Our school has accepted "Rachel's Challenge," which is a program used to inspire kids to "start a chain reaction" of kindness and compassion. It is named after Rachel Scott, who cared about everyone and made it her lifes misson to touch the lives of everyone she came into contact with. Sadly, she was killed in the shooting of Columbine. However, after her death, her father found her hand traced on the back of her dresser---inside the hand she wrote "These hands belong to Rachel Scott and will someday touch millions of people's hearts." Her father wanted to see his daughters' mission continue, so he started Rachel's Challenge. It really motivates our kids to do kind acts for others in hopes that that person will be inspired to pay it forward, which will start a chain reaction that could change the World. It's amazing.
In our classroom we also read "How Full is Your Bucket?" and "Have You Filled a Bucket Today?" These books go great with Rachel's Challenge because it teaches the kids that everyone has an invisable bucket over their heads (or in their hearts) and when you do kind things it fills their bucket. Likewise, unkind acts "dip" from their bucket and leave the person feeling empry. The kids love this visual and are really motivated to fill eachothers buckets. To keep the message alive in our classroom, each child has a little metal bucket of their own. Anytime they are caught filling someone elses bucket (doing kind and compassionate acts), I fill their bucket with little jewels as well!
Getting to know eachother and all of our fun, first week activities, was a real blast. To celebrate this blast, the kids and I read the book "Hedgie Blasts Off!" The kids then wrote using the prompt "First grade is a real blast!" Once they finished their writing we went outside and had a REAL blast!! What fun!