Saturday, May 25, 2024
kindness for special ed
Character Activities

Kindness Activities for the Special Ed Classroom

There are so many fun ways to promote kindness in the classroom! I created this unit for my classroom so I could reach my students of all ability levels, and promote a positive classroom culture.

The lessons in this unit can be used in any sequence, individually, or as part of the whole unit. The lesson plan I followed is included in my Kindness BUNDLE and is listed out below in detail. Before you begin this unit, there are just a few things you need to do to prepare.


I taught one lesson each week for 1 month (total of 4 lessons). I also did several read alouds with picture books about kindness and art projects I found on Pinterest, including painting kindness rocks. Throughout the entire month my students earned “scoops and toppings” for small acts of kindness to build an ice cream cone on our bulletin board. At the end of the month, we celebrated our being kind with an ICE CREAM PARTY!

Books you need:

You can use a variety of books for this kindness unit and sprinkle in your favorites each week. There are 4 books I recommend and I was able to check out from my local library. The only book directly related to an activity in the unit is “Those Shoes” by Maribeth Boelts.

“What Does it Mean to be Kind?” By Rana DiOrio

“Those Shoes” by Maribeth Boelts

“Try a Little Kindness” by Henry Cole

“Be Kind” by author Pat Zietlow Miler

Build and Ice Cream Sundae Activity 

You will need bulletin board or wall space to complete this part of the unit. At the beginning of the month, I explained to students that we were going to work on being kind and building kindness sundaes. I had each student pick out a base for their ice cream sundae. I pre-printed several copies of ice cream scoops and toppings, and gave them to my students throughout the month as I saw them being kind to one another. My students got really excited to start building their ice cream sundaes and earning scoops! At the end of the month, we celebrated our kind acts with an Ice Cream Sundae Party. You can find all the ice cream scoops and toppings you need to complete this part of the unit in my Kindness BUNDLE as a bonus! CLICK HERE to check it out!

kindness bundle for special ed

Kindness Rocks

At the beginning of the month, I asked students to start collecting small, smooth rocks and bring them to school. By the time we were ready to make kindness rocks, we had collected a whole tub full of rocks that were ready to paint! You can paint rocks at any point throughout the unit. We chose to do them at the end of the unit in Week 4.

Week 1: Five Senses of Kindness

I introduced our Kindness Unit by reading the book “What Does it Mean to be Kind?” By Rana DiOrio. This book gives a simple, straightforward message about what it means to be kind. The examples of the small acts of kindness in the book were easily relatable to my students. 

After we read the book, we discussed how to be kind at home and school, and then related kind acts to our five senses. My students were able to brainstorm several acts of kindness using their five senses, then we completed this Five Senses of Kindness Flap Book.

five senses of kindness

This Five Senses of Kindness Flap Book activity allows students to identify one act of kindness for each of the five senses. Best of all, the activity is differentiated to include error-free picture-supported choices, and it’s interactive! CLICK HERE to check it out in my TPT Shop.

Week 2: Those Shoes

The book “Those Shoes” by Maribeth Boelts is a touching story of kindness and teaches the difference between wants and needs. After reading the book, we discussed the difference between wants and needs, and shared examples from our own lives. Then, we completed a writing activity about something we want and something we need. 

those shoes flap page

In this writing activity, students create an interactive flap page with a shoe. Students color and design the shoe, then respond to the writing prompt. The writing prompt comes with three versions of differentiation to reach all ability levels, ranging from writing a short paragraph to choosing error-free picture choices. CLICK HERE to check it out in my TPT Shop.

Week 3: I Can Use Kind Words

This week we focused on using kind words, how some words can hurt, and how small words can make a big difference. We read the book “Be Kind” by author Pat Zietlow Miler and watched the video Berenstain Bears “Say Please and Thank you” on YouTube. The book and video opened up discussions that allowed us to explore different social situations in which we can use kind words, be polite, and have good manners. 

Then we created a Kind Words Flap Book to respond to four different questions:

How do you ask for something in a nice way?

What do you say when someone gives you something?

Give an example of a compliment.

How do you politely get someone’s attention?

kind words

This activity includes 3 levels of writing differentiation. Version one requires students to cut and paste a kind phrase to match a picture. This version is great for students who need error-free picture choices or have limited fine motor skills. In version two, students fill in a speech bubble with kind words to match a picture. Version three requires students to draw a picture to answer the question and fill in the speech bubble with kind words. CLICK HERE to check it out in my TPT Shop!

Week 4: Acts of Kindness

The last week of our kindness unit we read a few more books about kindness, painted our kindness rocks, and created kindness posters. I paired this activity with the book “Try a Little Kindness” by Henry Cole. After reading the book, we brainstormed ideas for posters. My more independent learners created posters by writing and illustrating a simple act of kindness. For my students with limited fine motor skills, I created a Kindness Poster activity that allows them to choose an act of kindness and color a matching picture to glue on their poster. CLICK HERE to check it out in my TPT Shop!

kindness poster

We also painted our kindness rocks this week. Once our rocks were dry, we hid the rocks all over the school and playground for our school friends to find. 

Activity Links

CLICK the links below to find all my kindness activities in my TPT Shop!

Kindness Activity BUNDLE

Five Senses of Kindness

Those Shoes Flap Page Activity

I Can Use Kind Words Flap Book

Kindness Poster for Students with Limited Fine Motor Skills

Thanks for reading!

Ashlee Signature

If you liked these activities and are interested in more character activities for the special ed classroom, check out these blog posts:

Recess Queen

Spaghetti in a Hot Dog Bun

Potato Pants

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