way, kindness doesn’t just benefit others, but also improves our own levels of happiness and satisfaction.

Social Emotional Learning Goals:

· Recognize that kindness and generosity are linked to increased happiness and well-being

Materials for Lesson:

In Preparation for Lesson:

Prior to teaching the lesson, watch the guest artist video and perform your own random act of kindness to share with your students. 

Lesson Plan:

Display the ‘welcome slide’ from the Lesson 11 PowerPoint as you begin.

*Slide 1

As discussed in the teacher training, remember to make the suggested language below authentic to yourself and meaningful for your students.

 

Launching the Lesson:

* Slide 2

  • Explain that previous lessons emphasized feeling more compassion for ourselves as well as empathy for others, and today’s lesson is focused on channeling those caring thoughts into action. Introduce the video clip of Kevin Love describing the way he extended kindness and generosity during the Covid-19 pandemic.

    Example of What You Could Say:

    “In the previous lessons, we practiced feeling greater compassion for ourselves and others. Today’s lesson is an extension of this idea. In addition to being more compassionate in the way we think about ourselves and others, we can also put these kind thoughts into action by helping other people. In his research, Harvard professor Michael Norton found that spending money on others made people happier than spending money on themselves. Does this surprise you to know?

    Kevin Love has also talked a lot about the way generosity has brought happiness into his life. Let’s watch a clip of him sharing a little bit about what he has learned about the link between kindness and happiness.”

Play Guest Artist Video:

*Slide 3

In this video, Kevin describes his donation to the people who work at the arena where the Cleveland Cavaliers play. Kevin explains that one way he was able to endure the challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic was by focusing on how he could be helpful to others.

  • Introduce the next video of a few additional examples of random acts of kindness. You may use the video clips below or choose video clips from your own local context that you feel will better resonate with the students in your classroom or school community.

    Example of What You Could Say:

    “Kevin’s video showed us a big act of generosity, but even smaller acts of kindness can feel really good. Here are a few more examples of young people performing random acts of kindness which subsequently brought them joy.”

Random Acts of Kindness Video Options (or choose your own):

*Slide 4

  1. A clip from The Ellen Show shares a story of one woman’s generosity toward a person experiencing homelessness which inspired Ellen to continue to pay it forward.

  2. A video clip from CBS News shares the story of a waitress’ simple act of kindness and the surprising event that resulted.

Introduction the Creative Activity:

*Slide 5

  • Reflect on the way the video clips illustrate how uplifting it feels to be kind and generous and explain that students will now plan and complete a random act of kindness themselves. Students can do this in a small group and record themselves, and then share it with the class. Or they could do this on their own and simply write about their experience. These random acts of kindness can be done during the class time or as a ‘take home’ project.

    Example of What You Could Say:

    “We just watched a few clips of people performing random acts of kindness. We also watched Kevin describe the way being generous in his life has had the benefit of helping him feel good too. This is something really wonderful about generosity and kindness; aside from improving the lives of others, it lifts your own spirits as well.

    I did not want to ask you all to put yourselves out there without also trying this out myself, so I thought of a random act of kindness that would feel sincere to me.  (Share your example). 

    As a class, let’s make a list of random acts of kindness together.”

 

Creative Activity:

  • Encourage students to break into small groups to choose a random act of kindness. Explain that students can work together or individually to complete this random act of kindness and that they are encouraged to record themselves, but they should brainstorm in groups. 

    Example of What You Could Say:

    “Now, let’s break into small groups of three or four to decide on the random act of kindness that we want to accomplish. One of the group members should record this act of kindness in hopes that when we come back together as a class, you can share it with us visually. If this is not possible, you can write down how the experience went, and how it felt to you, and share with us verbally. If you would prefer to work individually, that is okay as well – but still plan out your random act of kindness with your classmates.”

    *If time and circumstance permits, students can leave the classroom and perform their random act of kindness at this time. Or, they can have a deadline set in which they have to complete their act of kindness by a certain time. This lesson will be completed at the start of the next lesson when students share their random act of kindness.

Lesson Closure (to be completed at the start of the next lesson).
Lesson 12:

*see Lesson 12 for this section

Supplemental Information:

If you or your students would like to learn more about the ideas in this lesson, additional resources and third party links are included below.

  1. In his guest artist video, Kevin Love described donating to the Cavaliers arena workers during the Coronavirus. Students can read more about his motivation for making this donation in this article: “Kevin Love, Cavaliers Unite To Bring Relief To Arena Workers During Coronavirus Crisis.”
  2. If students want to read more about the research on generosity and happiness, the article Money Spent on Others Can Buy Happiness describes Professor Micheal Norton’s research on this topic. 
  3. Danny Wallace’s Karma Army is a website students can turn to for ideas as their group decides on their random act of kindness.

The website Random Acts of Kindness.org describes additional ideas to support students in being kind to others.