Generosity is giving one’s resources without expecting praise or something in return. Teaching generosity in your classroom is worth your time!
Having a generous heart may not be first nature for most students (or adults!), but it can be taught. Teaching this character trait will create a ripple effect of giving and happiness in students that flows from the classroom into the community.
3 Ways to Teach Generosity in the Classroom
- Lead by example
- Use resources
- Incorporate books & videos
Lead by Example
Encourage a kind and unselfish culture as you lead by example in your classroom.
Let students see generosity in you. Intentionally give to others, especially them!
Choose to be joyful when you have opportunities to give of your time to help other teachers or invest in your students.
Offer extra support for a struggling student for a few minutes after school or assist a fellow teacher by walking her students back to class for her. Small actions of generosity make a big difference!
Give Physical Resources
Be generous as you give physical resources like extra paper, glue, or pencils to students when they’ve forgotten them or run out.
You can usually tell when it’s time to take a moment to address being responsible vs demonstrating a spirit of generosity.
Be generous with positive words. Model encouraging words often throughout the day. Highlight the good in situations out loud for your students to hear.
Your words have power! As their teacher, you are teaching students what to believe about themselves. Make it a goal to generously speak praise into each student, even if it’s a quick note or comment. What you say will create a lasting impression, so make it a positive one!
Premade resources are a great option for busy teachers. Why recreate the wheel, right?!
Character Education: Generosity
Teach students what it means to be generous and giving with this character education activity set about generosity.
This set includes 9 different activities, bulletin board decor, writing prompts, and so much more! You can use it as a quick print option or for digital learning with Google Slides or Powerpoint.
This FREEBIE is also a great option! Students practice being grateful by writing what they are thankful for on each leaf and adding it to their tree to create a Gratitude Tree. This is the perfect hands-on activity for fall centers or as a Thanksgiving activity.
Display the finished products in your classroom or on a hallway bulletin board to encourage an attitude of gratitude among your students and others in the school.
Incorporate Books & Videos
Pair these resources with a few books and videos that highlight generosity to create a cohesive learning experience.
Here are a few of my favorites:
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Extra Yarn by Mac Barnett
Annabelle is the main character in Extra Yarn. She finds a box filled with yarn of all colors and decides to knit sweaters for everyone in her town. She has leftover yarn and keeps knitting; she knits sweaters for cars and trees and buildings. Annabelle never runs out of yarn. An archduke hears about Annabelle’s box of endless yarn and offers to buy it from her for ten million dollars. She does not want to sell it to him, but in the night, the greedy archduke steals the box. When he opens the box, he finds no yarn. Eventually, the box finds its way back to Annabelle, where it is full of yarn once again!
Thank You, Omu! by Oge Mora
A short summary of the book: A woman named Omu makes scrumptious stew in her home. The smell wafts out the window and down the streets of her neighborhood. One by one, neighbors begin to come asking for some of her stew. Soon, all of Omu’s stew is gone, and she has not even eaten any yet! Omu hears a knock on her door and is surprised to see that her neighbors have returned with a potluck meal to share with her.
This short video by Little Arrow is about a little fox named Clarence who is trying to find happiness. Along the way, he learns that much joy can come from being generous.
Kid President shares that everyone can spread good and encourages kids to consider what they can give to others. He teaches that big and small acts can make HUGE differences in the world.
Generosity is inspiring and so worth teaching in your classroom!
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