ripples-in-waterThis lesson has been adapted from  and from and is a great was to illustrate the powerful fact that many small kind acts can make a big positive impact on the world in which we live!

How I would teach the lesson:

  1. Read the book Each Kindness  (Here’s the You Tube read-aloud version).

61E8Hp+TeUL._SX385_BO1,204,203,200_It tells the story of a student who is excluded by the girls in her class for the clothes she wears and the ways in which she is different. Only when the teacher does a lesson on kindness, do the girls understand the impact of their actions.

  1. Have a discussion after reading/viewing the book about the fact that small acts can create big, positive change in our classrooms. Ask them to think about how ripples behave in a pond. When we throw various objects into a pond, it will create ripples. Our kind acts can behave like ripples, inspiring those around us to do kind acts, too! (You might want even want to talk about mirror neurons and the science of kindness with older students). We don’t have to be rich, famous, or a grown-up to affect our school climates positively! We just have to start by being brave enough to be kind ourselves and take the first steps to go first!
  2. Take a big bowl, tub, or the classroom sink and fill it with water.
  3. Ask the students to think of the following two questions (from the Pennies of Time Website): 1) “If small acts of kindness create ripples, can there be an act of kindness that is too small to create ripples?” and 2) “Can many small acts of kindness together create as many ripples as a large one?”
  4. One by one, drop a series of objects into the water and record your observations while talking about the different kind acts each item might represent (Example: a rock might represent raising a bunch of money for a community fundraiser, while an elastic might represent something like smiling at 5 strangers)
  5. Ask the students to discuss and hypothesize whether many small items could make as many big ripples as the biggest object you tested. Chances are, they will, which will further illustrate your point that many small kind acts make a big impact!

Ideas for other objects to test in the water:

  • fossils
  • paperweight
  • shells
  • sticks
  • leaves
  • paperclips
  • erasers
  • toothpicks
  • salt
  • sparklers/glitter

Here are some blackline masters you might want to use to support the lesson in the upper grades:


Leave a comment below to share how you used and adapted this lesson for your classroom! I always get inspired by people’s stories and the things they do. You might just inspire someone today!

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