I probably should have posted this a long time ago, near Valentine's Day but I didn't and Ralph had to give a lesson on Charity so it's been on my mind recently.
Shortly before Valentines' Day in kindrgarten the students would make an inter-active bulletin board. We had already talked about love beyond the "boyfriend/girlfriend" stuff and learned songs etc. about love and being kind.
I explained to the students that we would be working as partners on the bulletin board project. Immediately they moved toward their friend and started to all talk at once. "I want so-and-so to be my partner." Then I would explain the "partnering" process. I would choose someone who could then choose a partner. We also discussed how someone would feel if the partner they chose made negative comments or showed negative body language. We even did a little role-playing for emphasis.
When it came time for partner choosing, I would have all the "loser" kids do the choosing. Inevitably they would choose the most advanved partners, both academically and socially. It was interesting to watch these top performing, popular kids say, "I'd love to be your partner", even though they would have made a different choice.
It became an exercise in further kindness and tolerance after I explained the next part. Each set of partners was to agree on two identical hearts I had dittoed off. Some were plain. Some had vertical lines, horizontal lines, or large polka dots marked on them. Partners had to color them exactly alike. That meant that if a student colored badly the partner would have to work to make his/her heart match exactly. It took effort for both partners. The less capable students tried to do their best work and the more advanced students tried to be kind and understanding. I think it was a good learning experience for all.
When students thought they had two matching hearts, we put them on the bulletin board in random order. I had already stapled large red hearts all over the bulletin board to frame the smaller, student-created hearts. Students could choose the placement of their hearts to make the matching game 'tricky". Anyone who came into our schoolroom could play the game by trying to find the matching hearts and all students were proud of their creation.
What I learned: All students want to show love. To some it comes naturally. Others have to practice. Showing love is not only in what you do but in how you make others feel.