Helpful Teaching Tips
(Find the Ten Acts of Kindness Storicolor Book and Activity Book at Via-E.com)
Welcome educators! I know first hand how challenging it can be to teach children, especially our own. Making learning fun and interactive builds fond memories between the mentor and student but also supports the building of a permanent knowledge base from which children will draw upon in their daily lives.
Learning is developed best by using all the senses: sight, sound, touch and smell. With each sense utilized the memory path is reinforced. Via E books are developed to encourage multi-sensory learning. We use high quality full color images to excite visual interest, coloring and other activities engaged the tactile (touch) senses, reading aloud, reading in groups or mentor reading such as mom to daughter engages the auditory senses while the smells of family and friends complete the positive learning experience.
Here are a few suggestions to create a full sensory learning experience:
- Read aloud and pause to discuss interesting parts of the story or lessons that could be learned. Make reading an exploration vs. a task.
- Read outdoors where smells of the outdoors create a soothing experience or burn a candle indoor of a favorite sent for a special treat.
- Be sure to color the illustrations, ask her to underline and circle important lessons. The most treasured books have evidence of many journeys through the pages.
- Enjoy the color illustrations, spend time encourage imagination by asking visual questions to help her draw pictures in her head. For example, “What do you think Ms. Rodriquez look like?” Help her bring the story to life!
- Use the Activity Book to test reading comprehension and memory.
- The “What do you think?” section in the activity book is designed to encourage discussion—there are no right or wrong answers, just wonderful time exploring important value-rich lessons.
- Journaling in the Activity Book pulls together application of real life to reinforce building positive behavior as well as practice writing skills. For mom and dad it creates a wonderful keepsake!
- Finally, the many crafts found in the Activity Book make learning fun while providing reinforcement of learning objectives.
- Remember to smile, use a pleasant voice and warm reinforcement. Keep the learning environment organized, well lit and fun. The environment, its sounds, visuals, smells and comfort are all part of the memory of learning.
Ten Acts of Kindness Activity Book Answer Key
The first step is to create awareness of others and their circumstances and/or needs. This first chapter starts with a challenge to look for ways to help others.
Learning lesson: Awareness
The first step is to create awareness of others and their circumstances and/or needs. This first chapter starts with a challenge to look for ways to help others.
- The little girl lost her dog.
- “Kindness is like a butterfly.”
- Alex’s mom challenges Alex to do ten acts of kindness.
Alex wanted to help because she wanted to make a difference in the little girl’s life. She was feeling the little girl’s sadness and wanted to help. When you are empathetic (feeling someone else’s pain) you take on the sadness too in a small way. So by helping other girls who may be sad or need help, Alex can make a difference and feel happy for helping others.
To honor someone by doing something in their name is to show respect or caring.
A Butterfly Visit
Learning lesson: Kindness
Kindness requires a kind heart. Here Alex experiences a kind moment when the butterfly visits her for a brief moment and becomes her inspiration to spread that feeling to others. Although this example is anchored in fiction, it teaches of small moments where we prepare our hearts to care about others.
1) Alex was on the way to meet her best friend Elena.
2) The butterfly landed gently on her hand.
3) Alex felt happy and excited that the butterfly visited her.
Standing still and watching the butterfly with a kind heart allowed the butterfly to feel safe enough to land on Alex. When you have kindness in your heart and hope for others to be happy, you will always have a lot of friends because kindness helps others feel good too.
Remember to color and tear out the butterfly on page 13. Hang it in a place where it will become a reminder to do acts of kindness every day.
The First Act of Kindness
Learning Lesson: Compassion
Developing compassion early in life is vital to develop the ability to understand others and have a heart of willingness to help others. It is no wonder the teaching of compassion is found in all the world’s major religions. Truly in order to develop leadership skills, one must first develop the skill of compassion.
- Elena was jabbering about her soccer game she played the day before. (Jabber means to talk fast with random facts.)
- Alex asked Ms. Mary to stop the car because she saw a little girl who had fallen and scraped her knees while on her way to school.
- The little girl was crying because she was sad that her sister and friends had ran ahead of her and left her alone. Alex helped the little girl feel better by showing compassion and caring by helping her pick up her books, care for her knee and get to school on time.
