Making Caring Common
Raising kids who care about others and the common good.
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Resources For Educators

Welcome to Making Caring Common’s Resources for Educators, Teachers, Counselors, School Administrators, and School Leaders!

We offer strategies, resources lists, audits, surveys, discussion guides, and more, which we hope you will use in your school. You can review the list of resources below or click to sort by the following topics: Bias, Bullying, Caring and Empathy, Gender, Leadership, Moral and Ethical Development, Romantic Relationships, School Culture and Climate, Sexual Harassment and Misogyny, Social-Emotional Learning (SEL), and Talking Across the Aisle.

 

Welcome to Making Caring Common’s Resources for Educators!

We offer strategies, resources lists, audits, surveys, discussion guides, and more, which we hope you will use in your school. Our work includes key topics, all connected by our commitment to forefront caring and concern for the common good at school, at home, and in our communities. You can review the list of resources below or use the dropdown to sort by topic.

 

 
For Educators: One and the Same Strategy

Research shows that “likeness begets liking” and that when people find similarity along various dimensions, they can build a sense of relatedness. This strategy helps students get in the habit of noticing similarities — but it’s also important for students to learn how to acknowledge, appreciate, and even value differences from others.

With this light-lift strategy, students will be given the opportunity to talk about differences and similarities with others through various ways of “grouping” themselves. They will also consider how their opinions or viewpoints might differ from others based on certain elements of their identity or experiences. Critical reflections and discussions will highlight why it matters to understand the experiences of self, and others.

Currently, our One and the Same strategy is available to schools in our Caring Schools Network and to schools participating in the Middle School Kindness Challenge. Reach out to Glenn Manning, Senior Program Coordinator at Making Caring Common to learn more about Caring Schools Network.

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For Educators: Everyday Gratitude Strategy

Research shows that gratitude is a predictor of both physical and mental well-being and can be regarded as a moral emotion related to recognizing the feelings and intentions of others. In turn, gratitude can lead to increased motivation to reciprocate and extend generosity to others.

Many students might not give or receive gratitude in their lives, even though it is shown to foster positive relationships, and also to mitigate the effects of depression and anxiety. By providing students with intentional and varied opportunities to practice gratitude — for instance, through writing thank you notes and considering positive events in their daily lives — students will come to appreciate others, and ideally be inspired to think and act more generously, factors that have been associated with empathy.

Students explore the concept of gratitude through self-reflection and writing thank you notes to people in their lives to recognize things they appreciate about people in their classroom, school, and beyond. Students also engage in activities that encourage them to consider both real and hypothetical situations around the positive things in their lives.

Currently, our Everyday Gratitude strategy is available to schools in our Caring Schools Network and to schools participating in the Middle School Kindness Challenge. Reach out to Glenn Manning, Senior Program Coordinator at Making Caring Common, to learn more about Caring Schools Network.

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For Educators: Take a Stand Strategy

Getting students to physically stand along a continuum that represents their beliefs or values can be a vulnerable yet empowering experience, and often helps students find commonalities rather than differences.

With this light-lift strategy, students arrange themselves in different configurations based on their level of agreement or disagreement with an ambiguous or open-ended issue or statement. Student discussions and teacher-led questioning promote thoughtful inquiry and engage the class through disagreement in a structured and safe environment.

Currently, our Take a Stand strategy is available to schools in our Caring Schools Network and to schools participating in the Middle School Kindness Challenge. Reach out to Glenn Manning, Senior Program Coordinator at Making Caring Common to learn more about Caring Schools Network.

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For Educators: Confronting Stereotypes Strategy

Stereotypes are all around us, and we are all prone to stereotyping others without even knowing it. The Confronting Stereotypes strategy and related routines gets students in the habit of noticing and understanding the components of stereotypes, including distinctions from bias and prejudice. In the process, students develop their understanding and concern for certain groups or identities that they might be apt to make assumptions about.

With this light-lift strategy, students reflect on their implicit associations, and learn about the connections with and between stereotypes, biases, and prejudice. Students engage in a stereotype scavenger hunt and generate a list of stereotypes they recognize in their everyday lives and discuss how the stereotypes can be re-framed. They watch and discuss short clips about one girl’s story of inspiration or view different media to discuss its role in perpetuating stereotypes.

Currently, our Confronting Stereotypes strategy is available to schools in our Caring Schools Network and to schools participating in the Middle School Kindness Challenge. The related routines are available below. Reach out to Glenn Manning, Senior Program Coordinator at Making Caring Common to learn more about Caring Schools Network.

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For Educators: Communication HUB Strategy

Communication and listening skills form the foundation of empathy-building in the classroom and beyond. However, teaching good listening ignores the often poor listening we do daily. By naming and understanding what good listening does not look like, students can better acknowledge their own areas for improvement. The simple yet creative nature of this lesson allows students to reflect on their vulnerabilities, while having fun and building relationships with classmates they might not know very well.

With our light-lift Communication HUB strategy, students will learn about what gets in the way of truly effective listening and practice poor and good listening skills in free-form “School HUB” sessions. Students will create specific goals for their own listening and report back over time.

Currently, our Communications HUB strategy is available to schools in our Caring Schools Network and to schools participating in the Middle School Kindness Challenge. Reach out to Glenn Manning, Senior Program Coordinator at Making Caring Common to learn more about Caring Schools Network.

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For Educators: School Culture and Climate Surveys

How do you know if your school is a caring, inclusive community where students are building healthy relationships and developing key social and emotional skills?

Our School Culture and Climate Surveys help schools better understand the experiences of students, educators, and parents as they relate to:

School values

Safety

Bullying, discrimination, and harassment

Student and adult relationships

Rules and expectations

When schools have more insight into problem areas, they can implement strategies that lead to positive changes in their community.

