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3-5 minutes




Paper and/or thank you notes, writing tools


To encourage the importance of expressing thanks and benefit from helping another

Provide context for the practice (see “Evidence” section).

  • Ask students to recall/remember recent acts of kindness they have noticed, such as a smile.
  • Ask students to reflect on how that made them feel.
  • As a group, brainstorm examples of thank you statements.
  • Students will be invited to share a note of thanks.
  • Distribute paper/thank you notes to the students and request that they write a grateful thank you note.
  • Students may choose to keep or deliver the note afterwards.

This practice can be done as a whole school approach, where caring adults are also sharing “thank yous”. Positive comments go a long way to enhance a sense of belonging and of being valued for all.

Ask students to think of one specific thing each of the following people has done for them and say/write thank yous:

  • someone in their family
  • someone with whom they are a close friend
  • someone in their school community
  • someone they don’t know in their community (server at a coffee shop)

Student perceptions of kindness at school are instrumental in shaping their opinions about their school’s climate (Binfet et al., 2016; Embry & Biglan, 2008). Activities that support the development of kind interactions for staff and students can support the goals of a safe and positive school climate to foster learning and prosocial behaviours (Binfet et al., 2016). Embry & Biglan (2008) explain that verbal or written praise shared publicly or privately from either a caring adult or via peer-to-peer interactions, increases cooperation, social competence, positive interactions or relations, academic engagement/ achievement, work performance, and physical health, while reducing disruptive, aggressive or violent behaviours and vandalism.

Binfet, J. T., Gadermann, A. M., & Schonert-Reichl, K. A. (2016). Measuring kindness at school: Psychometric properties of a School Kindness Scale for children and adolescents. Psychology in the Schools, 53(2), 111-126.

Embry, D. D., & Biglan, A. (2008). Evidence-based kernels: fundamental units of behavioral influence. Clinical child and family psychology review, 11(3), 75–113. doi:10.1007/s10567-008-0036-x