No one likes to be left out. Being left out because you can’t run as fast, or any other reason can create sad feelings that lead to a low sense of self value. Children who develop a low sense of self value can become depressed leading to reduced socialization, lower grades in school, anger and attitude at home along with other misbehaviors. Children become mean because they are angry about the world around them or are emulating the bad behavior to which they are exposed. Every child has the opportunity to help another by simply being nice and welcoming a child who is or has been left out. Being kind is a habit worth having and building.
Color the butterflies on the activity page and then flip the corners of the book to see the butterfly fly in the book the way animation was done many, many years ago!
The Second Act of Kindness
Learning lesson: Leadership
Leadership implies being a good example, whereas the word leader often implies a self-serving position where one is served by many. Establishing what a good leader is early in life will help children to be able to identify what leaders they will become and what leaders they are willing to follow.
- Miss Vega asked her students to get into groups of three.
- It was a problem because groups of three meant that one person would not be included in a group since the class had nineteen children. (19/3 = 6 groups of 3 and one person left out)
- Alex’s solution was to leaver her group of three to make a group of two with Melissa so she would not be left out and alone. Alex’s friends, Elena and Jenna, followed Alex’s leadership and joined to create a group of four. This made Melissa very happy.
As in the First Act of Kindness discussion we learned that kids who are left out feel sad and alone. Our lesson in this second example is awareness and leadership. When asked to get into groups, people migrate to their established friendships without regard to what else is going on around them. Children migrate to those who are most like themselves, often feeling uncomfortable befriending someone who is perceived as different. We can help break down these fears by creating awareness in our children though discussions of compassion and courage. Under each of our differences we are all the same—humans in need of encouragement and acceptance. By teaching leadership—the willingness to do the right thing when others do not, we help build our child’s confidence, independence and self concept while also building up other children in need of social acceptance. Confidence is contagious when it is shared.
The Third Act of Kindness
Learning lesson: Bully Prevention
What is a bully anyway? How can children tell the difference between fun teasing and harmful behavior? How does a child stand up for themselves or step in to protect others in situations that are harmful? These are simple questions with complicated answers. Use the resources below to help guide your children through this very important topic.
- The event took place on the play ground at school.
- Sue’s friends were making fun of her because she cut her hair in a short style.
- “Thank you for defending me during recess! It really meant a lot to me; you’re great friends.”
This discussion is designed to help girls understand that teasing can be harmful—especially when it is a group of kids teasing one child. Teasing become bullying when emotional stress is evident. The problem is that many children are unaware of the damage they are inflicting on another, and again, group dynamics mask the harm being done as each is encourage by the other to continue the misbehavior. Discussing the difference between teasing for fun and when teasing becomes hurtful is very important. In our story Alex sees that Sue’s feeling are being hurt by her friends and she takes action to lead the group into a supportive more positive conversation. This technique avoids conflict while supporting and building up Sue’s confidence. This is a win-win for Alex and Sue as well as a good example for the friends who were teasing Sue.
Give Alex a new hair style! Draw hair on the Alex picture found on page 25. This would also be a good opportunity to point out the beauty of girls who might have lost their hair due to illness. Remind your girls that hair is only an accessory, not the girl herself. Beauty if found from within.
The Fourth Act of Kindness
Learning Lesson: Empathy
What is the difference between Empathy and Compassion? Compassion is centered on caring whereas Empathy is the ability to feel what others feel. Being able to put oneself into the shoes of others is the foundation on which compassion is built. The development of a child’s brain starts with a me-centric focus. This biological fact is likely built in for survival purposes. As a child grows the brain has the ability to consider the wellbeing of others. It is during these early stages we can build the foundations of Empathy such that it becomes a solid character trait our children will call upon when situations call for compassion.
- Melissa was standing alone at the back of the line.
- Alex thought she seemed almost invisible. Alex meant that Melissa was not included or involved in what was going on around her. Alex felt sad for her and wanted to help her feel important.
- Alex simply smiled and waved a warm hello to Melissa to share friendship.
A simple act such as a smile and a wave hello is a wonderful way of sharing kindness and acceptance. This simple act acknowledges the recipient and tells them they are important—significant. This is especially important in the lives of children as they look for social acceptance. Helping shy children take small steps to build social skills will help develop confidence. The positive reinforcement of a return smile and wave is a reward that will pay dividends for years to come.