Currently, our School Culture and Climate Surveys — and related data reports and strategies — are available exclusively to schools in our Caring Schools Network. Reach out to Glenn Manning, Senior Program Coordinator at Making Caring Common to learn more.

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For Educators: Supporting LGBTQIA Youth Resource List

How can educators support LGBTQIA-identifying middle and high school students and create more inclusive school communities? The list below offers a sample of resources and links to websites for teachers and their students.

Making Caring Common (MCC), a project of the Harvard Graduate School of Education, helps educators, parents, and communities raise children who are caring, responsible to their communities, and committed to justice.

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For Educators: Resource Mapping Strategy

There are many programs, interventions, services, and resources available that can support student well-being and the development of positive school culture and climate. Before adopting new programs or substantially changing current practices, it is helpful to review and consider school-based programs and resources that are already in place. Doing so helps ensure that services are not duplicative of each other and strategically align to support your school’s vision.

Resource mapping is a strategy for identifying and analyzing the programs, people, services, and other resources that currently exist in your school. This information can help school leaders better assess the needs of the school and to make informed decisions about where to focus change efforts.

By the end of this activity, you will have a deeper understanding of the key programs and resources related to well-being and culture that your school is already utilizing, which will give you a solid foundation for planning.

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For Educators: Mindfulness Strategy

A growing body of research supports the potential benefits of mindfulness, including stress reduction, emotion regulation, better relationship satisfaction, and improved memory and attention.

Applications of mindfulness, the practice of focusing our attention in a particular way, can be relatively easy to implement and are not time intensive. Given the benefits and feasibility, mindfulness has become increasingly popular across a variety of fields, including medicine, psychology, business, and more recently, in education.

Evaluations of school-based mindfulness practices have shown positive findings, including increased attention, self-control, class participation, and respect for others. Mindfulness practices can also serve as a powerful classroom management tools, reducing stress for teachers and students. Many mindfulness activities can be easily interwoven into routine classroom activities and lessons. They can also be extremely useful during transitions, for example, settling down after beginning a new class. Given the potential benefits and the ease of implementing mindfulness practices, these strategies are well-suited for schools.

While there are many methods of practicing mindfulness, we have provided the following short practices to serve as an introduction. We have also included a list of resources where you may find additional information about mindfulness as well as other mindfulness exercises.

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For Educators: Digital Citizenship Resource List

Digital citizenship is a holistic and positive approach to helping children learn how to be safe and secure, as well as smart and effective participants in a digital world. That means helping them understand their rights and responsibilities, recognize the benefits and risks, and realize the personal and ethical implications of their actions.

This resource list offers useful activities, information, websites, programs, and curricula. While we think each of the identified resources contains valuable information, we do not endorse all the recommendations or views in these resources. Some of the resource descriptions listed below have been pulled from organizational websites.

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For Educators: Elderly Case Study

Too often the elderly are invisible to others, and perhaps especially to teenagers. As adults, we can teach students to show respect and to demonstrate compassion towards the elderly by giving students opportunities to better understand the impact of discrimination or apathy toward the elderly. We can also help students develop empathy and practice compassion and respect for the elderly in their day-to-day lives.

The following case study includes a short story from multiple viewpoints and a set of questions designed to facilitate discussion about respecting and caring for the elderly and the importance of maintaining commitments and volunteering for selfless reasons.

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For Educators: The KIND Schools Challenge Toolkit

The KIND Schools Challenge is a partnership between The KIND Foundation, started by KIND Healthy Snacks, and Making Caring Common to support students seeking to make their schools kinder and more inclusive. Out of 200 ideas that were submitted from across the country, 10 incredible finalists were selected to implement their projects. This toolkit highlights selected concepts that are easy and fun to bring into any classroom.

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For Educators: Talking across difference at The Agnes Irwin School

Inspired in part by the Caring Schools #CommonGood campaign's call to engage students in activities that enable them to "talk across the aisle," The Agnes Irwin School has started hosting—and evaluating—a regular "Friday Forum." Wigs Frank, Chair of the History Department, describes the gathering as a way to “help bring more understanding to our students and help bring the members of our community closer, as well as help students to learn how to listen to each other and learn better how to disagree with each other.” Read on to learn more.

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For Educators: Inspiring Kindness at Dodge County High School (Project Idea)

The KIND Schools Challenge team at Dodge County High School in Eastman, Georgia have spent the past several months developing a bingo challenge to spread kindness in their school community. They’ve been able to inspire students throughout the school to think twice before being unkind and are excited to continue their progress! Here’s what the students have to say.

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For Educators: Overcoming Insecurities with Young Women’s Leadership Academy (Project Idea)

The KIND Schools Challenge team at the Young Women’s Leadership Academy in Fort Worth, Texas has made enormous progress on their work to increase kindness in their community. Their project, "HIT" Your Insecurities, features small group conversations to build community and culminates in a celebratory event where the team will fill piñatas with students’ written insecurities and break them to symbolize overcoming those insecurities. Here’s what the students have to say about their work on the project so far.

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For Educators: Building Community with Kindness at Fair Park Preparatory Academy (Project Idea)

The KIND Schools Challenge team at Fair Park Preparatory Academy in Shreveport, Louisiana aims to create community amongst students from many neighborhoods during the first year of the school’s existence. Their project encourages students to add kind and encouraging messages to a “Kind Box" that other students can take if they need a boost. Here’s what the students have to say about how their work is going so far.

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For Educators: Welcoming English-Language Learners at Medford High School (Project Idea)

The KIND Schools Challenge team at Medford High School in Medford, Massachusetts has been working tirelessly to create a collection of videos to help English-language learners (ELL) at their school feel more confident navigating everyday tasks at school and in their community. Here’s what the students have to say about the their project.

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