Writing Sundays #12: Using Writing to Teach Kindness

Thank you for joining me for Writing Sundays #12.  We have given our Interactive Writer's Notebooks a little rest until January so that we can focus on Winter and Christmas writing and learning and writing about kindness.

In order to teach my students about kindness this season I started out by having them explore their own best memories.  I did not specify what they could write about but I did tell them that my best memories are when I was able to spend time having Christmas dinner with my cousins and yes, when I received my very favorite doll Drowsy.

We brainstormed some sentences of students' favorite memories.  My favorite Christmas memory  is...

I decided that we would *discuss* the whys instead of writing about them as often it is difficult to express WHY something was special in writing.  I wanted to make sure students understood that they have these special memories because someone else (Mom, Dad, Auntie, Grandparents, Santa) was kind and they did things to make them have a nice Christmas. (They cooked dinner, they decorated, etc..) If you would like to try some of this writing yourself, these printables are from my Thoughtful Christmas Writing Prompts for Caring Kids. Just click on the picture below.

I was fascinated by the pictures that some of the students drew.  This one started simple and I have enlarged the expression on the face of the people she drew (her family).  This little girl is truly fascinated by the FEELING she gets when she anticipates what Santa or her family will bring her.  When I asked what gifts were under the tree she explained that it wasn't the gifts, it was the "thrill" of seeing it.

When I came back a few moments later, her illustration was much more elaborate.

We then summarized the big ideas from this lesson.  Now that we have built a foundation for how good memories make us feel good and how other peoples' kindness helped us to develop those memories, we will now explore creating these memories for others by helping others.

In the meantime, we are also getting ready for our Christmas concert.  There's a whole lotta art going on...

As educators, we remember and honor our fallen colleagues and their students from Sandy Hook School.  We honor them each day in our classrooms in which we continue their dream of teaching our children.  We honor their memory with our service.  Join with teachers everywhere in committing random acts of kindness to show our love for Sandy Hook.


  1. Hi Shelley! That doll "Drowsy" is sooo cute! I remember having one that was similar, if not the same. She just always looked sleepy and I remember trying to open her eyes a bit more sometimes so she would pay attention. Little did I know I'd later be doing that for a living! haha!
    Love your writing and art!

    1. That's too funny Susanna! I loved my doll so much. Thanks for popping in!


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