The Fifth Act of Kindness
Learning Lesson: Selflessness
The act of putting other’s interests before oneself sounds like a road of sacrifice but in this act lives the seed of true joy. It is found in the fulfilling feeling of knowing you made a difference in someone’s life by having the discipline to put your own needs aside temporarily. To develop this character trait children need a strong sense of self confidence, and exhibit leadership of compassion and empathy. Developing a balance of tending to one’s own needs and those of another is a worthy task for both teacher and student.
- Cassy had lost her new eye glasses that her mom had saved for two months to buy. Cassy did not want to disappoint her mom by not taking care of the expensive eye glasses.
- Alex had to give up her afternoon recess play time. Instead of recess Alex had to catch up on the math lesson she missed while out helping Cassy find her glasses
- Nicholas had found a pair of glasses while he was playing during lunch recess. He brought the glasses to Principal Young so he could help find the person who lost their glasses. By caring enough to take the glasses to Mr. Young instead of playing, Nicholas helped make sure they did not get broken.
There were four people who helped Cassy find her glasses: Nicholas found the glasses and gave them to Principal Young, Ms. Vega allowed Cassy to miss the math lesson and go look for her glasses, Alex helped Cassy so she would not have to look for the glasses alone, and finally Principal Young kept the glasses safe until he found their owner.
If Nicholas did not bring the glasses to Principal Young, they could have been taken or broken by someone on the playground.
If Ms. Vega did not allow Cassy to miss the math lesson, she may not have found out that Principal Young had them in his coat pocket.
If Alex did not help Cassy, Cassy may have given up looking for the glasses.
And if Principal Young did not keep them safely in his pocket and ask how he could help Cassy, she would have to go home that day without her glasses.
The act of doing for others and sacrificing your own wants or needs is called being “selfless.” Think of it as a “less of you and more of others” way of thinking. We are programmed at birth to think of ourselves as a survival instinct and it is necessary to care for ourselves. But as we grow up, we also learn that it is important to be helpful and care for others as much as we care for ourselves. Sometimes it is necessary to put the needs of others first because their need is greater than our own. When we learn to do this, we find out that we get back more than we give out. Meaning that when we help others, or allow them to be first, we make a difference in their lives and that feels good! You have the power to help people feel good about themselves, fix problems, and help them learn to be better people by your example. That makes you a leader and people will want to be your friend because they know you care.
The Sixth Act of Kindness
Learning Lesson: Leadership
Leadership is the product of several character traits acting in concert to facilitate the greatest result. The pillars of leadership can be found in the character traits taught in most school curriculums: Trustworthiness, Respect, Responsibility, Fairness, Caring, and Citizenship. Leadership sprouts out of these traits when we add the desire to act; the boldness to be a good example; the willingness to help others do the same.
- Ms. Vega had a date for dinner after school.
- Alex had some extra Math to do so it took her longer than normal to get all her books together to take home.
- Ms. Mary was proud of Alex because Alex helped Ms. Vega with her work instead of playing so Ms. Vega had time to go to the beauty parlor and relax before her dinner date.
Alex was acting like a leader because her acts of selflessness encourage others to join in and help Ms. Vega. Ms. Mary, Elena and Manny joined Alex to help Ms. Vega finish her work so she could go home early. Leaders become great leaders by helping things get done, taking initiative or the first step down the right path. A true leader is someone people follow willingly because they respect and want to be part of what the leader is doing. Leaders are helpers. You do not have to be the one in charge to be a leader. Leadership is an attitude, a willingness to do a little more than what is asked of you in order to make things better for all.
Leadership Training Activities:
Here are a few leadership training activities we found or create your own for more fun!
Get four different lengths of rope: 20 feet, 15 feet, 10 feet and 5 feet. Tie each into a circle, put them on the ground and have all the players get inside the big rope. No body part may be outside the rope. Once the group successfully completes one rope, have them move to the next smaller rope. With each decrease in size, the group will have to be more creative to fit. The players will have to work together and leaders will emerge to help organize the group to successfully complete the task.
Have four to six players hold onto a single, 18-inch-long rope with one hand. Then tell them they have to tie the rope into a knot without releasing it from their hands. This activity is more challenging than it sounds and can take more than an hour to complete.
