Acts of Kindness

by Dr. Punita Rice Teaching

Acts of Kindness - No act of kindness is wasted BANKSY

Have you ever done random acts of kindness? In our seventh grade English classes, students read The Diary of a Young Girl (the diary of Anne Frank) in our unit on Perspectives and Voices from the Past… this leads to some pretty grim discussions about the Holocaust, and some connections to modern horrors in the world. So, at our school, we have the students try and inject some good into the world… through an Acts of Kindness project.

Here’s the intro to the project:

“As you are all already aware from our third unit of study, there could certainly be more good in the world.  Even after such horrors like the Holocaust, Jim Crow, and other, more recent acts of violence in our world, not everyone cares to try to improve the world around us, but the truth is, it will take a combined effort to make a change in the world. This will not happen overnight, but it can eventually happen. As such, each one of us should do everything we can to make a positive difference in the lives of others. I want all of us to consider our role in the world and the well-being of those around us — after all, each one of you can touch someone’s life in a positive way. It won’t be too difficult, and hopefully this won’t be the first or last time you’ll complete acts of kindness!”

Since they’re seventh graders, I worry that since this is a graded assignment and the seventh grade required task that earns them SSL hours, they’ll end up with all these extrinsic motivators for their acts of kindness, and somehow forget that you should just do kind things for the sake of kindness… so we try to talk about the importance of doing kind things for the sake of doing kind things. I hope they’re getting this message from other sources than just me — this assignment should not be the only time they do nice things. But, this assignment is a much more conscious, intentional approach to doing acts of kindness than they might ordinarily do. They probably already do plenty of kind things, and many of them would already probably plan to do more kind things without it being a requirement. To make it more of a conscious, active effort on their part, we have them reflect thoughtfully on what they do. See below:

You will be required to complete a reflection sheet after each act of kindness — please be thoughtful in your responses. Each sheet must be initialed/signed by an adult or a witness to the act of kindness. If you talk to Ms. Rice shortly after the act of kindness, she can be your signer. When you have completed all five random acts of kindness, turn in all of the reflection sheets (you can turn it in early if you want). Complete the attached packet thoughtfully.

And here’s how we explain grading:

This is an English class, so your responses to each question should be in well-written, complete sentences, and they should be thoughtful. I will be evaluating the impact of your acts of kindness as well as the quality of your reflection.

Completion of this assignment, aside from improving the lives of those around you, will earn you your required SSL hours for 7th grade and earn a grade for English class.

Please feel free to download our Acts of Kindness Project to use it with your own students (or your own children) if you want to! This packet, which was mostly put together by my buddy Ms. Medland, has been formatted for our students, but please feel free to modify and adjust things as needed. If you do, please share a link to your version in the comments below so I can share it with my teacher colleagues as well!

“Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible.”
– Dalai Lama

What’s the last random act of kindness someone did for you? How did it make you feel?

You can download the project packet PDF file here.

(Featured image is from

About the Author

Dr. Punita Rice

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Dr. Punita Rice is a wife and mama, an education researcher, a writer, the founder and director of ISAASE, and an advisor with Johns Hopkins University School of Education's Doctor of Education program. Her work centers around multicultural education and equity, and South Asian American experiences in school. You can read more about Punita and her work here. Punita also writes about life, culture, education, and motherhood here on her blog. She works from home in Maryland, and drinks a great deal of coffee.