Every year Mr. Bender carefully selects a book for each month of the school year. These books are always connected by a particular theme which changes from year to year. This year’s is a really powerful theme, but we aren’t going to tell you what it is just yet.
At the end of each month, we will share the Book of the Month with you in the hopes you will discuss it further with your children. And while you’re at it, see if you can figure out Mr. Bender’s theme!
November’s book was, Each Kindness, by Jacqueline Woodson. In the story, “Chloe and her friends won’t play with the new girl, Maya. Every time Maya tries to join Chloe and her friends, they reject her. Eventually Maya stops coming to school. When Chloe’s teacher gives a lesson about how even small acts of kindness can change the world, Chloe is stung by the lost opportunity for friendship, and thinks about how much better it could have been if she’d shown a little kindness toward Maya.”
Here are some ways you could discuss this book at home:
- Send Kindness into the World this Holiday Season! Here are some ideas:
- Color a Smile: Children of any age can color a picture for a person and need and mail it off – it’s a fast and easy way to do some good!
- Operation Christmas Child: It isn’t too late! Fill a shoebox with a small gift and toiletries then send it off to a child in need!
- A Million Thanks: Send a thank you letter to a member of our military.
- 10 Kid Friendly Volunteer Service Projects
- Random Acts Brainstorm: Brainstorm some ways you can show kindness to others. Challenge your family to practice these acts of kindness during the month of December and share your experiences.
- Kindness Rock: Repeat the activity Chloe’s teacher did in the book. Fill a large bowl with water and show your child a stone/rock. Ask your child to think of something kind they have done and instruct them to then drop the stone into the water and watch their kindness form a ripple. Discuss what it means to have a ripple effect of kindness.
- Discuss the acronym T.H.I.N.K.: Discuss how your child can apply this acronym in day to day life to help them “think” before they speak and act.
- T = Is it True?
- H = Is it Helpful?
- I = Is it Inspiring?
- N = Is it Necessary?
- K = Is it Kind?
- Character Traits: This printable has you generate character traits for Maya and Chloe and support them with evidence
- Point of View: This is a Point of View activity where you can sort POV cards by character.
- Discussion Questions:
- Make a list all of the attempts that Maya makes to reach out to the other girls to be friends with them. How do Chloe and her friends respond to each attempt?
- When Andrew makes fun of Chloe after Maya whispers something to her, Chloe hastily tells Andrew, “She’s not my friend.” How do you think Maya felt when she heard Chloe say this? What could Chloe have said to Andrew instead?
- Kendra comes up with a hateful nickname for Maya—“Never New.” Is it Maya’s fault that she is not able to afford brand new clothes? Is that any reason for the girls not to befriend her?
- When Ms. Albert gives Chloe the rock to drop into the bowl, Chloe cannot think of one nice thing she has done. Make a mental list of the ways that you have showed kindness at school or at home this week. Share one or more of the ways you have shown kindness.
- What is something that you can do tomorrow to be kinder than you were today?
- Albert says that “each little thing that we do goes out, like a ripple, into the world.” Explain what she means. How can one kind act turn into a million kind acts?
- Chloe never got another chance to be kind to Maya. If Maya came back to school, what could Chloe do differently? What should she say to Maya?