Teams of Two
Divide the kids into two groups with the same number of players. Have one group leave the room, blindfold them, then set out two objects in the first room. Have each player in the first room go out and pick a blindfolded player to lead. Their goal is to bring their blindfolded partner into the room to each object and help them figure out what they are. The non-blindfolded player can’t speak. When the groups are done, you can have them switch places and use two new objects. This gives everyone a chance to test out his leadership skills.
Make a human knot to build leadership skills. Get everyone in the group together and have them put one hand out and grab someone else’s hand. Then have everyone put their other hand out and grab someone else’s hand. Their goal is to figure out how to untangle themselves so that they end up in a big circle, without releasing their grips. Leaders will arise when people take charge to help get everyone untangled.
Craft Instructions: (Suggest working this one once before teaching it to your student(s.))
Make the origami flower found on page 37 of the activity book. Use different color sticky notes to make a bouquet. Bring them to your teacher as an act of kindness.
Three More To Go
Learning Lesson: Friendship
Friendship is a gift, one to be given and received. It is in the reciprocity where friendships grow or fade away. Teaching this basic truth of friendship to children will help them build long lasting relationship that will act as a support base from which they can battle life’s challenges.
- São Paulo is located in Brazil.
- Sophia forgot to take the ball down the right side of the soccer field because the left side was muddy from the rains of the last week.
- It was not Sophia’s fault the team lost because it is a team sport so one person cannot win or lose a game. Everyone is needed to win or lose.
Understanding the elements of good friendship can help a child to better understand how to become a good friend. Here is a list to help start your discussion on friendship:
- Does not brag or act unbecomingly
A good guideline is to treat others as you would like them to treat you. You should never have to change who you are nor should you try to change your friend. If you feel uncomfortable or pressured to change, then it may be best to find a new friend. Pick your friends carefully and then be the best friend you can be. Your reward will be friends that last a lifetime.
Make the friendship bracelets on page 41 of the activity book. Keep one and give one to a friend!
Alex’s Big Sacrifice
Learning Lesson: Being a good global citizen
What is a global citizen? Is it possible for children to make a difference in lands they may never experience? I tell my children even in our worst day there are those who would consider the same set of circumstances as their best day. Our poor in the United States would be considered wealthy by people of nations where water, food, access to medical care are extremely limited or nonexistent. We who have been blessed to have been born into a country of safety have the greatest opportunity to reach those born into extreme and life-threatening circumstances. It is said, “With power comes great responsibility.” We have the power to give, thus we have the responsibility to give. We have the power to care, thus we have the responsibility to care. We, even our children, have the power to act, thus we all have the responsibility to act. Let us teach global citizenship, acting even in small ways to make a difference in the lives of those in need.
- There was a large earthquake in Chile. It destroyed many homes and people were without food and water—it was a very large natural disaster. Alex was thinking about the families and girls like herself who needed help.
- Alex wrote a letter with a poem and packaged up her favorite dollfriend, Alexia, and sent Alexia to a girl in Chile who lost all of her things. She hoped Alexia would help comfort the girl during her hard times.
- Alex saw two butterflies on the way home from the Red Cross center—one for Alex’s act of kindness and one for the joy Alexia would bring a little girl in Chile.
We can help people in need all around the world. You can write a letter, draw a picture, make a craft and send it to a child who is sad or a soldier who is away from his family. Earn money doing chores around the house, collecting cans and bottles, washing cars, mowing lawn…etc. and then send it to your favorite charity to help children in need. Listed below are a few international charities but there are many, many, more. Children can help children and spread small acts of kindness around the world.
Learning Lesson: Conflict resolution
Conflict is not always bad. It affords an opportunity for greater understanding, building of trust and fortifying bonds between people. Conflicts typically start out mild and with proper skills each party can walk away from the conflict feeling whole. However when conflicts are fanned into personal battle grounds, they become more difficult to resolve without someone walking away with emotional battle wounds that may prove hard to heal. Resolving conflicts at all stages builds increases bonds between the parties involved because trust is increased by knowing the other understands, compromises and values the relationship. Conflict resolution is an advanced skill that requires constant mentoring through both modeling and teaching of techniques.
- The two sisters were fighting over a new skateboard.
- Alex let the sisters borrow her best skateboard so they would each have a skateboard to play with. This was a good solution because now the sisters could have fun playing together instead of fighting.
