Learning to give and to share is an important part of any child’s upbringing. It can be easy for children to get caught up in their own lives, dreams, and goals and forget that their happiness can be shared! Here are a few heartwarming stories about giving that you can use to teach your students the value of being generous toward others.
1. The Safe
This story by Pedro Pablo Sacristán is about a rich man learning that the best way to get the most out of his wealth is to share it and invest it in the people around him. Why not incorporate this into a lesson where students write a list of ways they can make each other’s days better? This could include paying each other compliments, holding open doors, or helping each other to tidy up.
2. The Giving Tree
The Giving Tree, by Shel Silverstein, is a popular children’s book about a young boy who grows up around a tree that gradually sacrifices every part of itself to keep him happy. It’s a wonderful story for teaching your class not only about giving, but also gratitude.
Ask your students to think about someone who has given them something and whom they want to thank. Using construction paper and felt markers, your students can design thank you cards with a message inside explaining how much the gift meant to them.
3. The Coat
This is a true story about Heber J. Grant. After receiving a new coat from his mother one winter, he gives it to a child who is less fortunate than himself. Why not incorporate this into a lesson about appreciating what you have and showing kindness to others? Start a coat drive with your class, encouraging them to collect coats to give to those in the community who need them. They could even decorate flyers about the coat drive to distribute around town!
4. The Gift of the Magi
This story by William Sydney Porter, under the pen name O. Henry, tells the tale of a poor couple at Christmas who sell their most prized possessions to buy gifts for each other. It’s a great illustration of the value of giving and that the act of giving is often more important than the gift itself.
Arrange a project where your students make gifts, such as decorated mugs, that they give to each other. They can tailor their designs to their intended recipients. Each student will come away with a deeper appreciation of their peers and a treasured keepsake to remind them of their friendship.
Just as a problem shared is a problem halved, happiness shared is happiness doubled. There are many tales that illustrate the ways in which kindness pays off, but these should get you started. Encourage your students to share their own stories of kindness, or create a classroom kindness board where you write the good deeds that class members do for one another throughout the school year.
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