Inside: Use this Kindness Zoo Bundle with kindness emergent reader, and writing prompts to teach SEL Curriculum and connect to language arts skills at the same time.
What’s your favorite animal?
Chances are, it’s probably an animal you’ll find in a zoo.
When I was young, I wrote a whole persuasive essay on why I should have a polar bear as a pet. I was convinced polar bears would make a phenomenal pet.
And most kids are intrigued by zoo animals too. Why are koalas not bears even if they look like bears? Why do flamingos smell so bad? Are zebras black with white stripes or white with black stripes?
Because they’re so interested in all animals, animals are a great way to teach kids about other topics. Our Kindness Zoo uses 26 different animals to teach 26 different ways to be kind.
Why it’s Important to Teach Kindness
Some kids seem inherently kind. They pick up things that drop. They rush to comfort someone who falls. They smile at everyone and say “hi” to strangers. They thank adults for even the smallest of gestures.
But most kids, my kids included, need to be taught to be kind. Their me-centered little brains haven’t developed fully enough to think outside of themselves yet.
But to make kindness a knee-jerk habit, we can’t just cross our fingers and hope they turn out kind.
We have to intentionally teach them to be kind with sel curriculum, character education and consistent, constant messaging.
Related: 10 Easy Ways to Teach SEL Curriculum
We can teach them how to treat others like they want to be treated.
We can show them how to take turns and how to include other people to join in the game.
We can encourage them to cheer on others when they do hard things and share their toys.
To make that happen, we can talk to them about kindness and read books about kindness and praise kindness when we see it. We can turn kindness into a game and make kindness crafts like this, and we can hang up posters like these as reminders to be kind.
What’s Included in the Kindness Zoo Bundle
- 26 page Emergent Reader in color
- 26 page Emergent Reader in black and white (students can color it in)
- 5 Writing Prompts
- 9 Kindness Zoo Note Cards
- 26 page Kindness Zoo Coloring Pages
How to Use the Kindness Zoo to Teach SEL
Print out the emergent reader in color or black and white and then staple the pages into books. Or introduce a page at a time and staple into a book at the end.
If it’s in black and white, students can color the animals. Students can color/circle/highlight the letter of the page (both the animal name and the kindness action).
Read the book as a whole group, in small groups, or for independent reading time.
Place copies of the book in your classroom library or send home to read as a family.
Before you use the writing, go over the vocabulary concepts like include, and the Golden Rule, and standing up for others.
Brainstorm ways they can include others: Do you want to play? Do you want to sit here? Do you want a turn?
To use the writing, students can sound out their sentences, dictate their sentences, or copy ideas off the board/paper. Or if you’re in a class setting, you can do group writing as a class.
Print out the notecards, cut them, and encourage kids to give them out to friends or classmates or siblings. Just remind them to not leave anyone out. They can sign their names to the cards or give them out anonymously.
For the coloring pages, print out the book for each child. You can staple all the pages together in abc order. Or, you can introduce a page at a time and staple them into a book at the end.
Kids can color the letter of the page (both the animal name and the kindness action).
Show students pictures of the animal in color so they know what the animals look like for realistic coloring.
As an extension, you can learn about the animal and its habitat so students can draw a background for it. Does it live in the savannah? The ocean? The jungle?
Ready to use the Kindness Zoo SEL Curriculum to teach your kids all the different ways they can speak and act with kindness?