- She made the sisters promise to wear a helmet while skating and not to skate after dark. Alex wanted to make sure the sisters would not get hurt, and was acting like a leader by reminding them of safety rules.
Alex pretended not to know the girls were fighting so she did not have to take sides between them. Instead she just offered a solution to the problem. We do have to be clever about helping people sometimes because when our friends are angry and fighting they are not thinking about others—they are hurt inside. When we look for ways to help instead of getting involved in the conflict, we can help both sides of the argument find an acceptable solution or compromise. This way everyone feels like a winner.
Color the puzzle on page 49 of the activity book. Before you cut it out, glue it to a small piece of poster board. Then cut it out following the lines to make your own puzzle!
Learning Lesson: Family relationship development
The wonderful thing about family is that they will always be family. The difficulty is also found in this fact because it tends to lead to under valuing or taking each other for granted in that we will always have time for family…later. Just as we adults become distracted with life’s demands, so do our children become distracted with their life events. School, friends, and activities in their lives are just as important to them as the adult duties and activities are to us. Thus if we don’t make time for family, our children learn to fill their time with external forces. Nothing marks the swift passage of time like a child’s life. Before you know it, they are adults and your time to tell them all you wanted them to know has passed. Make time, everyday to build family ties.
- Alex and her mom were singing at the top of their voices while they were getting dinner ready for Alex dad’s return from his trip to Chile.
- Alex’s dad whispered, “You will always be my butterfly, Alex, and your joy never leaves my heart.”
- Alex was happy that her dad was finally home but also because he brought her a Dollfriend® that looked like the Alexia doll that she sent to a girl in Chile. It was a big sacrifice to send Alexia to Chile and she was already missing her, so when her dad gave her a Dollfriend® to replace Alexia it made Alex very happy.
Spending time helping your mom and dad can be fun! Simple things like preparing dinner or folding laundry give you time to talk and spend “friend-like” time together. You have a lot in common with your parents since they have know you your entire life! Think of ways to make chores fun like:
- Play music and sing together
- Make a game out of the chores that need to be done
- Build a creative story together—each one takes turns adding to the story.
- Find normal objects around the house and see how many different things you could do with it. Example, how many different uses could there be for a paper clip?
- Plant spring flowers together
- Act out a silly song or poem
- Give each other hugs
- Plan a vacation together—even if it is just a day trip!
- Ask your parents what they wanted to be when they were young, or what was their best, funniest day, find out about their school friends—you will see they were a lot like you are today!
It is all about making the best of the time you have together.
Cut out the Via E box, found on page 53 of the activity book, following the heavy black lines. Make sure you cut the box flaps. Tape or glue flaps A to B and shape to form a square. Then fold the bottom flaps fallowing the number sequence. Now cut out the Alexia doll and put her inside. Fold the top flaps to close the box.
Next cut out the Alex paper doll found on the back cover of your activity book. Be sure to follow the dashed line at the bottom to make her stand. Fold on the lines and tape the ends together. If your Alex doll is too heavy then cut away more of the yellow and white background.
Now you can tape the box to Alex’s hand or just set it next to her. Now you have your own Alex and Alexia doll!
I am a Butterfly
Learning Lesson: Building good habits
Think about building habits like building your muscles or endurance–the key is repetition. It takes approximately eight weeks of a minimum of three times a week to build a habit (good or bad.) Like exercising, it is difficult during the training period but after the hard work is done, the rest is easy as your brain is now programmed to perform without having to much think about it. So the key is to make the initial learning period fun and easy. Make kindness a habit by building on the lessons presented in Ten Acts of Kindness at least three times a week.
- Alex stopped counting her acts of kindness because it was no longer something she had to remind herself to do—she had created a habit of kindness.
- Alex’s heart was full of happiness.
- Yes, each person Alex helped that day had thought about how kind Alex was and how it made them happy.
Spend time reviewing the acts of kindness your student/child did and wrote about in their Kindness Journal found in the back of the book, starting on page 57. Which ones are your favorites? How do you think each person feels about your kind act? How did you feel helping people?
Review the journal entries made in the My Kindness Journal found in the back of the activity book. Discuss how to continue doing acts of kindness every day. Congratulations for a job well done!
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