The Domino Effect
With the warm days, classmates to meet, and a wonderful school year ahead, the kindergarten students were introduced to their first social justice BIG IDEA: Our words and actions have power!
We introduced ourselves to one another and played a few games that involved one person starting a movement and passing it on to the next person and the next person until that movement wound back to that person who started it.
Different students had the opportunity to start the “chain reaction” and watch it move through the class. We then said:
Our words have a lot of power when we say them to others. They can make us feel happy, proud, excited, included, special. And our words can also make others feel sad, angry, hurt, lonely.
We introduced the concept of The Domino Effect or the Ripple Effect. We played another simple game where one student began and shared positive words with their neighbor and then that person shared positive words with their neighbor until everyone had been the giver and recipient of positive words.
We asked students to imagine the power of choosing positive words to say to someone else and how that person’s good feelings could very well inspire them to use positive words when they were speaking to another person…that is the Domino Effect!
We demonstrated with a set of dominoes how it works. We lined up 10 dominoes. We pointed to the first domino at the front of the line and said, “Imagine this is you saying something to a friend that really made them feel special. The friend then is inspired to say something kind to another person and that person passes on positive words to the next person.”
We gently tapped the first domino and students watched how the first domino then touched the next domino which in turn knocked down the next domino and so on…Every student was given a set of dominoes to create their own domino effect.
Filling Up Someone’s Bucket
Next, building upon this big idea that our words and actions have power, we introduced the concept of filling up someone’s bucket. We read the wonderful story, How Full is Your Bucket? and understood that each of us (humans and animals alike) begin each day with the hope that others will help fill our buckets with kind and thoughtful actions and words by the end of each day.
In the story, a boy named Felix experiences his bucket being filled and dipped into over the course of a day. We looked at Felix’s facial expressions throughout the story and connected them directly to times when his bucket was filling up or spilling out.
Filling Our Class Bucket
Then kindergarten students were given a challenge to fill up a class bucket and share recent examples when either they helped fill up someone’s bucket or someone else filled up their bucket!
Examples included a parent telling them they were loved, helping a sibling, receiving a special note from a friend, giving and receiving a compliment, noticing something awesome that they did, telling a family member ‘I love you’, and more.
Each Kindergarten class filled up their bucket to the rim!
Bringing It All Together
The following week we gathered outside to continue exploring what it means to help fill up another person’s bucket. We began by reading a class pledge to work hard to be “bucket fillers” throughout the year.
Then students illustrated and wrote about what their own filled-up bucket looks and feels like.