I began by reading Mr. Peabody's Apples written by Madonna. We learn how our assumptions about others can turn into a hurtful experience if we aren't accurate with our words. This is also a great story to illustrate the effect rumors have in a community. We have to be careful with what we say because it is not so easy to take it back afterward.
We played the telephone game to see how easy it is for rumors and gossip that is untrue to be spread. Then we watched Kid President's hilarious video on words we should say more often:
(We had to watch more than once, they loved it and couldn't stop laughing!!!)
I explained that it's important for us to THINK before we speak, and hung this poster in their classroom to refer to:
Piggy-backing off of Kid President's challenge, I had students think about how they could be more kind in their words. "If you can't think of anything nice to say, you aren't thinking hard enough," says Kid President. Then I asked them to think about something nice they could say to someone who usually pushes their buttons. Find something specific to compliment that student with, something that would brighten their day. They wrote this in the speech bubble and then drew a picture of themselves saying it. Their challenge is to actually do what they illustrated on their paper by the end of the week.
(these two were referring to me, I can assure you...lol)