Silver Boxes: Gift of Encouragement by Florence Littauer. Although not a book written for children, I have read certain sections to my class because Littauer is so eloquent. Her book is based on the Bible verse: "Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen." -Ephesians 4:29 (Since we are learning to cite sources, I do tell my kids where this "saying" comes from. However, since I teach at a public school, I don't preach about scripture.)
My students are used to discussing quotes of literature: What did the author mean? Why did the author choose those specific words? Can we relate to the quote or apply it to our own life? So it is always a lively discussion, as kids chime in with their suggestions and interpretations. We spend a lot of time, especially in the beginning of the year, on building one other up and becoming aware of how our words and actions affect others. You can read more about a positive, interactive activity, Thanks for the Compliments here.
Each student brings in a small box and I provide the silver wrapping paper and silver bows. (Costco already has these out on display & their wrapping paper is nice and thick!) Used juice boxes are a good size, if any student forgets a box. After modeling HOW to wrap a box; that's always a bit tricky, students help each other wrap their own. There's just something about the silver paper and ribbon that makes the boxes look so special and fancy. Kids take extreme care in their wrapping!
On the bottom of each wrapped silver box, we put a label with the quote:
You can grab your copy of the labels here. Students keep their silver box on their desk and it serves as a visual reminder for the kids to think before speaking. Seeing the silver boxes all over the classroom as students (& guests) enter each day sets a feeling of warmth and positivity.
How do you teach students to carefully consider their words?
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