Unit Openers:

Grade 2 - Unit 2 - Kindness

Great Books to use for Unit Openers:


General Unit Opener Information:

Unit Opener General Resources Page

Unit Opener Powerpoints:

What is Kindness? by Mrs. Aly

What is Kindness? by Harding Elementary

Story Previews & Background by Ceres Unified

Examples of Kindness by Greg Ward

Unit Opener Ideas:

Possible Guest Speakers/Field Trips:


Pen Pals:

Begin pen pal correspondence with a neighboring classroom or school. Resources:


Ryan's Well:

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Ryan's Well Foundation is an organization founded by a man named Ryan when he was just a kid and had a dream of bringing drinking water to schools in Africa where the nearest well was miles away.

We show a film about Ryan and his efforts to raise money to bring clean drinking water to African schools. Students take notes and record ideas related to kindness while watching the films and also record questions which become the basis for the Concept//Question Board.

We follow up this experience by having students brainstorm ways in which they might make a difference and we attempt to make that difference by raising funds, writing letters, talking to parents throughout the course of the unit.

You do not have to use Ryan's Well Foundation, you could use any organization which you care about and use that as a basis for teaching kindness and making sure that this unit is about something real and not just a collection of stories in the anthology.

See Blog Entry


Cause and Effect:
Submitted by:
Debbie Goodis
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A week before the unit, begin to keep track of the situations in class and on the playground where students were not kind to each other and when they WERE kind to each other. These will be used later. (Made up situations can also be used).
Do a Cause and Effect Thinking Map for each situation, telling them you are merely trying to help them all get along and how their actions effect others. Save the flow maps for after the unit is introduced. These conflicts can be discussed as you normally would, but one of the objectives is to really spell it out for them during the kindness unit.
Later, when you give the message regarding the unkind acts, you can then compare/contrast them (double-bubble map) with the kind acts. Lot's of chances to use Thinking Maps, Compare/Contrast, Cause/Effect and character education.

Thinking Map Site


Finding Nemo:
Submitted by:
Jill Kalbrosky
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To begin the unit and to give the students more concrete examples of Kindness, I showed the video Finding Nemo. I told the students to watch carefully and focus on the many different ways they see acts of kindness throughout the video. I gave them a worksheet to take notes throughout the video. They had to list three different examples of kindness and then state which character they thought was the most kind. I also asked them if they thought this character was expecting anything in return for their kindness. I made a generic note taking sheet so I can use it throughout the unit for other kindness videos we will watch. We will be watching Charlotte's Web later in the unit and I will have them take notes on that, as well. Since most students had already since this video, by having them focus and take notes while watching it in the classroom, they were much quieter while watching. Hopefully when we do our Concept/Question Board next week this will help get their thoughts flowing.


Cinderella Around the World:
Submitted by:
Catherine McDearmid
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I have a collection of Cinderella stories from around the world. I made a large pink Venn Diagram for this make-believe story of kindness. I made color copies of the main parts of each story, laminated the parts, and applied magnet to the back of each one. After reading a story from around the world, the students place the magnetic story parts to the pink Venn Diagram and we discuss the differences.

It is interesting to see the various "glass slippers" from each story - for example, a boot for The Irish Cinderlad; a sandal from the Chinese version, etc.. Also compare the genres that are humorous, such as, Cinderella Penguin and Cinderella's Rat. I purchased "glass slippers" from a craft store. These are clear plastic ones used for weddings.

Finally, we learn the Box Step for Ballroom Dancing and make an Invitation to the Ball(part of the writing for this story). We play Disney's Cinderella. and the Strauss Festival CD.


Be Kind to Whales
Submitted by:
Catherine McDearmid
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Second graders have the opportunity to make a contribution to nature and research with the Story of the Three Whales. My 2nd graders "Adopt-A-Whale" each year while reading this realistic fiction.

A letter goes home to mom and dad which asks for a $1.75 to Adopt-A-Whale. We use a business letter frame(part of the lesson in writing)and send our money($35.00 total) to the Pacific Whale Foundation in Hawaii!

The class sees the various whales online and we vote for our favorite. Since there are many to choose from, I have them select from only a few. Using a graph, we vote for our favorite whales.

The Pacific Whale Foundation sends the class a color photo of "their whale" with its history and a map of sightings. They are also generous with supplying pamphlets about the Humpback whale, a C.D. with whale sounds, and much more. I'll never forget when a little girl walked to my desk and asked me seriously, "Mrs. McDearmid, I don't think our whale will fit in our classroom(she looked from one wall to the other)!" The students will never forget this experience.


Cause and Effect:
Submitted by:
Isabel M. Lee
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I filmed the students using the Readers Theater Quicktime "Mushroom in the Rain". My ELL learners were so excited to be able to participate in role playing. We also presented it for our school assembly which was followed by a "Kindness at School" song. This was a great learning experience for the students in film making it took a while for it to get it completed but it was well worth it.

See Video in the Classroom.com for more information on using digital cameras in the classroom.


Other Ideas/Resources:


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